Humayun's Tomb Complex - Other Monuments
Fifty yards outside the eastern wall of the enclosure of Humayun's mausoleum, on the south-eastern side is an impressive tomb of plastered stone covered with a blue dome commonly called the Nila Gumbad (Blue Dome). Unfortunately this monument is virtually inaccessible, as it has been encroached upon by families who live within its precincts.
Sayyid Ahmad Khan, in Asarus-Sanadid (1846) believed that it contained the remains of Fahim Khan, a faithful attendant of Abdur Rahim Khan who died in 1626 during the reign of Emperor Jahangir.
According to archaeologist S A A Naqvi, the building probably existed even before Humayun's Tomb. He bases his conjecture on the fact that the outer face of the enclosure-wall of Humayun's Tomb, immediately opposite the Nila Gumbad, contains recessed arches which contrast with the plain construction of the wall everywhere else on this side; it also contains a doorway leading to the Nila Gumbad. These features indicate that the Gumbad already existed before, or was simultaneously designed with the enclosure-wall. It cannot therefore have been erected to enshrine the remains of a nobleman in Jahangir's court.
The building is mainly of local grey quartzite and is plastered both internally and externally. The dome is covered with dark blue tiles, and there are blue and yellow tile; round the drum. The tomb, octagonal on plan, stands on a platform 33.2 metres square and 1.5 metres high. The dome is raised on a high circular drum, and is crowned externally by an inverted lotus with a red sandstone finial. Inside it is carried on squinches with plastered interface and has a circular central panel profusely decorated with painted and incised plaster in Persian style. There is no monument over the grave. Externally the sides of the octagon contain four-centred recessed arches, of which those in the cardinal sides are pierced by square-headed doorways surmounted by four-centred and pierced tympana. The parapet is simple and without the usual pinnacles at the corners.
Chillah Nizamuddin Aulia
Outside the north-eastern corner of the enclosure of Humayun's mausoleum are the remains of a house in the Tughluq style. Though there is no historical reference available to substantiate the fact, it is believed to be the residence of Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya (died in 1325), whose dargah is also close by. The austere form of architecture of the building is also consistent with a 14th century date.
The house stands on a platform 3.6 metres above the ground, and once faced the river Yamuna, which used to flow past the site. It consists of a low dalan (rear-chamber) behind a simple verandah with battered walls which opens towards the east. Remains of another room with massive walls and square headed doorways stand immediately to the south-east of the dalan. The eastern adjacent room is an addition, designed to fill the gap between the room mentioned above and the house to be described below.
Close to the dalan and adjoining the north-east corner of the enclosure of Humayun's mausoleum are the remains of another double-storeyed house with a verandah on its eastern front which once faced the river. The details of the red sandstone columns and lintels supported on brackets indicate that this was a construction of the Humayun-Akbar period. The house stands structurally independent of Humayun's Tomb.
A view of Arab Sarai gate from behind Afsarwala's Mosque
Haji Begum, Emperor Humayun's widow built the Arab-Sarai in 1560-61 to house the three hundred Arab mullas (priests), she is said to have brought with her from her pilgrimage to Mecca. However, archaeologist Y D Sharma may be right when he says ‘Arab-Sarai is probably a misnomer, and the enclosure probably housed Persian, not Arab workers and craftsmen who were engaged in building Humayun's Tomb.’
It is a big sarai (resthouse) containing arched cells against its enclosure-walls. Almost all the cells are now in a dilapidated condition. The only structure worthy of notice is the northern gate, which is seen by the visitor on his right while proceeding to the emperor's mausoleum after crossing Bu Halima's Garden. The gate stands 12.2 metres high from its plinth and is built of local quartzite with red sandstone dressings and marble inlay. The main gate-chamber is hexagonal and was covered with a dome, now collapsed, with plastered interlace. Above the main arch of the gateway is a balcony window supported by six carved brackets, and on each side at the same level are more balcony windows with pyramidal domes enriched by yellow and blue tiles.
Arab-Sarai has two other gateways from the east and the west respectively. According to an inscription on the eastern gateway, that is close to the south-west corner of Humayun's mausoleum, it was actually the entrance to a mandi (market), added to it by one Mihr Banu during the reign of Jahangir. The market consisted of a series of arched rooms, now in ruins.