Humayun’s tomb was built to commemorate his death by his wife Hamida Banu Begam, also known as Haji Begum. Though Humayun died in 1556, the construction of the tomb was only started in 1569, fourteen years after his death. It is said to be the first example of the typical style of Mughal architecture which was inspired by Persian constructions and designs. A Persian architect, Mirak Mirza Ghiyath had been employed by Haji Begum for this mammoth construction which cost around 15 lakhs or 1.5 million.
The tomb is placed in the centre of a garden which is divided into four parts also known as charbagh. Shallow water channels run through the centre of each garden adding to the grandeur of the whole monument. There are two equally opulent gateways to enter the tomb which has a pavilion or baradari on the eastern wall and a hamaam or bath chamber in the northern wall.
Built of red sandstone, the mausoleum is a two-storied structure with a 7 metre high square terrace which is built on a series of cells. The grave of Humayun lies in the centre of this set of cells and can be reached from the southern side of the building complex. The chamber of the tomb is octagonal in shape and it leads to other ante chambers or side chambers which houses the graves of other members of the royal family.
The tomb is a sight to behold from the outside being beautifully decorated by marble borders and panels and arched alcoves, the central one being the highest. There is also a double dome in the centre of the roof which is said to have a height of around 43 metres. It is surrounded by huge marble pillars or chhatris around it.
A historic moment for which this tomb will also be remembered is the capturing of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II from this very place.