Set in Stone: Stories Untold at Humayun’s Tomb
On a beautiful sunny day in April 2017, Flow India decided to explore and hear some untold stories at the Humayun’s tomb with a bunch of curious and enthusiastic history and heritage lovers.
The walk began with a brief factual history of the monument and the discussion moved towards its current state and restoration work taken up by Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Moving on from the intense discussion about preserving this magnificent building, the group entered the famous charbagh. And thus began the stories from the times of Babur, who was famous for his love for gardens. From reading poetry to hearing a beautiful Sufi song, the group did it all in the gardens.
It was now time to move to the magnanimous building that stands right in the center of these gardens. The first thing that strikes anyone is the beautiful architecture. Hence, we decided to spend some time admiring the beautiful features of the tomb. From the chhatris to the jaalis to the guldastas and the mihrab. We loved it all.
Now everyone knows that the second Mughal emperor, rest in the tomb. But it’s not just him who was laid to rest here. Many of his descendants join him in his eternal slumber. Some of them make the interesting characters of our walk and stories. The group heard stories of Jahandar Shah, a colorful Mughal ruler, who was so enamored by the dancing the girl, he made her the ‘empress’. One can never dismiss the presence of another very important grave in the complex, that is of Dara Shikoh, loving son of emperor Shahjahan. His life makes a beautiful yet a sad story.
The group spent two hours walking around the complex hearing many such stories from the times of the later Mughals, ending the walk with the beautiful poetry written by the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, who looked for refuge amidst his ancestors after the revolt of 1857, but alas! was captured from there and sent to exile, marking the end of era and dynasty that Humayun’s tomb stands for.
We ended our engaging walk with the discussion over the idea of what this monument stands for today and its representation in the contemporary world.