Half a year earlier, I had wanted to visit Humayun's tomb at the end of the day, but I arrived just half an hour before closing time, and decided it was not worth it. Now, I am back in the Indian capital, and my mind is set on seeing the resting place of the second Mughal emperor. I arrive well ahead of sunset this time, which gives me plenty of time to explore. Instead of heading straight to the mausoleum of Humayun, I take a right, and enter the enclosed garden-tomb of Isa Khan Niyazi through a stone gate in the octagonal enclosing wall. Before me, at the end of a cobblestone path, the mausoleum of Isa Khan rises above the neatly kept garden. I start by walking around the building, and when I get closer, I get a better view of the faded glazed tiles on the domes, the canopies and lattice screens that adorn the outside of the building.
Inside, I find white marble tombs, with Arabic calligraphy, and a richly decorated niche on the western side. The mausoleum has been restored, and the fine decorations in the cupola appear very new. During the renovations, it was discovered that this mid-16th century mausoleum included a sunken garden, making it the oldest one of Delhi. I walk to the small three-bay mosque with mehrabs. A small group of white-robed Moslims ask me for some water, and use it to rub the wall: an Arabic inscription appears in the red sandstone. It is interesting that Isa Khan Niyazi, an Afghan noble of the Sur dynasty who fought the Mughal Empire, would be entered on the same grounds as Humayun. After all, he first lost Delhi and much of his father's empire to Sher Shah Suri, but regained it before accidentally falling to his death on the stairs of the Sher Mandal at nearby Purana Qila. The mausoleum of Isa Khan was built in his lifetime, some twenty years before the mausoleum of Humayun.
Time has come to finally see Humayun's mausoleum for myself. I walk through a breach in the wall, and several huge and decorated gates, until I step through the last gate. Straight ahead of me, I see a red-white symmetrical building, with white cupolas and pointed high arches, with well-tended gardens at its feet. When I walk a little closer, the warm afternoon light falling on this elegant Persian-style building is reflected in a small pool. This is the obvious spot where many Indians pose for their pictures. Climbing the steep stairs brings me to a large raised platform, on which I find several white marble tombs. A soft wind blows around the building, cooling the visitors on the platform. Inside, I find many small halls with tombs, before I reach the central hall in which a larger marble tomb contains the remains of Humayun itself. When I walk back through the gardens, the light becomes even softer, and the reflection in the pool warmer. I watch the scene until the light slowly dies out.
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