The Emperor Humayun's Garden Tomb


Circumambulatory Paths

Almost an universal form of worship, circumambulation is the act of moving around or lapping a place or object of spiritual significance. This is most often done as part a pilgrimage. In Islam, the most important example of this, is when pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba seven times as part of the Hajj.

In the case of Humayun's Tomb, circumambulation is carried over from that practiced at sufi holy sites and "was a common practice at Mughal imperial tombs."1

A circumambulatory path is an area designed to facilitate circumambulation.

1. Catherine Asher, The Architecture of Mughal India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 56.


Click on the images to display them in full size.
Circumambulatory Path at Khanqah
One of the circumambulatory paths outlined with green stone inlay on the white marble walkways around Nizam al-Din's khanqah and graveyard.
Humayun;s Tomb's 2nd Floor Paths.
On the upper story of Humayun's tomb, a large circumambulatory path traces the outline of the main cenotaph chamber. This path connects with circumambulatory paths that trace the outlines of the ancillary chambers. While circumambulating the central path, there are alternating interruptions by a garden vista at every cardinal direction followed by an ancillary chamber circumambulatory path.
The garden was designed with multiple circumambulatory paths that are like a tour of that which the Mughal Dynasty wanted to be associated with.

Additional Information

A formal bibliography is posted on the outline page.

Nizam al-Din's Chilla Khana & Khanqah

Nizamuddin Garden Wall Chilla Khana Chilla Khana Ablution Tank Ablution Tank Baraka Circumambulatory Path Circumambulatory Path Circumambulatory Path Circumambulatory Path Baraka Khanqah