In addition to Humayun's grave, "over 160 Mughal family members lie buried [in the plinth], which has led historians to name the tomb the 'Dormitory of the Mughals'."1 68 niches serve as entrances to the crypts. The four corner grave niches are a little more elaborate than the other niches, but with the recent restoration of the intricate red-on-white incised plaster stellate muqarnas pattern, all of the grave niches are alive with vibrant color and textures.
As a base, the grave niche's inner walls are coated with lime plaster, have a stone slab floor, and a stone post and lintel-framed entrance. On top of this base, beginning halfway down the wall surface, a net of incised plaster outlines bloom from the semi-octagonal grave niche's four corners, creating the outlines for three blind arches. The central blind arch has a jali screen that is vertically aligned with the entrance. The jali looks more like a grate with a very simple octagon pattern.
In addition to everything above, the plinth's corners' grave niches have a second set of engaged colonette door jambs that are extended by lapsing chevron engaged colonettes to the jali railing posts at the top of the plinth. Each corner grave niche is framed when the pair of lapsing engaged colonettes are joined by a strip of muqarnas above the niche's spandrels.
1. Ratish Nanda, "The Area of Humayun's Tomb," in Heritage of the Mughal World, ed. Philip Jodidio (Munich: Prestel, 2015), 169.
Asher, Catherine B. "The Mausoleum of Sher Shah Suri." Artibus Asiae 39, no. 3-4 (1977): 273-98.
Robert Hillenbrand. "The Timurid Achievement in Architecture." In Islamic Period: From the End of the Sasanian Empire to the Present, edited by Abbas Daneshvari, 83-124. Vol. 18 of A Survey of Persian Art: From Prehistoric Times to the Present. Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers, 2005.
Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative. "Conserving Lower Cells of Humayun’s Tomb 2009-11."