City Monument – Isa Khan’s Mausoleum, Humayun’s Tomb Complex
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Poor Isa Khan!
Such a beautiful tomb the little-known nobleman built for himself long before his death and so miraculously it has survived the passage of centuries. But, he had the misfortune of Mughal Emperor Humayun’s 16th century tomb being built close to his. And today, Isa Khan’s tomb is viewed as one of the many miscellaneous monuments within the sprawling Humayun tomb complex. Make no mistake, it lies close to the ticketed entrance, and people do visit the monument but the greater crowd goes straight to… you know where.
The ideal way to appreciate Isa Khan’s tomb is to make a special trip to the Humayun tomb complex, spend hours in this tomb alone, and not visit the Humayun’s tomb at all. Seeing two great beauties simultaneously dampens the effect on the senses. You can easily spend hours at the octagon monument with a dark chamber inside containing five graves. The biggest must be of Isa Khan’s, who was a court noble during the reign of Sher Shah Suri. Himself a Pashtun tribesman, his descendants live in present-day Pakistan.
The magnificent tomb is tucked smack in the middle of a circular garden which is ringed by a circular rampart studded with arched niches. This afternoon, a young man is standing atop the rampart crooning that old hippy song “dum maro dum”. Otherwise, there’s just the occasional clicking sounds of tourist cameras.
The grave chamber’s door is screened by iron chains you’ll need to pull apart upon entering. The tinkling metal echoes off the chamber, inducing a sense of foreboding. There’s also a lovely mosque just beside Isa Khan’s tomb, which probably deserves a separate visit some other day.