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Home>> News >>Grand makeover for Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi
Grand makeover for Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi

Over six years, 2,00,000 man-days of work and efforts of 1,500 conservationists and craftsmen later, Humayun's Tomb is once again set to receive visitors. Built in the 1560s, on a far grander scale than any of its predecessors, it was the model for the Taj, according to historians.

During these six long years, each stone on the facade of the mausoleum was individually inspected to ensure minimum intervention; millions of kilos of concrete and plaster inappropriately applied in the 20th century removed; dozens of wooden doors, arched recesses and canopies repaired.

Humayun's Tomb, along with Qutub Minar, was among the first monuments in Delhi to be named a Unesco world heritage site in 1993.

For the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, which took on the project in 2007 to fulfil a request by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the painstaking endeavour will culminate on September 18. Presiding over the event will be the Aga Khan and the PM. The dais will be shared by Union culture minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch and Ratan Tata, whose Sir Dorabji Tata Trust cofunded the conservation.

The ceiling of the main vault has been cleaned to bring out the original ornamentation. An Egyptian lamp has also been hung over the cenotaph.

Wooden doors of the 68 mini mausoleums restored—they were burnt in 1947 when the tomb and gardens were used as a refugee camp.

Master craftsmen—stone-carvers, plasterers, masons, tile-makers and carpenters—have worked for 2,00,000 man-days since 2007 to restore the tomb and associated structures.

he craftsmen worked on the tiles for four years before actually fixing them and the plasterers were trained over two years. 200 Archaeological Survey of India officers were also trained on how to use lime plaster. All work carried out on the Humayun’s Tomb is rooted in the Indian context, but fulfills international guidelines. For instance, this was the first time 3D laser scanning was used to document the structure. Till date, this technology was only used to detect leakage in nuclear plants. These efforts will spark off similar newer initiatives in the future.