The exact identity of Bu Halima is a mystery as not many details on her are present.
This name seems foreign amidst a long list of popular historical Mughal names. But then it is there, as an unusual tomb, a garden and a gate located on the western side of the beautifully well maintained Humayun’s Tomb Complex as a rectangular enclosure which is usually ignored by tourists and visitors as they pass by to see the more famous Humayun’s tomb.
A Prominent Woman In Humayun’s Life and Held in High Regard
However, Bu Halima occupied an important place in Humayun’s harem and was a part of Babur’s (Humayun’s father) entourage to India. It is said that she was Humayun’s wet nurse and also a Mughal noble woman. It is evident that she must have held an important position to have a garden named after her and to have her tomb placed barely 100 meters away from Humayun’s.
Unusual Placement and shape of her tomb without a dome
The tomb, however, is not placed in the centre of the garden, as is usually the case with most other tombs built during that period. This has led to the popular belief that the garden must have been developed before and the tomb was added later on (in other garden-tombs, it’s the other way round).
Unusual shape of her tomb without a dome is also a matter of intrigue where here Cenotaph lies exposed to open air and Sun.
Was it left unfinished like Nazaf Khans Tomb?
Bu Halima’s Tomb and Garden
Bu Halima’s Tomb
Today, the main entrance to Humayun’s tomb is through Bu Halima’s garden. The garden is simple and well-kept.
The rectangular enclosure of Bu Halima’s Tomb, contains a green, well-trimmed garden with a broad, neat pathway leading you in and out of it and another path (perpendicular to the main one) taking you to the structure on one end which contains the tomb of Bu Halima.
The architecture of this structure dates back to the early Mughal period. The tomb, rectangular in shape, seems to have been built with brightly coloured stones which appear to have faded over time.
Each of the four sides of the Tomb has two entrances carved out in them.
There is a staircase in front of this structure that leads up to its top. These stairs are not smooth and at the top, there is an octagonal platform. At the centre of this platform is where Bu Halima is buried.
Cenotaph of Bu Halima at the centre of an octagonal platform at the top of tomb
Bu Halima’s Gate
The West Gate, which is presently the main entrance to the tomb. The gateway is 16mtr high with rooms on either side of the passage on the ground floor and courtyards on upper floor.
Bu Halima’s Gate
Archival view of the 19th century, establishing notion of Humayun’s Tomb Complex being an ensemble of 16th century garden-tombs.
The profile of this arched gateway, together with the western enclosure wall before its demolition in 1916 is visible in the photograph taken by Samuel Browne from the roof of Humayun’s Tomb looking westwards.
Eons may pass, changes may occur but dust is always the destiny of all.
Compiled work from Internet sources