Arab Serai

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Arab Serai
Humayun's Tomb - Wall of Arab Serai - View from inside.jpg
Inside the Arab Serai
Location Humayun's tomb, Delhi
Coordinates 28°35′29″N77°14′54″E / 28.59139°N 77.24833°E / 28.59139; 77.24833 Coordinates: 28°35′29″N77°14′54″E / 28.59139°N 77.24833°E / 28.59139; 77.24833
TypeCultural
Criteria(ii), (iv)
Designated1993 (17th session)
Part of Humayun's Tomb
Region India

Arab Serai is a 16th century caravanserai within the Humayun's tomb complex at Delhi, India. It is said to have been built by Mughal emperor Humayun's widow Haji Begum. In recent times, it has been conserved by Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Caravanserai Type of roadside inn

A caravanserai was a roadside inn where travelers (caravaners) could rest and recover from the day's journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe, most notably the Silk Road.

Delhi Megacity and union territory of India, containing the national capital

Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is a city and a union territory of India containing New Delhi, the capital of India. It is bordered by Haryana on three sides and by Uttar Pradesh to the east. The NCT covers an area of 1,484 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the 2011 census, Delhi's city proper population was over 11 million, the second-highest in India after Mumbai, while the whole NCT's population was about 16.8 million. Delhi's urban area is now considered to extend beyond the NCT boundaries, and include the neighbouring satellite cities of Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Bahadurgarh and Sonipat in an area now called Central National Capital Region (CNCR) and had an estimated 2016 population of over 26 million people, making it the world's second-largest urban area according to the United Nations. As of 2016, recent estimates of the metro economy of its urban area have ranked Delhi either the most or second-most productive metro area of India. Delhi is the second-wealthiest city in India after Mumbai and is home to 18 billionaires and 23,000 millionaires. Delhi ranks fifth among the Indian states and union territories in human development index. Delhi has the second-highest GDP per capita in India.Furthermore, it is considered one of the world's most polluted city by particulate matter concentration.

Humayun Badshah of the Mughal Empire

Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad, better known by his regnal name, Humayun, was the second emperor of the Mughal Empire, who ruled over territory in what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India, and Bangladesh from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early but regained it with the aid of the Safavid dynasty of Persia, with additional territory. At the time of his death in 1556, the Mughal Empire spanned almost one million square kilometres.

Contents

History

According to S.A.A. Naqvi, Mughal emperor Humayun's widow Haji Begum built this serai in c.1560/61 to shelter three hundred Arab mullahs whom she was taking with her during her hajj to Mecca; however, Y.D. Sharma opines that the word Arab in the title is a misnomer as this building was built for the Persian craftsmen and workers who built the Humayun's Tomb. [1]

Mullah name commonly given to local Islamic clerics or mosque leaders

Mullah is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā, meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian". However, used ambiguously in the Quran, some publishers have described its usage as a religious title as inappropriate. The term is sometimes applied to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. In large parts of the Muslim world, particularly Iran, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Eastern Arabia, Turkey and the Balkans, Central Asia, the Horn of Africa and other parts of South Asia, it is the name commonly given to local Islamic clerics or mosque leaders.

Hajj Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.

Mecca Saudi Arabian city and capital of the Makkah province

Mecca, also spelled Makkah, is a city in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. The city is located 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah, in a narrow valley 277 m (909 ft) above sea level, 340 kilometres (210 mi) south of Medina, its population in 2012 was 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during the Ḥajj ("Pilgrimage"), held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah.

In January 2017, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture started a project to conserve the serai. The restoration was completed in November 2018. [2] In March 2019, the trust announced a planned project to conserve the baoli (stepwell) of the serai with the help of funds from the embassy of Germany. [3] This building along with other buildings form the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Humayun's Tomb complex. [4]

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a family of institutions created by Aga Khan IV with distinct but complementary mandates to improve the welfare and prospects of people in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa. It focuses on the revitalization of communities in the Muslim world—physical, social, cultural, and economic. The AKTC was founded in 1988 and is registered in Geneva, Switzerland, as a private non-denominational philanthropic foundation.

Humayuns Tomb Tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India

Humayun's tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun's first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum, in 1569-70, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and his son, Sayyid Muhammad, Persian architects chosen by her. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, and is located in Nizamuddin East, Delhi, India, close to the Dina-panah Citadel, also known as Purana Qila, that Humayun found in 1533. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, and since then has undergone extensive restoration work, which is complete. Besides the main tomb enclosure of Humayun, several smaller monuments dot the pathway leading up to it, from the main entrance in the West, including one that even pre-dates the main tomb itself, by twenty years; it is the tomb complex of Isa Khan Niyazi, an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri's court of the Suri dynasty, who fought against the Mughals, constructed in 1547 CE.

Architecture

This building contains arched cells against its enclosure walls. Presently, the cells are in ruins. The northern gate is the only structure of the building which is intact. The gate measures 12.2 metres (40 ft) in height and is made of quartzite with red sandstone and is inlaid by marble. The octagonal shaped gate chamber was crowned by a dome at the time of its construction, but since then the dome has collapsed. A balcony window is present over the arch of the main gateway and is supported by six brackets. On each side of the gateway at the same level, more balcony windows crowned by a pyramidal dome are present. The domes are covered with yellow and blue tiles. [5]

The sarai houses two more gateways - one on the east side and another on the west. According to an inscription at the eastern gateway, the eastern gateway actually served as an entrance to a market and was built by a man named Mihr Banu during the reign of Jahangir. The market also contains arched rooms which are presently in ruins. [5]

Jahangir Badshah of the Mughal Empire

Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim, known by his imperial name Jahangir, was the fourth Mughal Emperor, who ruled from 1605 until his death in 1627. His imperial name, means 'conqueror of the world', 'world-conqueror' or 'world-seizer'. The tale of his relationship with the Mughal courtesan, Anarkali, has been widely adapted into the literature, art and cinema of India.

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The Akbari Sarai is a large caravan inn ("sarai") that is located in Shahdara Bagh in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Dating from 1637, the sarai was originally built for travelers, as well as for caretakers of the Tomb of Jahangir. The sarai is most notable for being the best-preserved example in Pakistan, as well as for its large gateway that is richly embellished with pietra dura that serves as a portal to the tomb of Jahangir.

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Tomb of Isa Khan Mausoleum in Delhi, India

The tomb of the noble Isa Khan Niazi is located in the Humayun's Tomb complex in Delhi, India. The mausoleum, octagonal in shape and built mainly of red sandstone, was built in 1547–1548 during the reign of Sher Shah Suri. The mosque of Isa Khan is located west of the mausoleum, which along with other buildings form the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Humayun's tomb complex.

Afsarwala tomb Tomb and mosque in Delhi, India

The Afsarwala tomb complex consists of a tomb and mosque, located inside the Humayun's Tomb complex in Delhi, India. The mausoleum houses the tomb of an unknown person. The origin of the name "Afsarwala tomb" is uncertain; it has been suggested that either the tomb was that of an officer, or the monument was erected by an officer. The tomb, together with other structures, forms the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Humayun's tomb complex.

Nila Gumbad

Nila Gumbad is a tomb located within the Humayun's tomb complex at Delhi, India. Historians are unsure about the identity of the person who has been buried. Some claims that it houses the tomb of an attendant of a Mughal noble and was buried during the reign of Jahangir. According to others, the tomb existed much before the Humayun's tomb was constructed. At the time of construction, it was covered with glazed tiles most of which have been destroyed. This building along with other buildings form the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Humayun's tomb complex.

References

  1. Naqvi2002, p. 66.
  2. "Arab Ki Sarai, the caravans of bygone era, restored to old glory in India". Al Arabiya. 5 November 2018. Archived from the original on 27 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  3. "Mughal baoli suffering from neglect hits road to revamp". The Times of India . 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  4. "Humayun's tomb". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 27 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  5. 1 2 Naqvi2002, p. 67.

Bibliography

Archaeological Survey of India Indian agency responsible for archaeological studies and preservation

The Archaeological Survey of India is an Indian government agency attached to the Ministry of Culture that is responsible for archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in the country. It was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham who also became its first Director-General.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.