The Barber's Tomb is also know as the "Nai ka Gumbad."1 It is the central point of interest in the southeastern quadrant of Humayun's Garden Tomb. Only a small path separates the Barber's Tomb's garden plot from the wall that Humayun's Garden Tomb shares with the Nila Gumbad's site.
The Barber's Tomb is a red and gray sandstone mausoleum that sits on a square plinth.2 On the southern side of the plinth, there are stairs to access the tomb's entrance that are similar to those of the Nila Gumbad's in design. The Barber's Tomb has a symmetrical square plan with a chhatri at the top of each of the four corners. The ceiling of the Barber's Tomb and its alcoves all utilize squinch elements. Every facade has a spandrel pair decorated with stellate symbols that are inscribed by stylized floral medallions over a large centered alcove that contains two vertically aligned openings. All but the entrance are screened with jali. The jali patterns are all geometric elaborations of the tile pattern on the floor of the entrance chamber of Humayun's Tomb. The lower jali screened opening on the western facade is decorated with a centered stone mihrab relief facing out that is decorated with early Indo-Islamic architecture features and a more elaborate mihrab that faces in that is nearly identical with added tiny medallion inscriptions on the spandrel and a temple's archway hanging-bell motif that is commonly seen on Sultanate architecture.
The tomb is topped by a gumbad dome that sits on an octagonal drum. This drum is pierced on each side by a single centered, clerestory jali opening and has its own band of kangura joining eight corner guldastas around the top. The addition of the kangura band results in an effect very similar to Humayun's Tomb's dome's drum's horizontal layers and muqarnas ring.
Every vertical facade corner of the Barber's Tomb is outlined with a lapsing engaged colonette that resolves into a guldasta. These guldastas are joined around the top with kangura ornamentation in the same manner that is used on the Barber's Tomb's dome and Humayun's Tomb's facades. The contains two cenotaphs that have no identifying inscriptions.
The only indication of the date of this tomb is the figure 999 carved on one of the graves inside it. The figure probably stands for Hijra date corresponding to A.D. 1590-1, and this dating is consistent with the architecture of the building.3
1. S.A.A. Naqvi, Humayun's Tomb and Adjacent Buildings (Calcutta: Government of India Press, 1947), 12.
2. ibid, 12.
3. ibid, 12.
Archaeological Survey of India. "Humayun's Tomb Virtual Tour." Accessed November 26, 2020. http://asi.nic.in/humayuns-tomb/.
Asher, Catherine B. "The Mausoleum of Sher Shah Suri." Artibus Asiae 39, no. 3-4 (1977): 273-98.
Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts. "Barber's Tomb." Accessed November 26, 2020. http://ignca.gov.in/online-digital-resources/archaeological-sites/delhi/barbers-tomb/.
Naqvi, S.A.A. Humayun's Tomb and Adjacent Buildings. Calcutta: Government of India, 1947.