A guldasta is a corner finial.1 At Humayun's Tomb, very large guldastas can be seen on the pishtaqs' facade corners. These guldastas start as octagonal column shafts that are topped by a dome with a pot and disc finial sitting in a flower blossom.2 Pot and disc finials had been common adornments at the tops of Hindu temple shikaras and Buddhist stupas for hundreds of years.3
All of the white marble corner engaged colonettes that frame the facades are crowned with smaller guldastas. These guldastas are comprised of a pot sitting inside a flower. This flower is nearly identical to the flower fountains in the garden. Carved stone jug and flower ornamentation is a common feature of Hindu temple ornamentation that began sometime between the fifth and seventh centuries.4
1. Catherine B. Asher, The Architecture of Mughal India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 145.
2. Vidya Dehajia, Indian Art (New York: Phiadon Press Inc, 2003), 426.
3. George Michell, The Hindu Temple (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988), 95-158.
4. ibid., 94.
Burton-Page, John. Indian Islamic Architecture: Forms and Typologies, Sites and Monuments. Edited by George Michell. Leiden: Brill, 2008.
Michell, George. The Hindu Temple. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988, 78-93.