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Emperor Humayun's Garden Tomb

Kangura

Kangura

Kangura simply means "battlements."1 More specifically, kangura is a decorative undulating pattern found directly above the molding at the top of many Mughal facades. The kangura pattern on Humayun's Tomb's facades, is an optical illusion that plays with the mind's perception of positive and negative space by taking advantage of the contrast between red sandstone and white marble. This bold red and white kangura pattern can also be found at the top of the hammam's facades and along the roof on three sides of the baradari.

At Humayun's Garden Tomb, kangura is created with a variety of materials. The kangura at the top of Humayun's Tomb's facades was constructed with red sandstone and white marble. Brown sandstone variations of the red and white kangura can be found at the top of the West Gate, the South Gate, and the Barber's Tomb. The kangura at the tops of the baradari and the hammam is either created with incised plaster and paint, as seen in restoration photographs from the Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Inistiative's website or glazed tile, what the Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative used to restore the kangura on other buildings at the Humayun's Tomb Complex.2 There is also kangura ornamentation crafted with glazed tile at the base of the blue domes of the chhatri pairs that sit on Humayun's Tomb's pishtaqs.3


1. Catherine B. Asher, Architecture of Mughal India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), xxvi.

2. "Batashewala - Mughal Garden Tomb Complex: Conservation Report 2011-2015," Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative - Aga Khan Development Network - A People Public - Private Partnership, accessed July 14, 2020, http://www.nizamuddinrenewal.org/conservation/mughal-tomb/images/batashewala-mughal-garden-tomb-complex_conservation-report.pdf, 69.

3. Annual Report 2010," Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative - Aga Khan Development Network - A People Public - Private Partnership, accessed July 14, 2020, http://annualreport2016.nizamuddinrenewal.org/docs/Annual_Report_2010.pdf, 155-58.

Illustrations

Kangura
Kangura traces the top of Humayun's Tomb's facades and pishtaqs like crenelations or icing on a cake.
Kangura
This stylized floral kangura pattern is an optical illusion that plays with the mind's understanding of positive and negative space using the contrast between white and red.
Kangura
There are two different brown sandstone kangura patterns on the Barber's Tomb.

Additional Information

A formal bibliography is posted on the outline page.
Roof
Facade Jali Railing Spandrels Engaged Colonette Engaged Colonette Engaged Colonette Engaged Colonette Engaged Colonette Engaged Colonette Engaged Colonette Engaged Colonette Kangura Blind Arch Blind Arch Engaged Colonette Guldasta Guldasta Stellate Symbol Spandrels Stellate Symbol Stellate Symbol Spandrels Stellate Symbol Spandrels Jali Jali Jali Stellate Symbol Jali Railing Jali Railing Spandrels Mihrab Blind Arch Blind Arch Spandrels Jali Spandrels Stellate Symbol Jali Engaged Colonette Engaged Colonette Kangura Kangura Kangura Guldasta