A pishtaq is "a high portal or entrance, usually centrally situated."1 High portals are present in Timurid architecture, where they serve as "exclamation marks to punctuate the often monotonous rhythm of the lower elevation."2 Humayun's Tomb has a centrally located pishtaq at each cardinal direction. The western, northern, and eastern pishtaqs are filled with a large iwan and a roof pavilion. The southern pishtaq is filled by a shallow alcove that contains the tomb's entrance and a roof pavilion.
1. Catherine B. Asher, Architecture of Mughal India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), xxviii.
2. Robert Hillenbrand, The Timurid Achievement in Architecture," in Islamic Period: From the End of the Sasanian Empire to the Present, ed. Abbas Daneshvari (Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers, 2005), 18: 99.