A photo taken some time before 1893 is reproduced here from page 78-79 of ‘The World of Ancient India’ which indicates that the site where the Humayun Tomb stands today was the site of an ancient Vishnu Temple. The book, ‘The World of Ancient India’ is the English version of Dr. Gustave Le Bon’s original French work titled ‘Les Monuments de L’Inde’ which was published in Paris in 1893. The English translation was published by David Macrae, Tudor Publishing Co., (New York) in 1974.

‘Vishnu Pada’ (विष्णुपद) or ‘Vishnu Charan’ (विष्णुचरण) temples are significant in context of the legend that Vishnu, in the avatara of Vamana, strode across the world and planted his feet at three sites on earth. These sites are unknown but many temples in India commemorate this legend of Vishnu. ‘Pada’ and ‘Charan’ both mean ‘feet’. The destroyed Vishnu temple at the site where Humayun Tomb stands today was one such site.

Here is the photograph of the Vishnu footprint slab at the Humayun Tomb site from Dr. Gustave le Bon’s book. The slab had survived at least until 1893 when the picture was taken. The photograph was captioned in the French version and then translated into English in ‘The World of Ancient India’ as ‘Vishnu’s Footprints at Humayun Tomb’.

Vishnu’s Footprints photographed at the Humayun Tomb.
From Gustave Le Bon’s  book ‘Les Monuments de L’Inde’
Above is the caption from the English version of Le Bon’s book
titled ‘The World of Ancient India’

There are other indications that the Humayun Tomb was constructed by the Moghuls on the site of an ancient Hindu temple. Some remnants of those ancient structures still remain.

Ancient Temple Pillars were used as construction material.

Here we see eroded carvings of elephant trunks on the pillars of Humayun Tomb rampart.

Another view of the pillars taken from destructed Hindu Temples
and used for construction of Humayun Tomb. In the background

is a section of a typical Moghul fortress wall at the Isa Khan Tomb within the Humayun Tomb Complex.

Notice the ‘elephant head’ engravings at the bottom of the pillar –
a characteristic of Vedic and Hindu art.

A closer view of a less eroded
‘elephant head’ engraving.

Ancient Temple Pillars were used as construction  material at Humayun Tomb. Notice that the pillars were placed upside down in this ‘canopy structure’ by the artisans in Moghul times.


The white quartz structure which is a remnant of the ancient temple is far more eroded than the red-sandstone rectangular structure dating to Moghul times. Sandstone erodes faster than quartz. The fact that the sandstone piece is in better shape than the quartz structure proves that the quartz pillars

are much older than the sandstone piece.

Eroded engravings on Temple Pillars which were used for construction
of tomb of Isa Khan at the Humayun Tomb Complex indicates that they belong to a different era.


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