|Sher Mandal (Sher Shah's Pavilion). Delhi flickr.com/|
|Sher Mandal (Sher Shah's Pavilion). Delhi.lindsaywashere.com/|
This simple, but great monument is a two-story octagonal tower made of red sandstone with steep staircase leading up to the roof. Believed to be the first observatory of Delhi, the tower is characteristic of an octagonal chhatri atop supported by eight pillars and decorated with white marble in typical Mogul style. Inside the monument one could see the remnants of the decorative plaster work and traces of stone shelving where, presumably, the emperor’s books were kept.
Mogul ruler Humayun, in a freak accident, died here in 1556 after falling down a flight of stairs. This was recorded by some members of the royal court of Humayun's son Akbar. According to Fazl, a historian on 20 January 1556 (sources give 24 January), Humayun was on the roof of a recently fitted library to bless his subjects. The accident took place in the evening while he had just begun to descend. No sooner had he stepped on the second step than he heard the ''azaan'', the Muslim call to prayer. Humayun, when getting ready to pray, as he stood up, one of his legs became entangled with his robe, He tripped, resulting his fatal fall down the stairs. He sustained serious injury on his temple and died a few days later. The public announcement, it is mentioned, was made 17 days after his death and by that time ruler Akbar had already reached Delhi from Agra.
|Sher Mandal (Sher Shah's Pavilion), Delhi .spaenvis.nic.in|
Researcher Ram Nath mentions that the architectural designs of Sher Mandal fall under a homogeneous construction and is consistent with Humayan's style.The near-by Qal’a-i Kuhna masjid or the pavilion resemble any of the buildings of Sher Shah.
The building, a two-story octagonal structure (about 60 feet in height is constructed of red sandstone that gives it an impressive look.It has has two extremely steep, narrow, and irregular granite staircases and there are eighteen steps each running along the northern and southern walls connecting the two floors. There is a single staircase joining the upper floor with the terrace. The dados of the middle story contain a 12-pointed star. This was specially introduced as ruler Humayun considered it auspicious though it is an astronomical numeral.
The cruciform chamber in the upper story is an interesting one - a single square-shaped room at the center opens out into four smaller rooms. The chamber has semi-vaulted softies on the sides supporting the four arches and a vaulted ceiling. The interiors have fine designs and decorations of glazed tiles and incised stucco.
The lower story is is inaccessible and it is presumed that it corresponds to a temporary burial site of Humayan. The chamber that was initially open, was later closed out of respect and Humayun's corpse was moved to a newly commissioned tomb two years after his death in this building.