To resituate early Mughal architecture within a Persianate context, this paper considers the three axes of geography, scale, and meaning. After introducing this conceptual framework, we turn to historian Marshall Hodgson’s essay, ‘In the Center of the Map: Nations See Themselves as the Hub of History’, as a starting point for geographical analysis. We survey historiographic perspectives on Mughal architecture as Indian, Islamic, Timurid, and Persianate. These cultural geographic perspectives involve a broad range of architectural scales from buildings to gardens, cities, regions, and empire. To address questions of meaning, the paper examines Hodgson’s concept of Persianate culture in relation to his ideas about conscience and history in his three-volume work titled The Venture of Islam. Hodgson’s ideas about conscience raise interesting questions about the moral dimension of early Mughal architectural experience. The final section of the paper rereads early Mughal sources leading up to the exile of Humayun in Persia and his return to Delhi. These events begin with Babur’s visit to Herat in 1506 and culminate with the construction of Humayun’s monumental tomb-garden, which can be read as expressions of moral as well as religio-political meaning in a dynasty that came to see itself as a ‘hub of history’.