Bibi-ka-Maqbara, Aurangabad - Interesting facts about this mausoleum

Bibi Ka Maqbara

Among the beautiful Muslim architectural  structures of India, none has more fascinated me than the one  5 km  away from Aurangabad city, Maharastra. Yes, the one I'm referring to is Bibi-ka-Maqbara (English: "Tomb of the Lady"). It is not a highly embellished structure. Nor is it a massive one with tall ornate minarets. Then what is so special about it?  Surprisingly, its simple and unassuming, but grand appearance that dominates the landscape. To put it in a nutshell, it is personification of simplicity that brings out its beauty and grandeur. Many experts make a comparison between the Taj and this mausoleum. These two monuments have their own charm and beauty, but their appeal is different. The fact is both of them leave behind you a lasting impression. This uniqueness makes them quite appealing. 

Bibi Ka Maqbara

The following are the inspring facts about Bibi-ka-Maqbara: 
01. Dilras Banu Begum, beloved consort of the Mogul ruler Aurangzeb,  due to complications caused by the delivery, died a month after the birth of her 5th son Muhammad Akbar, on 8 October 1657. The Mogul ruler was grief stricken and his son Azam Shah fell sick.

Dilras Banu Begum ,wife of Aurangzeb hardboiled

02. Dilras Banu Begum, a princess hailing from famous  Safavid dynasty of Iran (Persia),  was the daughter of Mirza Badi-uz-Zaman Safavi (titled Shahnawaz Khan), who was the Viceroy of Gujarat. She married Prince Muhi-ud-din (later known as 'Aurangzeb' upon his accession) on 8 May 1637 in Agra. Dilras was his first wife and chief consort,

Bibika ka Maqbara, MH  the tomb of Dilras Banu Begum,en.wikipedia. org

03. In 1660, Aurangzeb, three years after his wife's death,  chose a place in Aurangabad  as her final resting place and  commissioned a mausoleum - Bibi Ka Maqbara ("Tomb of the Lady") in memory of her.

04. It was the first monument (except the Pearl Mosque in Delhi), built by  Aurangzeb who never  built  monuments during his reign. He preferred spending money and time on war expeditions.!!

Maps of IndiaAurangabad, Maharashtra.

builder of the mausoleum Azam Shah.

05. Bibi Ka Maqbara is a  mausoleum built in 1678 by  Aurangazeb's son, Prince Azam Shah in the memory of his mother  Dilras Banu Begum (posthumously known as Rabia-ud-Daurani or Begum Rabia Durani).

Mausoleum,Bibi Ka Maqbara, Aurangabad. YouTube

06. The Taj, is the mausoleum of Dilras' mother-in-law, Mumtaz Mahal, who herself died in childbirth.

07. This mausoleum  is  widely believed to be a replica of the famous Taj Mahal at Agra built by Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb's father in memory of his wife.

08. Aurangzeb, after his death, was  buried a few kilo meters away from her mausoleum in Khuldabad.

09. Bibi-ka-Maqbara is also called the 'Dakkhani Taj' (Taj of the Deccan). It is the principal monument of this  historic city of Aurangabad. It is so designed that it's reflection falls on the pond in the garden when the Sunlight hits the mausoleum.

10. It is also called a poor man's Taj Mahal because of poor imitation. It is obvious the layout and surrounding of the tomb  are  very much similar to Taj Mahal,  But, when it comes to  architecture it does not have an aura about it as the Taj has. But,it  fails to produce the magic of the Taj. The main reason is lack of impressive decorations and highly accentuated and embellished interior and exterior  portions. Further, choice of stones for the construction work. It is not entirely made of marbles.

 Bibi-ka-Maqbara, Aurangabad. Pierced stone Jali screen. wikipedia

11. The  four towering minarets are similar to  Taj Mahal. An octagonal lattice-screen of white marble surrounds the raised plinth supporting Rabia Daurani's grave inside the tomb.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

 12. Bibi Ka Maqbara is said  to have been built between 1660 and 1661 C.E. According to the "Tarikh Namah" of Ghulam Mustafa, the  construction  cost  of the mausoleum was Rs. 668,203-7 ( seven annas).

Bibi Ka Maqbara

Interior, Bibi Ka Maqbara

13. This mausoleum was designed and erected by Ustad Ata-ullah, a Persian  architect and Hanspat Rai, an engineer respectively (vide inscription inside the mausoleum)
14. Marble stones were brought from far-off mines near Jaipur to this region through a vast number of bullock carts. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605 – 1689) reported that more than 300 bullock carts, drawn by 12 oxen laden with marble transported them to the Golconda area.

15. The mausoleum is laid out in a Charbagh, formal garden. It stands at the centre of a huge enclosure measuring approximately 458 m. N-S X 275 m. E-W. Baradaris or pillared pavilions are  at the centre of north, east and western part of the enclosure wall. 

16. The mausoleum is covered with marble up to the dado level. Above the dado level, it is made of locally available Basaltic  rocks (of volcanic origin - Hawaiian type) up to the base of the dome; the latter is again built of marble. So, as it is mentioned above, it is not entirely made of marble like Taj Mahal.

17. When commissioned,  Aurangzeb wanted to build a grand structure on par with the Taj. Later, he gave up his expensive  plan because of poor funds available. Already much money was spent on  war expeditions against the Marathas and others. Hence, this mausoleum is devoid of ornate features, gemstone impregnated outer walls, richly styled interior, etc. 

18. Here, the  mortal remains of Rabia Daurani are kept  below the ground level with  an octagonal jali  marble screens around the tomb. The access is through  a descending flight of steps. 

19. The roof of this chamber is at ground level of the mausoleum  and is pierced by an octagonal opening and  a low barricaded marble screen. The advantage is one can view the tomb  from the ground level itself

20. A high square platform that supports the mausoleum with four minarets at its corners, is accessed  by a flight of steps from the three sides.
21. Later addition included a mosque built by the Nizam of Hyderabad and consequently the west side access to the mausoleum is closed.

Mosque built by Nizam of Hyderabad. en.wikipedia org

22.  The yearly October Bibi Ka Maqbara festival is quite famous organized by MTDC.