Bibi Ka Maqbara
is a magnificent mausoleum, situated at a distance of approximately 5 km from the Aurangabad city of Maharashtra, India.It is affectionately called the ‘Taj of the Deccan’. Shahajahan built the great Taj Mahal and his grandson, Prince Ajam Shah, son of Aurangzeb, built Bibi ka Maqbara.
It was built as a monument for Dilrasbanu Begam, who was respectfully called Rabia Ud Durrani, for her devoutness reminded people of earlier saint Rabia of Basra. Bibi ka Maqbara is not an exact replica of Taj Mahal but an attempt of imitation was made. Taj Mahal is made completely of Marble, whereas Bibi ka Maqbara is made of marble and limestone together. The central structure of Bibi ka Maqbara is rectangular whereas of Taj it is square shaped. Also, the Bibi ka Maqbara is a quite smaller edifice.
Bibi ka Maqbara was built approximately in a span of six years. Its construction was finished in 1679. It is said that its construction consumed six lakh sixty-six thousand two hundred and thirty-eight rupees.There is a considerable doubt regarding who actually built the monument, Aurangzeb or his son Azam Shah? It is said that Azam Shah wanted to build for his mother something as grand as Taj Mahal, but Aurangzeb was reluctant to spend the great amount of money that would be required. Azam Shah’s desire of building the monument totally with marble was never fulfilled, but somehow, it is said, that he had got approved from Aurangzeb enough marble to build the dome and the most part of the central structure. The four minarets, which stand in four corners, are built from limestone and other ordinary material.
Many sources say that Aurangzeb built Bibi ka Maqbara for his beloved fourth wife Dilras Banu. It is important to notice that Aurangzeb was the person followed an unadorned life. He lived in the simplest way. He is infamous for his abhorrence towards artists. So, him building anything such as Bibi ka Maqbara seems unlikely. Therefore, it is widely believed that Prince Azam Shah was the one who built this mausoleum. However, it cannot be ignored that when Bibi ka Maqbara was built, Aurangzeb was the emperor of India and at peak of his power.
Construction of Bibi Ka Maqbara :
Bibi Ka Maqbara is a beautiful monument built of sandstone and plastered walls. The use of sandstone and plaster in the construction was made mainly to cut down the costs unlike its north Indian rival Taj Mahal which is built entirely of white marble. Designed by Ustad Attah Ullah of Persia, the structure was made on the lines of the Taj Mahal, however it fails to rise up to expectation and the intricate carvings and other beautiful art work as seen on the Taj is somewhat missing on the Bibi Ka Maqbara. However, leaving all comparisons aside, the Bibi Ka Maqbara is one of the finest of Mughal constructions which was built during the end of Mughal rule in India.
Architecture of Bibi Ka Maqbara :
The grand monument stands right in the middle of a lush garden which is over 450 mts long and 270 mts wide, adorned with a number of beautiful ponds, fountains and other water bodies decorated with colorful stone motifs. The entire complex is enclosed within giant walls and huge pavillions on its sides. Entry to the area is through an imposing gateway in the south wall wherein are inscribed the names of people involved in the construction including Atam Aula, the architect.
At the centre lies the tomb raised on a platform in a way such that it affords a beautiful view of the garden and waterbodies. The mausoleum containing the grave can be accessed through a series of steps. Entire structure is adorned with beautiful stone work while the grave is enclosed within a series of exquisitely carved marble screens such that it can even rival those of the magnificent Taj Mahal.
The upper floor is an architectural marvel adorned with stone screens that carry intricate engravings. The octagonal gallery is made completely of white marble and delicate stucco. On the lines of the Taj Mahal, there are four towering minarets on each of the corners, however, no use of semi precious stones is seen. Among other structures of tourist interest are a small tomb situated towards the west of the tomb and the Sunehri Mahal, which is one of the finest Mughal architectural creations.
Travel Information :
By Air : Indian Airlines operates daily flights to Aurangabad from Mumbai and Delhi. Jet Airways also has a daily connection between Aurangabad and Mumbai.
By Train : Aurangabad has a railway station located at a short distance from the city centre. The city is connected through regular trains to other major cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Amritsar, Jhansi, Agra, Hyderabad etc..
By Bus : A network of well built highways connect Aurangabad with other cities across Maharashtra. State transport buses ply regularly between Aurangabad and Mumbai..