Bibi ka Maqbara: Mughal ruler Azam Shah's tribute to his mother

Bibi ka Maqbara: Mughal ruler Azam Shah’s tribute to his mother

Bibi ka Maqbara: Mughal ruler Azam Shah's tribute to his mother history mughal architecture 30stades

There are hundreds of grand forts, palaces, mausoleums dedicated to emperors, kings and queens around the world. But perhaps there are few that a king or queen has dedicated to his or her mother.

Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world to honour mothers and motherhood.

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Mothers across countries and cultures continue to be the backbone of the family; the nurturing care a mother gives cannot be replicated by anyone.

The selfless and unconditional love a mother provides to her child, her effort and dedication in bringing up children is unmatched. It was to honour this bond that a son built a monument for his mother – the Bibi ka Maqbara in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. The mausoleum is the burial site of Aurangzeb’s wife Rabia-ud-Durrani or Dilras Begum.

Situated on the outskirts of Aurangabad, the mausoleum was built by Azam Shah, Aurangzeb’s son after it was commissioned by Aurangzeb in 1660.

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The mausoleum is known as the mini Taj or Deccan’s Taj due to its design that is similar to the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra.

The sameness is perhaps due to the fact that Bibi ka Maqbara was designed by Ataullah, the son of Ahmad Lahauri, the architect of the Taj Mahal.

The entrance gate to Bibi ka Maqbara in Aurangabad. Pic: Flickr 30stades
The entrance gate to Bibi ka Maqbara in Aurangabad. Pic: Flickr

Dilras Begum was the daughter of Shahnawaz Khan, a viceroy of the state of Gujarat. She married Aurangzeb in 1637 and they had five children. But after delivering her fifth child, Dilras died.

Her death left Aurangzeb and Azam Shah shattered and grief stricken. In 1668, Azam Shah carried out construction and repair works on the mausoleum built in memory of his mother.

The tomb is built of white marble that was sourced from mines in Rajasthan. It is believed that the structure was erected at a cost of Rs6-7 lakh.

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Buildings made by Mughal architects are all marked by a stream passing by the structure and a garden based on a Charbagh pattern. Bibi Ka Maqbara is no different. At the time it was built, the River Kham used to flow behind the tomb.

Here rests Rabia-ud-Durrani or Dilras Begum, mother of Azam Shah. Pic: Flickr 30stades
Here rests Rabia-ud-Durrani or Dilras Begum, mother of Azam Shah. Pic: Flickr

The Maqbara also has a Charbagh-styled garden in the centre with structures in the four directions. The main entrance is from the south while there is a 12-door Baradari or pillared pavilion towards the north. A mosque is situated at the western corner and the Aina khana or mirror chamber is at the eastern end.

The pathway leading to the tomb is lined with trees on both the sides. In the center of the pathway is a 488 ft long and 96 feet broad reservoir. The pathway has a water pool and 61 fountains.

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Intricate carvings and jali or latticework are elements of Mughal architecture. Pic:

The mausoleum is crowned by a white dome with trellis works and panels decorated with intricate designs of flowers. The mausoleum is built on a high square platform and has four minarets, one on each corner. Stairs lead down to the mausoleum from three sides.

Classic elements of Mughal architecture are present in the mausoleum. Jali or latticework has been extensively used alongside arches and minarets. More in pictures here:

Minarets and arches decorate Bibi ka Maqbara. Pic: Flickr 30stades
Minarets and arches decorate Bibi ka Maqbara. Pic: Flickr
Bibi ka Maqbara was made at a cost of Rs6-7 lakh. Pic: Flickr 30stades
Bibi ka Maqbara was made at a cost of Rs6-7 lakh. Pic: Flickr

Also Read: Poetry in stone: 1000-year-old magnificent Modhera Sun temple in Gujarat

A door with intricate carvings at Bibi ka Maqbara. Pic: Flickr 30stades
A door with intricate carvings at Bibi ka Maqbara. Pic: Flickr

Also Read: Maharashtra’s Sea Forts: A testimony to the rise & fall of kingdoms on India’s West Coast

Work on the ceiling of the main dome. Pic: Wikipedia 30stades
Work on the ceiling of the main dome. Pic: Wikipedia
Bibi ka Maqbara is also known as mini Taj or Deccan's Taj Mahal. Pic: Flickr 30stades
Bibi ka Maqbara is also known as mini Taj or Deccan’s Taj Mahal. Pic: Flickr

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