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Aurangabad History
October 13, 2021 at 8:00:00 PM
Hidden Secrets of Bibi ka Maqbara- Theme and Design behind “Bibi-ka-Maqbara”

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Hidden Secrets of Bibi ka Maqbara- Theme and Design behind “Bibi-ka-Maqbara”

A symbol of remembrance, Bibi Ka Maqbara is almost indistinguishable from another memento of love and its inspiration, the Taj Mahal. It might be a derivative of the Taj but the mausoleum stands proud as an expression of a son’s love for his mother and has its own wandering evocations. Also called the Tomb of the Lady, Bibi Ka Maqbara was designed by Ataullah, the son of Ahmad Lahauri, the architect of the Taj Mahal which explains its appearance heavily based on the prime marvel. Related to each other in ways more than one yet separated by time, magnitude and miles both the mausoleums are exemplary depictions of love, memory and loss. While the first memorial, Taj Mahal belongs to Aurangzeb’s mother, the second, Bibi Ka Maqbara is dedicated to his wife – both the tombs immortalising these women in the chapters of history and alluding to the despotic yet the last influential Mughal emperor.

Bibi Ka Maqbara Information

Built in 1668 the Tomb of Rabia Durani or Bibi Ka Maqbara was erected by Azam Shah, the son of Aurangzeb to commemorate his mother Dilras Begum who was titled Rabia Durani post her death. Being the spitting image of the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum is also called the Taj of the Deccan or the Dakkhani Taj. The north of the country is dotted with the specimens of the Mughal architectural magnificence, Bibi Ka Maqbara stands as a lone soul in the southern part. It was Aurangzeb’s long-standing governorship of Aurangabad that the shrine came to exist in the city and is today one of the most famous historical monuments in Maharashtra.

Bibi Ka Maqbara History

The story of Dilras Banu is nothing short of a fairytale. Born in the Safavid royal family of Iran, princess Dilras was the daughter of Shahnawaz Khan who was the then viceroy of the state of Gujarat. She married Aurangzeb in 1637 thus becoming his first consort and wife. Together they had five children and after delivering her fifth child, Dilras died. Both Aurangzeb and his eldest son, Azam Shah couldn’t bear the loss of the most important woman in their lives. It is said that the father-son duo were grief stricken for months and it took great efforts for them to come out of the state of shock. It was then in 1668 that Azam Shah ordered for a mausoleum to be built for his beloved mother on the lines of Taj Mahal, which was the resting place of Banu’s mother-in-law and Aurangzeb’s mother, Mumtaz Mahal. Both the women died because of complications developed through childbirth.

Bibi Ka Maqbara Construction

The tomb was to be more splendid than the Taj itself but due to strict adherence to the tight budget allocated for the construction, the mausoleum could only result in an arduous emulation. The Mughal architects led great importance on having a stream passing by the structures they erected with a garden based on a Charbagh pattern. Bibi Ka Maqbara is no different. There was a time when River Kham could be seen flowing behind the tomb. The Maqbara also has a Charbagh-styled garden and it sits pretty right in the centre with structures in the four directions. To the north is a 12-door Baradari, south is where the main entrance is, to the west is a mosque and facing the east is Aina khana or the mirror chamber.

The white dome of the Maqbara has panels adorned with intricate designs of flowers. The maqbara is graced by four minarets on corners with stairs leading to the tomb on three sides. The pathways are decorated with trees on both the sides. There is a water pool along with octagonal-shaped cisterns and the centre of the pathway consists of 61 fountains and 488 ft long and 96 feet broad reservoirs.

Hidden Secret

The Mughal architecture in India had reached its zenith during the reign of Shah Jahan, the well-known and great builder. He built magnificent palaces, mosques, mausoleums, forts and gardens in various places in India. The technology of architecture had reached its highest peak during this period. The most important and necessary criteria of a piece of architecture lies in its utility, stability, beauty and that it must be massive, strong and composed of substantial fabric and above all the entire structure should be pleasing to the eyes. The Mughal rulers had grasped well the key-point of architectural aestheticism. It would not be a mere mass of some material haphazardly assembled, presenting an ugly and irksome finish. 

The Mughals knew that the lofty, beautiful and gorgeously ornamented buildings inculcate feelings of grandiose and splendour and evoke that sense of wonder which is the source of all aesthetic experience. Hence they laid emphasis on building wonderful edifices, tombs, mosques and palatial mansions, which would be unique and the likes of which did not exist anywhere else. They deeply understood the philosophy hidden behind huge and magnificent construction. The Deccani Kings were of the view that the Maqbara was solely built by Prince Aurangzeb whereby his persona became enormous. As a matter of fact, the Maqbara was financed and built by Dilras Banu Begum herself under the guidance and support of Prince Aurangzeb. At the time of the construction of the Maqbara Dilras Banu Begum was alive and present at Aurangabad. In those days there was a common practice, to build one’s last house (Maqbara) in one’s own lifetime.

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