Aurangabad • Maharashtra, Bibi Ka Maqbara - History and Mughal Architecture

Bibi Ka Maqbara is a mausoleum located in Aurangabad, in the state of Maharashtra in India. It was built in 1660 by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in memory of his first wife, Dilras Banu Begum, also known as Bibi. 

The mausoleum was designed by architect Ata-ullah, who also worked on the famous Taj Mahal. The architectural style of Bibi Ka Maqbara is very similar to that of the Taj Mahal, with white marble domes and relief ornaments. 

Although the mausoleum is often called the "Taj Mahal of the Deccan", it is actually much smaller than the Taj Mahal. However, it remains an impressive example of Mughal architecture and is considered one of the most important monuments in India. 

Over the years, Bibi Ka Maqbara has suffered damage from neglect and wear and tear. However, efforts have been made to restore and preserve the monument, making it a popular tourist destination for visitors from India and around the world.

Aurangabad • Bibi Ka Maqbara ( India, Maharashtra )

Aurangabad • Bibi Ka Maqbara

Aurangabad • Bibi Ka Maqbara ( India, Maharashtra )

Aurangabad • Bibi Ka Maqbara

Aurangabad • Bibi Ka Maqbara ( India, Maharashtra )

Aurangabad • Bibi Ka Maqbara

The Intriguing History of Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad, India

 

Introduction

 

Bibi Ka Maqbara, located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India, is a mausoleum built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in memory of his beloved wife, Dilras Banu Begum. Often referred to as the "Taj of the Deccan" or the "Mini Taj," Bibi Ka Maqbara resembles the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra, albeit on a smaller scale. In this article, we delve into the fascinating history, architecture, and cultural significance of Bibi Ka Maqbara.

 

Historical Background

 

Constructed between 1651 and 1661 AD, Bibi Ka Maqbara was commissioned by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor, to honor his wife, Dilras Banu Begum, who passed away in 1657. Aurangzeb's father, Shah Jahan, built the famous Taj Mahal in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, which set a precedent for commemorating loved ones through grand architecture. 

 

Architecture and Design

 

Bibi Ka Maqbara, designed by the Persian architect Ustad-Ata-Ullah, exhibits the Indo-Islamic architectural style typical of the Mughal era. The mausoleum is constructed using a combination of marble and basalt, with the primary structure made from basalt and the finer details crafted from marble. The structure stands on a high square platform, surrounded by minarets at each corner.

 

The main entrance to the mausoleum is a large, ornate gate adorned with intricate stonework, including calligraphy and geometric patterns. The mausoleum itself features a central dome surrounded by four smaller domes, similar to the design of the Taj Mahal.

 

Inside the mausoleum, a cenotaph made of marble marks the final resting place of Dilras Banu Begum. The actual tomb, however, lies beneath the cenotaph in a crypt. The walls and ceilings of the mausoleum are adorned with beautiful stucco work, and the chamber housing the cenotaph features intricate jaali (lattice) screens.

 

Cultural Significance

 

Bibi Ka Maqbara is not only a symbol of Aurangzeb's love for his wife but also an important example of Mughal architecture in the Deccan region. Despite being overshadowed by the splendor of the Taj Mahal, the Bibi Ka Maqbara remains an important historical and cultural landmark in Aurangabad, attracting thousands of tourists each year.

 

Conclusion

 

The Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad, with its captivating history and stunning architecture, is a testament to the grandeur of the Mughal era in India. It serves as a reminder of the love and devotion shared between Aurangzeb and his wife, Dilras Banu Begum, and the architectural legacy they left behind. Visitors to the mausoleum can appreciate the intricate artistry and craftsmanship that went into its creation and marvel at this lesser-known gem of Mughal architecture.

The Architectural Features of Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad, India

 

Location and Purpose

 

Bibi Ka Maqbara is situated in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India. Commissioned by Emperor Aurangzeb in the memory of his first wife, Dilras Banu Begum, the mausoleum is a symbol of love and a fine example of Mughal architecture.

 

Design and Structure

 

The design of Bibi Ka Maqbara is heavily inspired by the Taj Mahal, due to which it is often referred to as the 'Taj of the Deccan.' The primary structure is constructed with pure marble, while the walls encompassing it are made of basaltic trap. The monument takes on a rectangular shape with minarets at each corner.

 

Dome and Minarets

 

The central dome of the Bibi Ka Maqbara is its most striking feature. Topped with a brass pot and lotus petals, the dome is finely crafted, inspired by Persian influences seen in other Mughal structures. At each corner of the mausoleum, there is a minaret which is about 71 feet in height, each ending with a dome. These minarets display intricate stucco work, adorned with Persian floral patterns and geometric designs.

 

Interior Details

 

Inside, the mausoleum holds the tomb of Dilras Banu Begum, enclosed within an octagonal marble screen with intricate designs. This enclosure presents an excellent example of ornamental work in Mughal architecture. The interior is adorned with exquisite stucco decorations and frescoes, while the walls of the chamber feature verses from the Quran.

 

Gardens and Fountains

 

Surrounding the monument are lush gardens, typical of Mughal architecture. The mausoleum is approached through a series of fountains, lined along a central waterway. This element of water in the foreground of the mausoleum's view creates a mesmerizing mirage, adding to the monument's beauty.

 

Summary

 

Overall, Bibi Ka Maqbara, with its blend of architectural influences, its remarkable dome and minarets, and surrounding water features and gardens, stands as a noteworthy monument that offers a glimpse into the rich heritage of Mughal architecture.

Monument profile
Bibi Ka Maqbara
Monument category: Mausoleum
Monument family: Tomb, Necropolis, Mausoleum or Cenotaph
Monument genre: Funerary
Cultural heritage: Islamic
Geographic location: Aurangabad • Maharashtra • India
Construction period: 17th century AD

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Bibi Ka Maqbara, mini Taj Mahal • Maharashtra, India

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