Saturday, March 12, 2011

Explore Maharashtra : Bibi-Ka-Maqbara

Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, Aurangabad City, India.
If you did a double-take and wondered what the heck happened to the beautiful Taj Mahal, you wouldn't be the first.

During our trip to Aurangabad, to see the famous Ellora and Ajanta Caves, our driver suggested that we stop by and have a look at Bibi-Ka-Maqbar, a sort of a replica of the Taj Mahal. Since it was very close to where we were staying, we decided to visit it and check it out.

Here's an inscription that is posted at the gate of Bibi-Ka-Maqbar and gives a historical explanation of this monument.

The beautiful mausoleum of Aurangzeb's wife is believed to have been constructed by Prince Azam Shah in memory of his mother Rabia-ul Durrani Alias Dilras Banu Begum between circa 1651-1661 A.D. An inscription on the main entrance mentions that, this mausoleum was designed and erected by Ata-Ulla, an Architect and Hanspat Rai, an Engineer. As the mausoleum architecturally resembles the Taj-Mahal of Agra (1631-1653) it is known as "Taj of Deccan"
The mausoleum stands within an enclosed area measuring 458x257 meters approximately. The main entrance is on the southern side of the outer wall, and at the center of the three remaining walls are open pavilions, which were used as Mosque, Diwan-e-Am, and Diwan-e-Khas. These buildings contain beautiful paintings of Mughal and Nizam periods.
The mausoleum is built at the center of a high platform, with four minarets at its corners. The lower body and the dome of the building are made up of pure marble, decorated with beautiful carvings, whereas the middle portion is of basaltic trap, covered with fine plaster, rendered with a marble finish and adorned with stucco work. The grave is simple, devoid of any ornamentation, surrounded with marble screens of exquisite design.
The Mughal garden, Living Water Management System, Pavements which are ornamented with little kiosks, finely worked brass doors, Stucco floral motifs on the shell lime plaster, rank Maqbarra among the best of the "Beautiful Mughal buildings of Deccan"

From a design perspective, it looks exactly like the Taj Mahal without the expensive marble that makes Taj Mahal a wonder of the world. Bibi-Ka-Maqbara follows the same architectural elements of symmetry and even the look and feel of the place is exactly like Taj Mahal. If I am not mistaken, even the size of the structure and the surrounding area is similar to Taj Mahal.

The Mausoleum.
 The Mausoleum is the main building structure. Like the Taj Mahal, it is now empty. People are allowed to enter the Mausoleum but photography is not allowed inside.

Mughal Gardens.
At the rear of the Mausoleum are the Mughal Gardens. Again, like the Taj Mahal, everything is symmetrical.

Mughal Gardens - Detailed.
School children visiting Bibi-Ka-Maqbara on a school trip.
Obligatory tourist-shot with my daughter.
It was a very short trip. We spent less than 30 minutes at the place. It is an interesting place. But for those who have visited Taj Mahal, it is like a bride who is told to wear imitation jewelery.


Anonymous said...

Seeing the absolutely stunning pics of Ajanta and Ellora, I have it chalked for our summer vacation in June. Hope our plans dont get swamped by any rain. How many days did you stay to comfortably do this trip? How best to get to Aurangabad, train or bus? Tks for the inspiration.

Cajie said...

Hi Nath,
Thanks for the compliment.
Regarding your query, it depends on where you are.
We took a private car from Pune, so we did not have to worry about transportation in Aurangabad, and we spent 3 days and 2 nights in Aurangabad. The driver was familiar with all the places, getting around various places was not an issue.

Marzouq said...

Amazing Photos Cajie! U never cease to impress! I have honestly never been to India but I'm looking forward to going there soon!

Cajie said...

Thanks Marzouq. Every time I travel to India with my camera, I keep finding how amazing it all is. Never really thought of it like that before when we were kids.

Rahul said...

very well written and adorned with beautiful photographs... this monument is really enchanting... sadly not much known among the travelers but i will recommend it to include it if you are visiting Ajanta/Ellora Caves...