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This is a beautiful mausoleum for Rabia ul Durrani aka Dilras Banu Begum wife of Emperor Aurangzeb (1658 - 1707). This was built by her son Price Azam Shah in memory of his mother somewhere around 1651 - 1661. An inscription in the mausoleum indicates that this mausoleum was designed and erected by Ata-ullah, an architect and Hanspat Rai, an engineer respectively. The marble for this mausoleum was brought from mines near Jaipur. The mausoleum draws its inspiration from the world famous Taj Mahal of Agra (constructed between 1631 and 1648 A.D.) and hence it is rightly known as the "Taj of Deccan".

The mausoleum was intended to rival the Taj Mahal but the decline in architecture and proportions of the structure had resulted in a poor copy of the latter. Even this decline cannot stop one from appreciating the setting of the tomb complex in a garden with the mountain ranges behind providing the backdrop.

Despite the decline in architecture the Bibi Ka Maqbara is an architectural wonder with intricate designs, carved motifs, imposing structure and beautifully landscaped Moghal-style garden. The walk from the entrance to the monument is dotted with lush lawns, deep green cypresses and gurgling fountains. The pavements leading to the mausoleum are flanked by oblong reservoirs. The ambience is overwhelmingly that of the Taj bur whatever said and done this is a poor copy of the magnificent Taj. Historians opine that initially Aurangzeb was not in favour of building anything as lavish as the Taj. However his son Price Azam Shah persuaded and prevailed upon his father to build a structure in memory of his mother and eventually Aurangzeb relented.

The Bibi Ka Maqbara though a poor replica of the Taj has its own grandeur and beauty. It may not be as beautiful as the Taj but none the less leaves you with a feeling that the Emperor and his son loved the wife and mother intensely so as to motivate them but erect a mausoleum in her memory. Rabia ul Durrani rests there alone unlike Mumtaz or Noor Jehan in the Taj. The entire structure is moderately decorated in keeping with Aurangzeb's sense of austerity. The entire atmosphere seemed to me serene and forlorn. and as you depart from the place a sense of sadness wraps around you.

Enjoy the pictures.

Shankar Adisesh

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Categories & Keywords
Category:Architecture and Structures
Subcategory:Places of Interest
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:Aurangabad, Aurangazeb, Bibikamaqbara, Moghularchitecture, Princeazamkhan