The Mini Taj — Bibi Ka Maqbara : The Tribune India

It is likely one of the world’s most famous monuments and a magnet to numerous vacationers from all all over the world who go to it annually. Constructed some 400 years in the past, it’s a milestone within the architectural historical past of India. It’s grand and luxurious (suppose, poetry frozen in time), an excellent image of affection constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan within the reminiscence of his beloved spouse Mumtaz Mahal. We’re, in fact, speaking concerning the Taj Mahal. And there’s no Taj Mahal however Taj Mahal!

Or is there?

Effectively… shock, shock! There’s  a  mini  Taj  Mahal in Aurangabad in Maharashtra — fairly  far  away  from  its world-famous, broadly celebrated cousin in Agra. 

It may be generally known as a clone of the Taj, however there’s a lot, rather more to this monument. 

Tucked between the lofty Sihyachal ranges of the Deccan plateau, Bibi Ka Maqbara, or Tomb of the Girl, stands gracefully on the highway between Daulatabad and Aurangabad. Identical to the Taj Mahal, it was additionally constructed within the reminiscence of a Mughal queen. Do you wish to know who? Learn on to search out out!


Commissioned in 1660 by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Bibi Ka Maqbara was erected in reminiscence of his spouse, Dilras Banu Begum, generally known as Bibi, or a lady of the Aristocracy, by her son Azam Shah. After her demise, Dilras Banu Begum was given the title of Rabia-ud-Durrani (Rabia of the Age),  after an Iraqi noble girl, Rabia Basri, who was recognized for her benevolence.

The story of Dilras Banu is nearly like a fairy story. She was born within the royal household of Iran and was the daughter of Shahnawaz Khan, who was the then viceroy of the state of Gujarat. She married Aurangzeb in 1637 and have become his first spouse. Historical past says that Aurangzeb and Dilras Banu’s marriage ceremony was one of the crucial extravagant and astounding weddings of the time. 

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That they had 5 youngsters and after delivering her fifth baby, Dilras died-uncannily sufficient, similar to her mother-in-law and Aurangzeb’s mom, Mumtaz Mahal. 

Each Aurangzeb and his eldest son Azam Shah have been grief-stricken and went into mourning. For months altogether, they neither appeared in public nor administered the affairs of the state. It took nice efforts for them to return out of their loss. 

It was in 1660, three years after she handed away, that Aurangzeb determined   to construct a mausoleum for his spouse, on the strains of the Taj Mahal-the nice monument that Aurangzeb’s father had constructed.


Who shrunk the Taj Mahal? That’s the primary thought that involves thoughts on recognizing Bibi Ka Maqbara, which is nearly half the scale of the Taj Mahal in Agra.

It attracts its inspiration from the well-known Taj Mahal of Agra and was conceived by Attaullah Rashidi, one of many three sons of Ustad Ahmad Lahori, the chief architect and the mastermind behind the Taj Mahal, who had been given the title of Nadir-ul-Asar (A Uncommon Gem of the Interval) by Shah Jahan himself. 

Attaullah had apprenticed beneath his father whereas he was engaged on the Taj Mahal and had gathered helpful expertise. 


A narrative goes that, in 1803, Nizam Sikander Jah annexed Aurangabad to his kingdom and was so captivated by Bibi Ka Maqbara that he needed to relocate the mausoleum to the capital metropolis of his kingdom, Hyderabad.

He even ordered his males to dismantle the construction, slab by slab. However then, he had a premonition that if he shifts the construction, some catastrophe would possibly befall him. He stopped the work, and as a penance, obtained a mosque constructed, which nonetheless stands to the west of the principle construction.

He was an professional in metallic designing and in addition knew Sanskrit and Persian. In reality, he translated a e book by Bhaskaracharya (the nice Indian mathematician and astronomer) on arithmetic from Sanskrit to Persian. 

Attaullah was helped by Hanspat Rai, an professional on building materials and its use. Each Attaullah and Hanspat oversaw the development of your complete construction.

However in contrast to his father Ahmad Lahori, Attaullah needed to work on the construction on a shoestring price range given to him by Aurangzeb. In keeping with inscriptions on the southern gate of the construction, the undertaking price was `665,283 and  7 annas (a forex unit previously utilized in India and Pakistan, which is the same as one-sixteenth of a rupee), whereas the Taj Mahal was constructed on a lavish price range of `32 million at the moment. 

This clearly exhibits that Bibi Ka Maqbara  was a extra budgeted train than the Taj Mahal. And fairly clearly so…for Prince Azam was not Shah Jahan, neither in energy nor in riches. 

Thought of to be the golden age of the Mughal Empire, Shah Jahan’s reign was a affluent one. Emeralds, sapphires, rubies, diamonds and all kinds of valuable stones have been mined from Indian soil throughout his time and his coffers had been bursting with riches, permitting him to fee essentially the most spectacular examples of Mughal structure.

Azam Shah, nonetheless, lacked the treasury his grandfather had entry to, in addition to the expert labour  that massive cash may purchase. 

He needed to do with no matter cash was doled out to him grudgingly by his penny-pinching father Aurangzeb, who was recognized for his austere life-style and tightfistedness, fairly in contrast to the  opulence  that characterised his predecessors. 

Aurangzeb had little curiosity in structure and was by no means in favour of constructing a monument as lavish because the Taj. However Aurangzeb’s son Azam was decided to have a monument to his mom’s identify that may vie with the Taj. 

Someway, Azam Shah pursued his father, who finally relented. And the maqbara, or the mausoleum, was accomplished in a few decade of the Begum’s demise (in contrast to the twenty-odd years that the Taj Mahal took).


Bibi Ka Maqbara stands on the centre of an enclosed area which is 458 metres by 275 metres. It has ponds, fountains, water channels and broad pathways. It’s constructed on a raised sq. platform with 4 minarets at    its corners and stairs on three sides, which result in the tomb, precisely like within the Taj Mahal. 

The Mughal architects laid nice significance on having a river or a stream go via the monuments they erected, and Bibi Ka Maqbara isn’t any totally different. Identical to the free-flowing Yamuna River was an integral a part of the design of the Taj Mahal, the Kham River, which originates from the Lakenvara Hills within the Satara mountain vary of Maharashtra, flows behind Bibi Ka Maqbara. 

It additionally has a charbagh-style backyard and a pavilion with twelve doorways to permit the free stream of air — each of that are frequent options in Mughal structure. 

The pathways are embellished with timber on each the perimeters. There’s a water pool and the centre of the pathway consists of fountains and broad reservoirs. To the west of the mausoleum is a mosque and going through the east is Aina Khana, or the mirror chamber, which has mirrors mounted on its doorway.

The Taj has been constructed utterly in marble; even its entrance construction, which is fabricated from pink sandstone, is interspersed with marble. However Bibi Ka Maqbara-except for the small central portion of the principle mausoleum and the dome-is constructed in pink sandstone, lime and stucco plaster-the motive why the partitions of the Maqbara are a bit of dusky as in comparison with the Taj.

The tomb of Dilras Banu Begum
contained in the Bibi Ka Maqbara, Aurangabad

Bibi Ka Maqbara additionally has an onion dome, similar to the crowning glory of the Taj Mahal, however the dome of the maqbara is smaller than the dome of the Taj. 

The white dome of the maqbara has panels adorned with intricate designs of flowers. 

Nevertheless, these drawings are fairly totally different from these in Taj Mahal. On the centre of the mausoleum is a humble grave surrounded by an octagonal lattice display of white marble. However the mausoleum does not boast of semi-precious stones inlaid within the design, or gold plating-riches that when lured raiders to the Taj.

Regardless of the variations and similarities between the Taj and Bibi Ka Maqbara, every of the 2 monuments has its personal grace and appeal. 

Although Bibi Ka Maqbara appears to be like strikingly just like the Taj, it’s a nice building by itself. Surrounded by a vibrant backyard, with tall cypress timber, big mango timber, and vibrant rose bushes and seasonal flowers, it offers a wonderful view of town. And what provides to its glory is that it’s the solely monument erected by the Mughals within the Deccan and, therefore, can also be known as the Taj of the Deccan.


Now, we all know that the Taj has impressed a bevy of constructions. However have you learnt which construction impressed  the Taj? The Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi! Commissioned by Mughal Emperor Humayun’s spouse, Hamida Banu, in 1565, within the reminiscence of her husband, it was the primary garden- tomb in India. 

Although it’s in-built pink sandstone, the construction appears to be like much like the Taj Mahal and it’s believed that it impressed a number of main architectural improvements that culminated within the design of the Taj Mahal.


Although separated by time, magnitude and distance, the Taj and the Mini Taj (aka Bibi Ka Maqbara) are associated to one another in additional methods than one. Each Taj Mahal and Bibi Ka Maqbara are nice symbols of affection and loss. 

Whereas the primary memorial, Taj Mahal, was constructed by Shah Jahan for his beloved spouse and Aurangzeb’s mom, Mumtaz Mahal; the second, Bibi Ka Maqbara, was constructed by Aurangzeb and his son Azam Shah within the reminiscence of Aurangzeb’s spouse and Azam’s mom, Dilras Banu-two gracious girls who have been recognized for his or her generosity, kindness and charitable nature, immortalizing them within the chapters of historical past…

— Excerpted from A Dozen and a Half Tales – Unusual and Mysterious Locations the World Forgot by Arti Muthanna Singh and Mamta Nainy, with permission from Rupa Publications

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