Bibi Ka Maqbara, Aurangabad : The Taj of Deccan
If you are in Aurangabad for Ajanta and Ellora visit, you should also consider Bibi ka Maqbara in your “to visit” places.
The Bibi Ka Maqbara(“Tomb of the Lady”) is a mausoleum located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India. It was built by Azam Shah, son of the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, between 1651 and 1661 in memory of his mother, DilrasBanu. The Bibi KaMaqbara was the largest structure to the credit of Aurangzeb.
Bibi Ka Maqbara and Taj Mahal
It bears a striking resemblance to the famous Taj Mahal at Agra, the mausoleum of Azam Shah’s grandmother, Mumtaz Mahal. Due to this, the Bibi ka Maqbara is also known as “Taj of the Deccan” (Dakkhani Taj).
The mausoleum was intended to better the Taj Mahal, but with limited budget available, lack of skilled manpower resulted in a poor copy of the latter.
Despite this, the Bibi Ka Maqbara has its own architectural beauty and importance in the history. One cannot but appreciate the setting of the mausoleum complex in a Mughal-style garden setting with the mountain ranges in the background providing a beautiful backdrop.
Cost of building Bibi Ka Maqbara
It took 10 years to build the mausoleum. Aurangzeb being not very interested in architecture and declining coffers, allocated only Indian Rupees 7,00,000 for construction. The actual cost incurred for construction was Indian Rupees 6,68,203 -7 (Rupees six lakh, sixty-eight thousand, two hundred three and seven annas). In comparison with this, the Taj Mahal was built over a period of 21 years at a cost of about Indian Rupees 32 million during the years 1632-1653 which is approx 46 times the cost of building Bibi Ka Maqbara.
Some interesting facts
An inscription on the main entrance mentions that Bibi Ka Maqbara was designed and erected by Ata-ullah, an architect and Hanspat Rai, an engineer respectively. Ata-ullah was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the main designer of the Taj Mahal which explains the resemblance with Taj Mahal.
The marble used in the construction of Bibi KaMaqbara was brought from mines near Jaipur. According to Tavernier, a French gem merchant and traveller, around 300 carts, drawn by over 12 oxen were used for carrying marble to Aurangabad, which he claims to have seen during his journey from Surat to Golconda.
I visited the Bibi Ka Maqbara in Oct 2016 during my trip to Ajanta and Ellora from Hyderabad. Some picture taken during my visit
- Best time to visit: October – March
- If you are traveling without any vehicle and on a tight budget, it is suggested to stay close to the Bus stand from where you can get bus to Ajanta and Ellora.
- If you are interested in Rajasthani food, you can try unlimited Rajasthani thali at “Thatbat” and “Bhoj” restaurant.