Having said this, I really don’t want to compare the Taj with this. Each to its own! I especially dislike the term, Poor man’s Taj, often used for this tomb.
Bibi ka Maqbara, similarity to the Taj.
Whatever people may say, a visit to the Maqbara is definitely one of the must-see tourist attractions in Aurangabad. Bibi ka Maqbara, is white marble viewed from far. A close scrutiny tells that only the dome and some other parts are marble and rest are probably limestone.
It was raining when we reached the Bibi ka Maqbara. The rains did bring out a different ambiance to the place. The name literally means “the tomb of the lady”. And the lady was non other than Dilras Banu Begum aka Rabia-ul-Durrani, the first wife (or was she the second?) of the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb. This was not a symbol of love as the Taj Mahal is made out to be. Just a dedication to his wife but built by his son Azam Shah. Or Maybe the son wanted to build a memorial for his mother.
A closer look of a carved brass door.
The reason as to why this structure may look similar to the Taj but yet much different is the amount sanctioned by Aurangzeb. The budget to build this was just a mere seven hundred thousand rupees. Low budget because of the money was being elsewhere in consolidating the empire. Considering the amount spent, I think the structure is pretty impressive with the gardens, the big verandahs. Many of the walls are adorned with exquisite paintings of the time, inlay work and marble screens and carvings, carved brass doors.
The ceiling. Scroll slowly and you’ll find the circles rotating. :).
The tomb is in the centre and can be viewed form an octagonal gallery above. You can see people dropping money in hope for blessings. Oh… when will we stop bribing? 😛
The intricate carving in the inside of the dome is especially very beautiful.
So, when you plan your trip of Aurangabad, the gateway to Ajanta and Ellora, don’t forget to include Biwi-ka-Maqbara in your list. The whole structure is compact and I reiterate that the only way to enjoy this piece of architecture is not to compare it with the wonder of the world, The Taj.
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