Posted on: 31 October 2012


The Bibi-Ka-Maqbara (1955 N; 7515 E) is a beautiful mausoleum of Rabia-ul-Daurani alias Dilras Banu Begum, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb (1658-1707 A.D.). This mausoleum is believed to be constructed by Prince Azam Shah in memory of his mother between 1651 and 1661 A.D. An inscription found on the main entrance door mentions 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. According to Tavernier, around three hundred carts laden with marbles, drawn by at least 12 oxen were seen by him during his journey from Surat to Golconda. 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 appreciating the setting of the tomb complex in a garden setting with the mountain ranges behind providing as a backdrop. A huge U shaped gap in between the hills behind provides the perfect harmony in which the mausoleum is blended.

The mausoleum stands at the centre of a huge enclosure measuring approximately 458 m. N-S X 275 m. E-W. Baradaris or pillared pavilions are located at the centre of north, east and western part of the enclosure wall. The typical Mughal Char-Bagh pattern adorns the mausoleum thereby increasing its beauty and splendour through its symmetry and excellent garden layout. The high enclosure wall is crenellated with pointed arched recesses and bastions at regular intervals are provided to cut down the monotony. The recesses are divided by pilasters, crowned with small minarets.

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an emaciated Taj Mahal... very thin... haha

What is interesting is that we have such details about the construction of this "psuedo taj" but none of the Taj itself. Why? Its not like Taj was built by aliens in a different century?

"...We know that a large number of specialists were collected by Ustad Ahmed Lahori. Besides his friend of Lahore, Qazim Khan, who cast the gold finial that tops the dome, he called in Chiranji Lal from Delhi, who was a renowned mosaic pattern designer. From Shiraz in Iran, the master calligrapher, Amanat Khan, was called. From Baluchistan came the master stone cutter Amir Ali. Ustad Isa of Tukey and Ustad Ahmad of Lahore are, however, credited to have been the main architects. It is believed that their design embodied much of what the Emperor wanted to express. Among the other major persons involved in the building of the Taj Mahal was Mohammed Hanif of Multan, who was a master marble tile layer. Mukrimat Khan of Delhi and Mir Abdul Karim from Shiraz were the chief supervisor and administrator. During a search for material for this piece, I came across a list of persons, and the money they were paid, which must be shared with the reader. Ustad Isa, the master draftsman was paid Rs1,000, or at current prices this comes to 333 tolas of gold or Rs13.3 million. Ustad Ismail Khan Rumi, the dome expert was paid Rs500, Muhammad Sharif of Samarkand, the pinnacle expert was paid Rs500, Kasim Khan of Lahore was paid Rs295, Muhammad Hanif of Kandahar, the master mason was paid Rs1,000, Muhammad Sayeed of Multan, a master mason was paid Rs590, while Abu Torah of Multan, a master mason was paid Rs500. The master calligrapher Amanat Khan of Shiraz was paid Rs1,000, while Muhammad Khan of Baghdad, a calligrapher, was paid Rs500, and Raushan Khan of Syria was paid Rs300. The inlay worker family of Chirrani Lal, Munnu Lal and Chooto Lal were paid Rs800, 380 and 200, respectively. The lavish pays made sure that the very highest skills were used. It is said that the building of the Taj Mahal led to the bankruptcy of the Mughal Empire, and this was the main reason the son of Emperor Shah Jahan, the Emperor Aurangzeb, dethroned his father and led an austere life. The dwindling financial health of the Mughal court led to its collapse. We now come to the popular myth that Ustad Ahmed Lahori was mistreated by the emperor once the masterpiece was completed. This has no basis in fact. The family record states that he dies a normal death. The myth is that the emperor got the architect blinded and had his hands cut off so that he could never again design a masterpiece to rival the Taj. The reality is that Ustad Ahmad returned to Lahore, where his sons set up a flourishing construction business. He died a much respected man. He is also credited with having designed the Red Fort of Delhi." Source:

Thats a Pakistani paper talking about a Italian controversy. What is the main source of these claims?

From historical perspective -- which book, which writing etc? has to find out the source of these details. It must be somewhere.

When I visited this bibi ka maqabara in Aurangabad, I was told that Aurangazeb worked as a tailors assistant stitching buttons to collect enough money to build this. Is it true?

Aurangabad is a treasure trove of Mughal structures, including Aurangzeb's grave - the most simple, unadorned grave that any Emperor could have. I was incredibly impressed with it.

This is Mughal Architecture gone to seed. Taj Mahal was Mughal architecture in full Bloom and Humayun's Tomb is Mughal architecture in the bud. Visit the Page of Airawat Tours Pvt Ltd on FB and see the comparison with all 3's photographs together.