Bibi Ka Maqbara

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Bibi Ka Maqbara
Bibi Ka Maqbara (1).jpg
Bibi Ka Maqbara
LocationAurangabad, Maharashtra, India
Coordinates19°54′05″N 75°19′13″E / 19.90151°N 75.320195°E / 19.90151; 75.320195
ArchitectAta-ullah, Hanspat Rai
Architectural style(s)Mughal architecture
Dedicated toDilras Banu Begum
Bibi Ka Maqbara is located in Maharashtra
Bibi Ka Maqbara
Location in Maharashtra, India

The Bibi Ka Maqbara (English: "Tomb of the Lady")[1][2] is a tomb located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India. It was commissioned in 1660[1] by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb[3] in the memory of his first and chief wife Dilras Banu Begum (posthumously known as Rabia-ud-Daurani)[4][5][6][7][8] and is considered to be a symbol of Aurangzeb's 'conjugal fidelity'.[9] It bears a striking resemblance to the Taj Mahal,[8] the mausoleum of Aurangzeb's mother, Mumtaz Mahal. Aurangzeb was not much interested in architecture though he had commissioned the small, but elegant, Pearl Mosque at Delhi. Bibi Ka Maqbara was the largest structure that Aurangzeb had to his credit.[6]

The comparison to the Taj Mahal has often obscured its very own considerable charm.[10] Due to the strong resemblance, it is also called the Dakkhani Taj (Taj of the Deccan).[5] The Bibi Ka Maqbara is the principal monument of Aurangabad and its historic city.[7][11] 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.[5] Ata-ullah was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the principal designer of the Taj Mahal.[12]

The inscription, however, incorrectly attributes the construction of the mausoleum to Aurangzeb's son, Azam Shah. Bibi Ka Maqbara was commissioned in 1660 when Azam Shah (born 1653) was still a child. In later years, however, the prince was put in charge of overseeing the repair-work of the mausoleum by Aurangzeb.


Dilras Banu Begum was born a princess of the prominent Safavid dynasty of Iran (Persia)[13] and was the daughter of Mirza Badi-uz-Zaman Safavi (titled Shahnawaz Khan),[14] who was the Viceroy of Gujarat.[15] She married Prince Muhi-ud-din (later known as Aurangzeb upon his accession) on 8 May 1637 in Agra.[16] Dilras was his first wife and chief consort, as well as his favourite.[17][18][19][20] She bore her husband five children: Zeb-un-Nissa, Zinat-un-Nissa, Zubdat-un-Nissa, Muhammad Azam Shah and Sultan Muhammad Akbar.

After giving birth to her fifth child, Muhammad Akbar, Dilras Banu Begum possibly suffered from puerperal fever, due to complications caused by the delivery and died a month after the birth of her son on 8 October 1657. Upon her death, Aurangzeb's pain was extreme and their eldest son, Azam Shah, was so grieved that he had a nervous breakdown.[21] It became Dilras' eldest daughter, Princess Zeb-un-Nissa's responsibility to take charge of her newborn brother.[14] Zeb-un-Nissa doted on her brother a lot, and at the same time, Aurangzeb greatly indulged his motherless son and the prince soon became his best-loved son.[22]

In 1660, Aurangzeb commissioned a mausoleum at Aurangabad to act as Dilras' final resting place, known as Bibi Ka Maqbara ("Tomb of the Lady"). Here, Dilras was buried under the posthumous title of 'Rabia-ud-Daurani' ("Rabia of the Age"). In the following years, her tomb was repaired by her son Azam Shah under Aurangzeb's orders. Bibi Ka Maqbara was the largest structure that Aurangzeb had to his credit and bears a striking resemblance to the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum of Dilras' mother-in-law, Empress Mumtaz Mahal, who herself died in childbirth. Aurangzeb, himself, is buried a few kilometers away from her mausoleum in Khuldabad.


Bibi Ka Maqbara is believed to have been built between 1668 and 1669 C.E. According to the "Tarikh Namah" of Ghulam Mustafa, the cost of construction of the mausoleum was Rs. 668,203-7 (rupees six lakh, sixty-eight thousand, two hundred three and seven annas) – Aurangzeb allocated only Rs. 700,000 for its construction.[23] 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 marble, drawn by at least 12 oxen, were seen by him during his journey from Surat to Golconda. The mausoleum was intended to rival the Taj Mahal, but the decline in architecture and proportions of the structure (both due to the severe budgetary constraints imposed by Aurangzeb) had resulted in a poor copy of the latter.[5]


Evening View
Bird's eye view of the Bibi Ka Maqbara
Interior of main dome
Sanctum with the tomb of Dilras Banu Begum

The mausoleum is laid out in a Charbagh formal garden. It 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 high enclosure wall is crenellated with pointed arched recesses and bastions at regular intervals. The recesses are divided by pilasters, crowned with small minarets. The mausoleum is built on a high square platform with four minarets at its corners, which is approached by a flight of steps from the three sides. A mosque is found to the west of the main structure, a later addition by the Nizam of Hyderabad, resulting in closure of the west entrance.

Entry to the mausoleum is through a main entrance gate on its south, which has foliage designs on brass plate on wood covering from the exterior. After passing through the entrance a small tank is provided and a low profile screen wall leads to the main structure. The screened pathway has a series of fountains at its centre.

The mausoleum is encased with marble up to the dado level. Above the dado level, it is constructed of basaltic trap up to the base of the dome; the latter is again built of marble. A fine plaster covers the basaltic trap and given a fine polished finish and adorned with fine stucco decorations. The mortal remains of Rabia Daurani are placed below the ground level surrounded by an octagonal jali pierced marble screen with exquisite designs, which can be approached by a descending flight of steps. The roof of this chamber that corresponds to the ground level of the mausoleum is pierced by an octagonal opening and given a low barricaded marble screen. This makes the tomb viewable from the ground level through this octagonal opening. The mausoleum is crowned by a dome pierced with trellis works and accompanying panels decorated with flower designs.[5] The structure is in the form of a hexagon, its angles ornamented with minarets.[24]

In popular culture[edit]

Bibi Ka Maqbara has featured in a number of documentaries and films. A part of the song Jab Tak from the movie M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story was shot in Bibi Ka Maqbara and surrounding hills in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India.



  1. ^ a b Lach, Donald F.; Kley, Edwin J. Van (1998). Asia in the Making of Europe : Volume III, the Century of Advance (Pbk. ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 738. ISBN 9780226467672.
  2. ^ Rupani, Bob. India's 100 best destinations. ISBN 9788192526201. OCLC 1027216185.
  3. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2008). The Mughal world: India's tainted paradise. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 376.
  4. ^ Lach, Donald F.; Kley, Edwin J. Van (1998). Asia in the Making of Europe : Volume III, the Century of Advance (Pbk. ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 738. ISBN 9780226467672.
  5. ^ a b c d e "World Heritage Sites. Bibi-Ka-Maqbar". Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b Eraly, Abraham (2008). The Mughal world: India's tainted paradise. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 376.
  7. ^ a b Koch, Ebba (1997). King of the World: The Padshahnama. Azimuth. p. 104.
  8. ^ a b Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 174.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Gascoigne, Bamber; Gascoigne, Christina (1971). The Great Moghuls. Cape. p. 229.
  11. ^ "Bibi Ka Maqbara". Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  12. ^ text; Sahai, photogr. Surendra (2004). Indian architecture : Islamic period : 1192-1857 (1. publ. ed.). New Delhi: Prakash Books. p. 150. ISBN 9788172340575.
  13. ^ Yust, Walter (1954). "Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 2". p. 694. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  14. ^ a b Faruqui, Munis D. (2012). The Princes of the Mughal Empire, 1504–1719. Cambridge University Press. pp. 72, 90. ISBN 1139536753.
  15. ^ Annie Krieger-Krynicki (2005). Captive princess: Zebunissa, daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb. Oxford University Press. p. 1.
  16. ^ Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1979). A short history of Aurangzib, 1618-1707. Orient Longman. p. 409.
  17. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2007). The Mughal World: Life in India's Last Golden Age. Penguin Books India. p. 147.
  18. ^ Chandra, Satish (2002). Parties and politics at the Mughal Court, 1707-1740. Oxford University Press. p. 50.
  19. ^ Koch, Ebba (1997). King of the world: the Padshahnama. Azimuth Ed. p. 104.
  20. ^ Nath, Renuka (1990). Notable Mughal and Hindu women in the 16th and 17th centuries A.D. New Delhi: Inter-India Publ. p. 148.
  21. ^ Hamid, Annie Krieger Krynicki ; translated from French by Enjum (2005). Captive princess : Zebunissa, daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb. Karachi: Oxford University Press. p. 84. ISBN 9780195798371.
  22. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne: The Saga of the Great Mughals. Penguin Books India. p. 424.
  23. ^ Maharashtra (India). Gazetteers Dept (1977). Maharashtra State gazetteers. Director of Govt. Printing, Stationery and Publications, Maharashtra State. p. 951. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  24. ^ Qureshi Dulari,"Tourism Potential in Aurangabad", p.50


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 19°54′05″N 75°19′13″E / 19.90151°N 75.320195°E / 19.90151; 75.320195