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Bibi Ka Maqbara

Bibi Ka Maqbara

The marble domes of Bibi Ka Maqbara, the famous 17th century Mughal-era monument in the city, are set to get a new shine.

The domes and other marble parts of the Bibi ka maqbara will undergo scientific conservation.The structure, known as the ‘Taj of the Deccan’ because of its striking resemblance to the Taj Mahal.Although it is widely believed that Bibi-ka-Maqbara was built by Aurangzeb’s son, Azam Shah, in memory of his mother, the Archaeological Survey of India has found an inscription saying it was completed in 1660. Prince Azam was only seven years old at the time. Some historians claim that his mother Razia Durani (Dilras Banu Begum) built the Bibi ka maqbara herself using the jewellery from her dowry, but died before its completionAt the center of the building is the lone tomb of Rabia-ul-Daurani, third wife of the emperor, and mother of the architect.

Also called the Tomb of the Lady, Bibi Ka Maqbara was designed by Ataullah, the son of Ahmad Lahauri, the architect of the Taj Mahal which explains its appearance heavily based on the prime marvel.

Grey-green in the background, the lofty Sihyachal ranges (part of the Deccan plateau) embrace the Queen’s Memorial in their protective arms. The elegant and graceful monument, draped in white, can be viewed from a distance on the road between Daulatabad and Aurangabad

Maqbaras are Muslim qabars or graves and were more popular during the Mughal period. They were monuments erected to entomb bodies and preserve the name and memory of the dead. Over time maqbaras came to be associated more with the graves of religious figures or waliyullah who dedicated their life to religion. But in the later medieval period, especially during the times of the Mughals, they began to be constructed as tombs for members of the royal family.

Dilras Banu Begum

Bibi Ka Maqbara was erected in memory of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s wife, Dilras Banu Begum, popularly known as Begum or Bibi (often misinterpreted as Bibi or wife). In Urdu, the term Bibi is used for a woman of nobility, while Begum is a more reverential term for a gentle or generous woman. Dilras Banu Begum was given the title of Rabia-ud-Daurraini (‘the modern-day Rabia’). The title refers to Rabia Basra (in Iraq), a generous lady who was known for her pious and kindhearted nature.

Controversy over the ownership of the Maqbara

The issue of the ownership of Bibi ka maqbara has been fraught with controversy. Historians and scholars as well as travel writers seem divided on this. Some have credited Aurangzeb with its creation while others have identified Mohammed Azam Shah, son of Aurangzeb, as being the one who commissioned the structure in memory of his beloved mother.

The Archaeological Survey of India’s information board displayed at the entrance to the site credits Mohammed Azam Shah with the building of this tomb. The Aurangabad Gazeteer (1997) as well as the book, Glimpses of the Nizam’s Dominion (Campbell 1898) attribute the monument’s creation to Azam Shah. Their contention is that Aurangzeb was averse to the building of monuments and hence there are very few significant structures belonging to his time.

 

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