There are very few peoples know; that India has not one but two Taj Mahals? Yes; indeed, there’s a monument indistinguishable to the Taj Mahal that remains in Aurangabad in Maharashtra. This is very attractive mausoleum named “Bibi Ka Maqbara” (Tomb of the Lady) actually built by Prince Azam Shah, the son of the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, between 1651 and 1661 A.D, in the memory of his beloved mother, “Dilras Banu Begum”. The tomb draws its inspiration from the renowned Taj Mahal of Agra built by none other than Prince Azam Shah’s grandfather, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Azam Shah proposed to build a monument that would rival the Taj Mahal. Unluckily, he lacked the treasury his grandfather had access to, as well as the trained labour the treasury bought, resulting in a meager copy of the latter. However; without any doubt “Bibi Ka Maqbara” is an architectural wonder with sophisticated designs, carved motifs, impressive structure and prettily landscaped Mughal-style garden. Due to its robust resemblance to the Taj Mahal, it is lovingly named the “Taj of the Deccan”.

The mausoleum stands at the center of a commodious enclosure measuring approximately 458 meters by 275 meters, with axial ponds, lovely fountains, and water channels, several defined by stone screens and lined with broad pathways. The garden is enclosed by high crenelated walls with fortress set at intervals, and open pavilions on three sides. The mausoleum is built on a high square platform with four minarets at its corners, precisely like the Taj Mahal, and reached by a flight of steps from three sides. The main onion dome of the Maqbara is, though, smaller than the dome of the Taj and its minarets are shorter. Seen by itself, Bibi Ka Maqbara is a striking piece of work, but it pales in comparison to its famous forbearer. While the monument in Agra is made entirely out of pure white marble, the mausoleum in Aurangabad is encased with marble only up to the dado level. Above this is well covered with a high quality plaster polished to give a marble-like finish. Therefore; only the onion dome was built with marble. The walls of the Maqbara are also a little dusky by contrast, which gives the mausoleum a duller appearance compared to the Taj. According to some records, Bibi Ka Maqbara cost Alam Shah 700,000 Rupees to build. If we do the comparison, then the Taj Mahal was built at a cost of roughly 32 million Rupees at that time. This is perhaps another reason why Bibi Ka Maqbara is often referred to as the “poor man’s Taj”.0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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