- Silver on an ebonised base
Total height 37.9 cms
Silver height 22.9 cms
Base height 15 cms
Bibi Ka Maqbara "Tomb of the Lady" is a maqbara located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India. It was commissioned by the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in the late 17th century in the memory of his first wife, Dilras Banu Begum (posthumously known as Rabia-ud-Daurani). It bears a striking resemblance to the famous Taj Mahal, the mausoleum of his mother, Mumtaz Mahal. Aurangzeb was not much interested in architecture, though he had built the small, but elegant, Pearl Mosque at Delhi. The Bibi Ka Maqbara was the largest structure that he had to his credit.
The comparison to the Taj Mahal has often obsecured its very own considerable charm. Due to its strong resemblance to the Taj Mahal, it is also called the Dakkhani Taj (Taj of the Deccan). Bibi Ka Maqbara is the principal monument of Aurangabad and its historic city. 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. Ata-ullah was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the principal designer of the Taj Mahal.
Bibi ka Maqbara is believed to be built between 1651 and 1661 C.E. According to the "Tawarikh Namah" of Ghulam Mustafa, the cost of construction of the mausoleum was Rs. 6,68,203-7 (Rupees Six Lakh, Sixty Eight Thousand, Two Hundred and Three & Seven Annas) -- Aurangzeb allocated only Rs. 7,00,000 for its construction. 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 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.
The tomb in itself represents the transition from the grand architecture of Akbar and Shah Jahan to the simple architecture of the later Mughals.
The mausoleum is laid out in a Charbagh layout and 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, which was a later addition caused by the Nizam of Hyderabad, resulting in closure of the entrance from the west side.
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 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 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.