Part 2 – Bibi ka Maqbara
About a decade after the great wonder of India, Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, Prince Azam Shah, his grandson, built Bibi-ka-Maqbara in the loving memory of his mother Rabia Durrani. An intended replica of Taj Mahal, Bibi-ka-Maqbara does not quite live up to the standard of the great monument at Agra. However, if observed as an original creation in its own, it is quite beautiful and worth a visit.
Set on the picturesque backdrop of mountains, Bibi-ka-Maqbara is a prominent structure in Aurangabad city. Its form, instantly reminding of Taj Mahal, can be seen from all corners of Aurangabad if you manage to climb up the tallest building in your area. Driving through the old area of the town, the magnificent building of Bibi-ka-Maqbara is suddenly raveled to us moments before we halt in front of it.
As we walk through the well adorned gate, which illustrates foliage designs and a wooden door with a brass plate having the names of the architect and the engineer, Ata-Ullah and Hanspat Rai, inscribed on it along with other designs, we are welcomed by a small pond on the picturesque back drop of the main structure having an array of fountains before it. A small gateway from right leads to a serene Mughal garden that surrounds the monument. A stroll through this well-maintained, symmetrical garden full of birds gives a regal feeling of being at a royal place.
As we walk ahead from the pond alongside the rows of fountain rising out of the rectangular pools, the main structure standing on a square dais with four minarets in its corners, grows in its size revealing its full stature. Stairways from two ways in front lead us up. The mausoleum has been built partly in marble and the basaltic trap. A huge quantity of marble was consumed during the construction. The famous French traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier mentioned in his accounts that he saw hundreds of bullock carts full of marble arriving towards Aurangabad during his journey from Surat to Golconda, which presumably went into building Bibi-ka-Maqbara.
The tomb of Rabia Durrani lies at the ground level in the centre of the mausoleum. Enclosed in an octagonal structure of marble screens having delicate patterns carved upon them. The serenity and the quietness inside the mausoleum makes us aware of the truth of mortality and yet engulfs us with a strange sense of immortality.
Bibi-ka-Maqbara is situated within Aurangabad city and is on the drive of just a few minutes. With an hour to spare, you can pay a peaceeful visit to this monument on your way back from Ellora.