Did You Know About the Taj Mahal's Doppelganger In Aurangabad

This is a monument built out of eternal love, and no, it isn't the Taj Mahal we are talking about. Find out why you should visit Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad
Bibi Ka Maqbara bears a striking resemblance to the Taj Mahal
Bibi Ka Maqbara bears a striking resemblance to the Taj Mahal

Bearing a striking resemblance to the universally acknowledged symbol of eternal love, the Taj Mahal, Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad was built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb's son Azam Shah to commemorate the memories of his mother and is another monument symbolizing love. After having a defining hand in the construction of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore and the Moti Masjid in Delhi, Azam Sah's latest masterpiece was brought to life by Ata-ullah, the son of the principal designer of the Taj Mahal. 

Laid out in the Charbagh Garden, which is an Islamic quadrilateral garden laid out based on the four gardens in Paradise as mentioned in the Qur'an, the mausoleum stands on high square platforms surrounded by a minaret in each corner. A prime example of refined Mughal architecture, the walls of the Maqbara is armed with arched recesses and bastions. A small mosque stands on the west side of this tributary monument, a later addition made by the Nizam of Hyderabad. While the main tomb stands in the centre of the garden, four other buildings standing equidistant from each other grace each of four gardens.  

The tangible remains of Rabia Daurani, Azam Shah's mother, also take their place here. A flight of stairs will take you to the basement where the structure withholding the remains is protected by a dome adorned by flowery designs. Stucco paintings are used as embellishments with floral and inscriptional patterns found in abundance. Lotus medallions, rosettes, and mehrab patterns are the some that can be traced. 

Referred to as the poor man's Taj, the most shocking aspect is the attention paid to every detail. While it might not hold the same glamour that its larger and more popular version does, the Bibi Ka Maqbara still is a strong statement of Mughal culture. Footpaths of the interior areas were beautified with various unique patterns of decoration. On a stroll around the Maqbara, keep an eye out for the wall on the mosque built by the Nizam carrying the 99 names of Allah written in the gorgeous form of calligraphy.  

About an hour's bus ride from Aurangabad is the small town of Khuldabad. Located nearby the Valley of Saints, believed to be home to the graves of 1500 Sufi saints, the town of Khuldabad houses the tomb of Azam Shah's father, Aurangzeb. Close to his father's tomb lies his Azam Shah's own tomb along with his wife's. 

If you have completed exploring Bibi Ka Maqbara, fret not, the historic city of Aurangabad is a recognised tourism hub in Maharashtra. Although Rabia Daurani's tomb attracts hordes of audiences to the city, the nearby Ajanta and Ellora Caves are also destinations spots that once cannot miss out on. The former is a series of 30 Buddhist caves dating back to the 2nd century, while the latter is another chain of caves built by Rashtrakuta dynasty of the Buddhist clan and the Yadav of the Jains. 

Outlook Traveller