Bibi Ka Maqbara – Maharashtra’s Mini Taj Mahal

Continuing our road trip in Aurangabad, the next stop was Bibi Ka Maqbara, translating to “Tomb of the Lady.” Bibi Ka Maqbara was built between 1651 and 1661 by the 6th Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s son, Azam Shah, in memory of his mother, Rabia-ul-Durrani. Due to the striking resemblance it bears to the Taj Mahal, it’s also called the Dakkhani Taj (Taj of the Deccan). Well, that’s not the only name – it’s also known as the Mini Taj Mahal and the Taj Mahal of the poor people.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

Bibi Ka Maqbara

Getting to Bibi Ka Maqbara

Bibi Ka Maqbara is about 5 km from Aurangabad city, and from our hotel, it was just 3 km. If you are coming via train, distance from Aurangabad railway station is 5.5 km and from the nearest airport it is situated about 12 km.

Parking, Ticket and Timing

There’s a large open parking available close to the entrance. If that’s filled up, there’s another extensive ground nearby, where you can park your vehicle. Parking fee is Rs 30 for cars.

Just like any other famous monuments in India, there are many hawkers outside selling snacks, candy, postcards, and other trinkets. Once you make your way through them, entry tickets for the mausoleum can be bought from the counter at the right of the main gate. Entry fee is Rs. 15 for Indians and Rs. 250 for foreigners. Visiting time is between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. You can spend a reasonable 2-3 hours here.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

While researching about Aurangabad, we read a lot about this Taj and how it’s related to the world famous Taj Mahal in Agra, so we were excited to visit yet another historic monument of Incredible India. After buying tickets for everyone, we made our way through an arched gateway to enter the mausoleum.

Bibi Ka Maqbara entrance

Bibi Ka Maqbara entrance

All of a sudden, we were stopped in our path by the incredulous structure staring right in front of us. Could it be, by some miracle we were teleported to Agra or the Taj Mahal had been ported to the town of Aurangabad? This is the effect that the monument has when you first see it. However, all that fades away in a minute and you’ll understand it’s a poor imitation of the latter.

Owing to the look and intent of Azam Shah for Bibi Ka Maqbara, the structure often draws comparison with the world famous monument – Taj Mahal. Here are a few of the similarities and differences between them:

1. Right from the first glance, you’ll notice the visible difference in size of the main onion dome and the minarets. Bibi ka Maqbara is about one-third of the size of Taj Mahal.
2. The mausoleum is built on a elevated square platform with four towering minarets at each of its corners exactly like the Taj Mahal. Minarets of Bibi ka Maqbara are octagonal, while those of the Taj are round.

Bibi Ka Maqbara Minarets

Bibi Ka Maqbara Minarets

3. This tomb is also built on the bank of a river (Kham river). Taj Mahal stands by the river Yamuna.
4. Both are built in the heart of a Charbagh Garden, and is surrounded by axial ponds, fountains, and water channels.

Charbagh garden front

Charbagh garden front

Charbagh garden back

Charbagh garden back

5. An inscription found on the main entrance door mentions that it was designed by a Persian called Ata-Ulla, and the engineer behind it was Hanspat Rai. Ata-Ulla was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who had designed the Taj.
Inscription

6. Unlike the Taj, only the dome of the Maqbara is made of marble. Rest of the mausoleum is encased with lime plaster with stucco work on it. Due to this, the walls of the Maqbara have a dusky appearance. The marble used in the construction of the dome was brought in from a mine all the way from Jaipur.
Art work on Bibi Ka Maqbara

7. The cost of the total construction was Rs. 6,68,203 and 7 Annas at that time. Whereas, the cost of constructing the Taj Mahal was Rs 3.20 crores at that time. This is the reason this mausoleum is called the Taj Mahal of the poor people.
8. Taj Mahal was made by Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, and Bibi Ka Maqbara was commissioned by Aurangzeb in the memory of his wife, which was later completed by son Azam Shah.

The actual tomb, with the mortal remains of Rabia-ul-Durrani, lies on the ground floor of the particular structure. An octagonal marble screen with intricate designs surrounds the tomb of the queen.

Tomb of queen Rabia-ul-Durrani

Tomb of queen Rabia-ul-Durrani

This can be seen by the visitors and has a lot of money thrown at it. To reach this place, you have to ascend a flight of steps.

Overall, if you go and compare Biwi Ka Maqbara with Taj Mahal, you will clearly be disappointed by the former, but as a stand-alone building it’s certainly a treat to the eyes. If you haven’t yet visited the Taj, you should visit this first. You’ll certainly have a different opinion. However, I feel it’s probably not worth going too far out of your way just to see. It’s a valid stopping point when covering other places such as Ajanta or Ellora caves in Aurangabad.

Bibi Ka Maqbara Highlights

Bibi Ka Maqbara FAQ

1. Is there an entry fee for Bibi Ka Maqbara?
A. Yes. Ticket fee for Indians is Rs 15, and for foreigners it is Rs 200. Entry is free for Kids below 15 years of age.

2. Is there a parking fee at Bibi Ka Maqbara?
A. Both Free and paid parkings are available. Parking fee for two-wheelers is Rs 10, and for four-wheelers, it’s Rs 30.

3. What are the mode of payments accepted for the tickets?
A. Only cash payments are accepted.

4. How much time is needed to spend here?
A. You’d need around 2-3 hours to cover the entire place.

5. What’s the visiting time?
A. Visiting time is between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

6. Is photography and videography allowed? Is it chargeable?
A. Photography is allowed and is free for all. For video camera, there’s a fee of Rs 25.

7. When is Bibi Ka Maqbara closed?
A. Entry is open through out the week.

8. Best time To visit Bibi Ka Maqbara ?
A. We visited during the summer month of May. It was extremely hot during this time. Temperature was close to 44 degree Celsius in the afternoon. Best time to visit Bibi Ka Maqbara is from October to March. It’s quite pleasant in Aurangabad during this period. From April to September, you could be facing intense summer heat or monsoon depending upon the month.

9. Are there any good places to eat and stay around ?
A. You can get small snacks to eat outside. However, for a proper meal, you’ll have to go back to the city. Good hotels are again available only in Aurangabad city. It’s a small city, so you can easily hire a cab or rickshaw for traveling.

10. What are the other places to see in Aurangabad?
A. A few other places to see are: Soneri Mahal (2 km), Panchakki (2 km), Sidhdharth Garden and Zoo (3 km), Daultabad Fort (16 km), Ellora caves (30 km), and Paithan Dam (52 km). One can also cover Ajanta caves (101 km) from Aurangabad, but an entire day is required here.

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