Bibi Ka Maqbara

Bibi Ka Maqbara – Another Love Story, Another Taj Mahal


We clambered down from the bus, barely avoiding a collision with two kids who were merrily playing on the road unaware of the surroundings. We were excited as we were a few meters away from yet another historic monument of Incredible India.

We made our way through a crowded parking lot, gently declining the ‘advances’ of hawkers selling their wares which included candy, peanuts, picture postcards, and other trinkets.

We entered an arched gateway, animatedly talking about our bus journey. The sight that stretched out in front of us stopped us in our tracks, our conversation muted in mid-sentence. Both of us were overcome by a sense of deja vu as we gazed incredulously at the structure in front of us.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

The Taj Mahal stood majestically in front of us!  We pinched ourselves to make sure that we were not dreaming. After all, we were not in Agra! Or, could it be, by some miracle the Taj Mahal had been teleported from Agra to the town of Aurangabad?

This is the effect that the monument known as Bibi Ka Maqbara has when you first see it. But after a minute you realize that this monument is no way close to the exquisite poetry in marble that is  the Taj Mahal, at best it is a poor shadow of the masterpiece. However, it is worth noting that the comparison to the Taj Mahal overshadows this structure’s own intrinsic qualities. 

We had heard a lot about this Taj of the Deccan and so after our trip to the famous UNESCO heritage sites of the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, we found ourselves on the threshold of Bibi Ka Maqbara. We had been mesmerized by the beauty of the paintings and sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora. And the Mughal structure that stood in front of us was in a contrasting style to what we had seen. We will soon have a post dedicated to the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, but for now, let us focus on the enigmatic so-called replica of the Taj Mahal.

The History

The Bibi Ka Maqbara was built by Azam Shah, son of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and this monument is an ode to love. Bibi Ka Maqbara stands as a paean to a son’s love for his mother. The Bibi Ka Maqbara rose from the earth in 1678 as a tomb to Azam Shah’s mother Dilras Banu Begum.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

One very interesting noteworthy point is that an inscription at the main door mentions that this mausoleum was designed and erected by Ata-Ullah an architect and Hanspat Rai, an engineer. The interesting point is that Ata-Ullah was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri who happened to be the main designer of the Taj Mahal in Agra. It must have indeed been an incredible sight as 300 carts laden with marble and each drawn by 12 oxen wound its way crossing more than a 1,000 kilometers from Jaipur in Rajasthan towards Aurangabad where they would be immortalized as Bibi Ka Maqbara.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

The Mausoleum

Bibi Ka Maqbara

The main entrance to the Bibi Ka Maqbara is embellished by exquisite foliage design on a brass plate on the wood which makes up the exterior covering. Just like the Taj Mahal, this mausoleum also stands on a raised platform and is surrounded by a garden with fountains. Four minarets at the four corners stand in obeisance to the mausoleum, which itself is a structure built of marble and basaltic trap covered by fine plaster. Below the ground level lies the mortal remains of the queen. An octagonal marble screen with intricate designs surrounds the tomb of Dilras Banu Begum. 

Bibi Ka Maqbara


There is a small mosque to the west of the mausoleum. This is a later edition and blocks the structure from the western side. This was built by the Nizam of Hyderabad. Legend has it that the Nizam was so enamored by the Bibi Ka Maqbara, when he annexed the region of Aurangabad to his kingdom that he mulled over the idea of dismantling the structure, slab by slab,  and transporting it to his capital, Hyderabad. In fact, he had already given orders for the dismantling of the structure when he had an ominous premonition of impending disaster if he carried out his plans. He immediately reversed his orders and instead had the mosque built as penance for his thoughts.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

How to reach Bibi Ka Maqbara

  • Bibi Ka Maqbara is situated about 12 kilometers from Aurangabad city
  • You can fly into Aurangabad airport which is well connected to major cities of India
  • Aurangabad is also well connected by rail and road to all major Indian cities
  • Aurangabad is 327 kilometers from Mumbai

When you are in Aurangabad

  • WhiIe in Aurangabad, you cannot afford to miss the opportunity to visit the famous Ajanta and Ellora caves
  • The Ajanta caves are situated at a distance of about 97 kilometers from Aurangabad City
  • The Ellora caves are situated at a distance of about 29 kilometers from Aurangabad City

We were at the main entrance once again, on our way back to the bus, we turned around and took one last look at this lovely monument of love. We had now seen enough of this mausoleum to appreciate its beauty without the veil of comparison with the Taj. We strode out of the Bibi Ka Maqbara lost in deep thought, thoughts about the men of history whose love translated into magnificent structures in stone. The calm of our thoughts was pierced by shrill shrieks as the kids playing around again brushed and ran past us.


Bibi Ka Maqbara

Bibi Ka Maqbara


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62 thoughts on “Bibi Ka Maqbara – Another Love Story, Another Taj Mahal

  1. The way you described the Bibi Ka Maqbara is like you are taking us with you there, with all the details and the turns. It looks and sounds like a beautiful place that’s not to be missed on a trip to India!
    Alessandra <3

  2. I haven’t been to India so I might have naively assumed it was the Taj Mahal. I loved the historical background you gave about the Bibi Ka Maqbara. It’s so amazing that these beautiful buildings were inspired by love.

  3. What an astounding profile of the Bibi Ka Maqbara! The architecture is such a dream, and your record of your experience is so vivid I feel like I’m there. How amazing to think it took hundreds of marble-filled oxen-drawn carts to create such a beauty 😮

  4. I’ve never been to the Taj Mahal yet, so I can’t really compare, but I think I’d like to visit Bibi Ka Maqbara too. It has an interesting history, plus the arches and the details of the places are so beautiful!

  5. The Bibi Ka Maqbara still looks beautiful, even though it’s not quite the Taj Mahal. It’s so interesting to learn about the history. The marble work looks incredible – I love the details carved on the walls…and that ceiling looks incredible!

  6. I can’t believe my eyes! I guess we truly do learn something new every day. The interior is truly magnificent with all the detailing. Is it possible to visit the palace and the nearby caves on a 2-day trip?

    1. The Ajanta and Ellora caves are quite vast and visiting each of these caves itself will require 2 days and 1 more day to visit Bibi Ka Maqbara. So a packed 3-day trip would be fine keeping in mind that you might plan to travel with kids.

  7. Thanks for giving us so background information! Your pictures are wonderful. I will definitely add this to my bucket list 🙂

  8. I had no idea about this building until I read about it here. It looks beautiful and the architectural details are terribly stunning. Even if it’s not the Taj Mahal, the place has its magic and you were very convincing in telling us the story of the place, it was really as being there. Thanks!

  9. Lol, this is quite funny as I was talking of this with Sarah only recently (she has been both here and to the caves).

    I can’t wait to visit this part of India, and even further south!

  10. At a first sight, I found extremely strange that a picture of Taj Mahal had no people in it! Then after reading I realized it’s not the “real” one but the for me unknown Bibi Ka Maqbara. I think it’s still beautiful, but the impression I have from the pictures is that it’s not well preserved or, at least, not completely well kept.

  11. This is giving me chills — like, actual goosebumps! I especially love the bit about transporting the marble from Jaipur. Hearing the history really makes places in photos come alive. (Which is a weird thing to say about a mausoleum, I guess.)

  12. Must admit that I did a double take when I saw that picture and thought it was the Taj Mahal too! A very spooky resemblance. No less interesting a history behind the monument though – who knows what might have happened had the whole thing being dismantled and transported to Hyderabad…

  13. What a gorgeous palace and monument! If you asked the average person what they knew about India, they’d say, “Taj Mahal.” It’s time to expand our cultural horizons on that front. I’d love to go to India one day. Great post!

  14. An absolutely splendid building and the main entrance in particularly is incredible. Shame how often the Bibi Ka Maqbara is overly looked by visitors to India in favour of the more famous Taj Mahal

  15. This looks so amazing, too bad people don’t know about it and they always visit Taj Mahal while they are visiting India. Lovely pictures as always 😊.

  16. Well goodness me, I never realised there was another building so like the Taj elsewhere in India, and what a fascinating story behind it; the Taj’s architect’s son built this! Brilliant. There is certainly no denying that it is very similair so I am surprised it’s not more popular. Thank you for sharing this with us, I enjoyed reading this post.

  17. Bibi Ka Maqbara looks beautiful and fascinating, in spite of comparisons to the Taj Mahal. That the architect’s son worked on the mausoleum here is a neat link between the two. Glad to learn of somewhere I had never heard of before.

  18. I have been to Taj and felt overwhelmed with the crowd. I’m not sure how you were able to capture shots without people. LIke the background story as an aside. Thanks.

  19. It is beautiful and love the history from its inception. Your pictures are great. Love to learn about places to visit not so well known. Thank you for sharing.

  20. The Bibi Ka Maqbara may not be the most famous thing to see in India, but it sure looks just as gorgeous! It is probably less crowded than the Taj too! 😛 What are the costs like, compared to visiting the Taj?

  21. I’ve never been to India but it looks like the country has much to offer also from historical/ architecture point of view. I completely loved two images of the beautiful ceiling! Hard to image how much effort people had to dedicate to buildings like Bibi Ka Maqbara or Taj Mahal.

  22. Beautiful pictures of the place. I have been trying to get here for sometime now but this place seems to be eluding me. Will keep trying. Glad to have a virtual tour through your blog

  23. I have visited the Taj Mahal and this mausoleum indeed looks very similar to it, from distance the only thing that gives it away is the width. Taj Mahal is wider. It is indeed intriguing that the architect that built the Bibi Ka Maqbara was the son of the main designer of Taj Mahal. Maybe that’s where the inspiration came from.

  24. I have as well visited some ruins that are being built because of their great love. Truly, a story like this and a beautiful Taj Mahal reminds us that love is a blessing that can really moved us beyond our limits. I wish to visit India very soon.

  25. This is a very beautiful structure, the details are really awe inspiring. Will definitely add this on top of the Taj Mahal! Would be a pity not to see this as well.

  26. Lobe the beautiful architecture and the intricate interior design! Amazing link between this site and the Taj Mahal. Another place totally worth a visit in India that I haven’t heard about until now. Thanks for sharing!

  27. I haven’t been to India and I wouldn’t know the difference until you mentioned it. While reading, I was already happy to see a photo of Taj Mahal without tourists in the background. Ah, but maybe instead of the Taj, better get a photo with the Bibi Ka Maqbara instead. They really look similar, both of them. I like the interiors of this as well.

  28. Wow. Didn’t know that something like the renowned Taj Mahal existed. I haven’t been in India but reading your post makes me want to visit India and Bibi Ka Maqbara! Very enticing read! 🙂

  29. Taj Mahal would be my first place to visit when I think of traveling to India. Have watched a documentary before, about Taj Mahal I just can’t remember if Bibi Ka Maqbarawas mentioned there. This is a good post to publicize the architecture. Thanks for sharing!

  30. I’ve never been to Taj Mahal or Bibi Ka Maqbara. However, they look very similar and they both share the stunning Indian architecture and traditions. Your article succeeded in convincing me to book a flight soon!

  31. We had the same baffled expression on our faces with the first glimpse of this majestic building. This is so amazing that the structure, minarets and even the gardens look so similar. We have been planning Ajanta and Ellora for some time and now will make sure a visit to Bibi Ka Maqbara is also on cards.

  32. I honestly haven’t heard of the place, and I thought it was very similar to Taj Mahal. Bibi Ka Maqbara is full of culture, and I’d love to see it someday. Hope you took more photos though. 🙂

  33. Bibi ka Maqbara is surely a delightful experience. The structure is just like other major Mughal mausoleums includng the Taj and Humayun’s Tomb. But clubbing it with Ajanta and Ellora makes for a sumtuous heritage trip.

  34. Taj Mahal is surely one of those gorgeous bucket list destinations! Did you find it too touristy? I would love to check out the surrounding areas too, so much too discover!

  35. Wow! I haven’t been to the Taj Mahal, but I have read so much about the impossibility of capturing a photo without a million other people in it! Sometimes I prefer lesser known attractions even if they aren’t as majestic as their bigger/greater counterpart. Also, I’ve just stumbled across your site & I’m really digging your writing style. I’m going to poke around some more! 🙂

  36. wow the architecture is stunning! I’ve been dreaming of visiting for awhile but I think you sold me to move it to the top of the list <3

    I wish designs were similar around the world.

  37. It was interesting to read a bit about the history and how it was made as an ode to love. The resemblance is indeed stunning, I had to not double but triple check. The mausoleum’s architecture is very specific and interesting. Almost like an optical illusion of the arcs and the depth they create.

  38. This is fun for me to see because when I was teaching college history in Qatar last year and I was asked to teach a humanities course on the women’s campus, I added a Asian and Middle Eastern topics into my course so as not to be “euro focused” and I taught them about the Taj Mahal and about Bibi Ka Maqbara.

  39. Wheb ai hear India the 1st thing that came to my mind is Taj mahal. A friend went there and she said there are so many tourist that month. So this is a free tourist spot? No entrance fee or whatsoever?

  40. ‘The main entrance to the Bibi Ka Maqbara’ – mate as soon as I saw that pic I realised another reason why i’m studying architecture. Should be over there in the Summer to study so…… #jinx 😀

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