The Taj Mahal (or is it?)

Wednesday, 9th September 2009 by

The marble tomb of the Taj Mahal is supposedly the ultimate symbol of love, being built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, for his second wife.

However, despite a striking resemblance, this is not the Taj Mahal. Rather, it’s Bibi-ka-Maqbara, a tomb built in the late 17th century by Prince Azam Shah (son of the sixth Mughal emperor), as a loving tribute to… his mum.

Literally translated as “Tomb of the Lady”, Bibi-ka-Maqbara was of course based on the iconic design of the original Taj, seen here in our story about it from 2006.

Sadly for Prince Azam Shah’s mum, while The Taj Mahal attracts from 2 to 4 million visitors every year, few outside India have ever heard of Bibi-ka-Maqbara. Which is a shame, as it does a pretty passable impression of the original.

There is another copy of the Taj in India, built by an filmmaker at the end of last year, but I haven’t been able to find it yet. It should be somewhere around here.

Further reading: The full story of Bibi-ka-Maqbara and the Wikipedia entry about Mughal architecture.

Thanks to Rukya R.