There is something about death that is mysterious as it is but the desire to be able to be alive in the minds of the successors and people to follow, generation by generation. Not really clear why but generally who would not want to be remembered when you are long gone. Is it what our ancestors thought or was it just a fad or maybe something that was in vogue during that particular era when preserving your dead body and having a beautiful tomb or mausoleum built on it? Or was it to show royalty presides above all because not everyone even today could afford to build a monument for their afterlife to supposedly preside in.
Mahabat Maqbara (derived from the Urdu word Qabr; Grave) is one such example from history which beholds beauty and grace in its architecture. Once home to the Muslim rulers or Nawabs of Junagadh is situated in Gujarat, India and is the most glorious of the monuments in Gujarat. The construction started in 1878 by Mahabat Khanji and was duly completed in the year 1892 by his successor Bahadur Khanji.
This beautiful palace was precisely constructed keeping a fusion of styles in mind. It’s a mix of the Indian-European-Islamic style of architecture which was supposedly prevalent and spoke of royalty in the late 18th century. The windows comprise of French art, and Gothic columns and the doors are lined with silver giving it a little glisten. The palace has many domes, arches and towering minarets giving it grandeur of architectural statement. The palace has four minarets erected at its four corners with winding stairs. It’s a masterpiece in its own nature. The largest dome is on top of the entire building as its head is shaped like an inverted onion giving it a holy appearance.
Today we all know it simply as Mahabat Maqbara, a mausoleum which holds the grave of Mahabat Khanji and Bahauddin Maqbara of Bahaduddinbhai Hasainbhai, vizir of Nawab Rasul Khanji. Today the monument is unkempt and might have slightly lost its shine but even now its stands strong at its place preaching a sense of beauty and elegance through its enormous structure. Coming to think of it one can also talk about the sense of equality and acceptance that they possessed which showed their likeness for different styles of architecture and how it influenced their sensibility. Visitors are not allowed to wander around the palace due to its historical importance, but one can get inside the compound seeking permission and the keys from the nearby mosque.
QABR (ABODE OF AFTER-LIFE)
One visiting will be amazed to see what the palace has to offer, every detailing speaks of its royalty. This enormous mausoleum speaks to us about how the afterlife too can be beautiful, not to the ones who lay buried beneath the glorious monument but to the eyes of the beholder.
Through the living one can duly pay respect and appreciation to the beauty of afterlife and the ones who are now part of nature, buried in history.