Paigah Tombs – An Architectural Masterpiece
Paigah Tombs or Maqhbara Shams al-Umara are one of the famous monuments of Hyderabad city which are known for their excellent architectural beauty.
Paigah Tombs were constructed by the Paigah family, who were very close and extreme loyals of the Nizams of Hyderabad. Their loyality towards Nizams and later matrimonial alliances with them made Paigahs very influential during 18th century. 'Shams al-Umara’ was a title which was given to Paigahs by Nizams which means 'the sun amongst the masses'.
Abdul Fateh Khan Tegh Jung was the first who was buried in 1786 at the place which later became the family Maqbara built as later generations of the members of their families were also burried there.
There are 27 tombs in the main complex; rest of the tombs of the family is just outside it.
Paigah and their love for Art & Architecture:
The Paigahs were the great patrons of arts and have made several palaces including Falaknuma Palace. Their love for art is seen even in their exquisite tombs. The Paigah tombs are example of Indo-Islamic architecture, with a mix of both the Asaf Jahi and the Rajputana styles of architecture.
The décor in fabulous stucco work, represents the Mughal, Persian and Deccan style too. The tombs are in the shape of “Chaukhandis” with latticed panels but open to sky. (Chaukhandi – A dome like structure on 4 pillars
The crypts are made of lime and mortar and have intricate marble inlay work and stucco.The surrounding beautiful structure of walls has latticed panels with geometrical and floral design. The geometrical designs in the Paigah Tombs are unique and are perforated with screens with great craftsmanship. The Tomb of Asman Jah and Begum Khurshid Jah attract maximum number of tourists. The structures are made of marble and were once adorned with precious and semi-precious stones which changed colours with the change of seasons. The Tombs are enclosed by a wall which is ornamented with lattice work and exotic floral and geometric designs. Each wall is done up differently with fruits, drums, serpents, flowers, vases, etc.
The mausoleums have exemplary craftsmanship, utilizing elaborate canopies and marble fences done in trellis-work that are made up of geometric and floral designs. Arches fringed by smaller semi-circular arches–a feature unique to India–are also employed. Another interesting point of the place is that all the tombs have unique designs carved on them differently.
Travelers Note: The architectural beauty of the place makes it a must-see place for tourists. This place is dazzling sight for someone who is visiting this place first time in case you are from Hyderabad. The serene and peaceful place will compel you to slow down, pause and reflect on the grandeur of the bygone times.
The magnificent tombs and its intricate designs are a delight for photographers. Student and people involved in architecture may find this place very interesting in terms of design and one never know what inspirations this might give you.
At first sight the place looks deserted and somewhat ignored. Although there is a family staying there and taking care of it but this architectural wonder is now more than 200 years old and demanding a better care and some restoration work from our side.
You can visit these tombs on all days, except on Fridays. To visit Paigah tombs, the timings are from 10 am to 5 pm.
There is no entry fee to this place, but the care taker is also a very warm person and guides you around and shares some info, in expectation of some "fees". This is open to your discretion.
The pointer on the Google maps is accurate, so do not be confused by the unassuming entrance. There is a small signboard too, that should help identify the place.
Footwear is to be left outside the elevated platform of the tombs, so if it’s mid-day when you reach a pair of socks should be useful in summers as the stones get quite warm.
You would ideally need about 45 to 60 minutes to soak in this place, photographers and architecture students may need more based on their levels of interest.