These twin mausoleums in Lucknow are a royal tribute to a father by his son!
In the heart of Lucknow, near the Begum Hazrat Mahal Park, Qaiser Bagh, stand the twin tombs of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan and his beloved wife, Khurshid Zadi. Two of the most historic ancient-day 'skyscrapers', these towering mausoleums were constructed in the early 18th-century and even today, the dual tombs are nothing less than visually appealing! Read on to take a virtual tour of this locale.
Marriage of Indo-Islamic styles & Nawabi-era architecture
The structure of the twin tombs present a classical tradition of the Indo-Islamic style and are fine examples of Nawabi-era architecture. The belfries and the main dome is crowned with a graceful ornate spire, which leave your eyes in wonder. The floors of the tomb are covered with black and white marble, which is rather rare, as marbles were scarce in this part of the country.
Both the tombs are made of lakhauri bricks, lime mortar and plaster to give the fine edge and the main tomb has five floors, which include the basement (tehkhaana). The walls of the facade have magnificent stucco work and the mausoleum is decked with a hemispherical dome, channelled with a narrow regular moulding.
Vaulted with open verandas, the southern and eastern sides of the building are housed by the graves of the daughters and wives of the Nawab. The twin tombs are grand and visiting them will be a delightful experience for history buffs! Both the tombs, along with Begum Hazrat Mahal Park, are popular tourist attractions of Qaiser Bagh. They are known for their intricate architecture and the lush green garden surrounding them, which makes for the perfect backdrop for pictures.
The twin towers were fortified by the Indian soldiers during the India Rebellion of 1857, and cannons were hauled at the terrace of the mausoleums. In 1858, sixteen soldiers of Sir Henry Havelock were brutally shot dead in the maqbara while they were proceeding towards Residency. A piece of land between the mausoleums was granted for the graves of these soldiers.
Saadat Ali Khan Tomb, a memorial for a loving father
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Many historic monuments were constructed during Saadat Ali Khan's reign (1794-1814 AD) between Qaiser Bagh and Dilkhusha. Regardless of so many establishments, he wisely utilized the state treasury. After the death of his favourite wife, Khurshid Zadi, the Nawab started building her tomb but died before the construction was completed.
After the death of the Nawab in July 1814, he was buried at his 7th son, Ghaziuddin Haider's resident in Qaiser Bagh. His son then moved to Chattar Manzil Palace, where the Nawab lived, and ruled from. Later, Haider demolished his residence and got the Saadat Ali Khan Tomb constructed, to gift a grand edifice to his beloved father. He also concluded the impending construction of his mother's tomb which was started by the Nawab, 10 years prior.
It is quite easy to overlook this enormous memorial amidst other heritages in the city. However, it is upon visiting, one will realize what they were missing on. Although these structures could use some restoration, both monuments are in good shape for visitors to visit during the day.