Paigah’s that ruled Hyderabad for the Nizam and were related to them by marriage in almost all generations lie here in these tombs, quite obviously known by their family name. Given the heritage value, the monuments need to be protected. And yes, some government agencies are supposed to be taking care of them. Paigah Tombs also called Maqbara Shams-Ul-Umra, which was the other name of the family and also reflects in their insignia as Sun.
Paigah Tombs, Hyderabad
To be honest, I was not expecting much even when I was on my way to these tombs. All I expected was some tombs built in typical Indo-Islamic style. I was pleasantly surprised to see some astonishing architecture and stuccowork to see. Given the number of people who mentioned this place to me, I expected them to be well maintained. But they lie in complete neglect with some part falling off every day. I did not expect a guide and the internet being the only one to tell me something about this place. But the caretaker of the monument was one of the best guides I have met. Not just for the knowledge that he shared with us and his showing around the place, but for the passion he had for the monument.
He wanted the place to live so that the generations can see the work of the men who lie there. He is a typical loyal associate of the family and their legacy.
Paigah Monument in Hyderabad
Monument contains a mosque with a water tank in front of it. A Naqqar Khana where music must have been played, and lots of graves some of which can be called tombs for all that surrounds them. This place can be a small lesson in the architectural elements since it blends so many of them. The range of architecture varies from Mughal to Persian to Rajasthani to Turkish to Greek to Deccani. Then there is stuccowork that is all over the tombs and you can study and admire it for hours. There are carvings in marble and Jade. There are wooden doors with jaali work and some with very interesting designs. There are embellishments on walls and you can see varieties of flowers, fruits, and vines. Only one tomb has inlay work with colorful Meena on it.
Nawab Taig Jung Bahadur
First tomb that was built here was that of the founder of the dynasty, Nawab Taig Jung Bahadur by his son in 1787. The others obviously got added later. Tombs of later generations of the Paigah nobles include Abul Fatah Khan Shams-ul-Umra I, Asman Jah, Khursheed Jah, Sir Vicar-ul-Umra, and their wives and other members of the Paigah Family. The earlier tombs are more ornate than the later ones. A few of the tombs have a chaupandi or a canopy on four pillars on top of them while others lie below the open sky. A big pavilion on the left of the entrance with many plane tombs belongs to the other wives and children, probably the less prominent ones in the family.
To me, a fascinating aspect of these tombs is their Jaali work with their intricate geometrical designs. You can walk around the whole place and only at few places you may find the designs repeating. Look closely at some of the designs and you would be amazed at their brilliance. Depending on where you start looking at them, you will see a different pattern. There are flowers of all kinds, with what the caretaker called Ashoka Chakra and a whole lot of geometrical interplays.
It seems this place was used as living quarters by the people and have been recently evacuated to preserve the heritage. This is visible when you climb up the Naqqar Khana and see the tiles toilets all over it, a complete eyesore.
I wish and hope that someone will take care of the maintenance of this delicate and precious piece of heritage.
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