There are many intricately designed geometric Jali or Jaali patterns all over the place. These are not just unique, but also a demonstration of excellence in the craftsmanship of the artists. The range of architecture varies from Mughal to Persian to Rajasthani to Turkish to Greek to Deccani influence.
Jali Patterns Work
To me, a fascinating aspect of these tombs is their Jali work with their intricate geometrical designs. You can walk around the whole place and only in very 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.
Heritage Stucco Work Designs
There is Stucco work you can study and admire for hours. There are embellishments on the walls. You can see varieties of flowers, fruits, and vines.
Stucco material is made of construction materials, binder, and water. Applied wet it hardens to a very dense solid. Used as a sculptural and artistic material in the architecture of those times. Rarely found in India. The composition consisted of Lime, Sand, and fibers for strength. Applied over masonry, Stucco was a durable, attractive, and weather-resistant work for wall covering and Sculptural/Jali designs that enabled artistic designs.
There are carvings in marble and Jade. Beautiful wooden doors with Jali work and some with very interesting designs.
Creative Jali Patterns
Each one of the decorative Jali, if seen intensely can be visualized into multiple designs & patterns. They are spellbinding to watch and one can imagine the possible patterns.
Sixteen of them have been presented here as photo collages. But there are so many more to spend enough time admiring the artisanship, patronaged by the Paigah’s over the late 18th century.
If you like art, this place deserves to be on your itinerary during the Hyderabad visit. One can easily spend a couple of hours admiring several such wonderful artworks. Particularly in this era of declining interest, and patronage for arts and crafts.
Paigah Tombs, Family tombs of Paigah’s of Hyderabad
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.
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 Stucco work 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 parts falling off every day. I did not expect a guide and the internet is 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 us 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
The 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. Only one tomb has inlay work with colorful Meena on it.
Nawab Taig Jung Bahadur
The 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.
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 toilets all over it, a complete eyesore.
The Paigah’s built the famous Falaknuma Palace Hyderabad now a Taj Hotel in Hyderabad. They gave the Falaknuma Palace to the Nizam. And subsequently built what is called Paigah Palace in Begumpet. It is now the Consulate General of the US in Hyderabad. They ranked next only to the ruling Nizams of Hyderabad in those times.
I wish and hope that someone will take care of the maintenance of this delicate and precious piece of heritage.
Recommend you read the following travel blog on places to visit in Hyderabad.
Walk from Charminar to Chowmahalla
Mythology Museum at Surendrapuri
Crazy, Whacky – Sudha Car Museum