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Mahabat Maqbara, Junagadh

Junagadh is one of the many well-known places in Gujarat. At one time, Junagadh was a princely state ruled by the Muslim Babi dynasty until it got integrated into India in 1948. Muhammad Sher Khan Babi was the founder of the Babi Dynasty of Junagadh State dynasty. His descendants, the Babi Nawabs of Junagadh, conquered large territories in southern Saurashtra. Mohammad Sher Khan Babi, a Babi or Babai (Pashtun tribe) Pathan who owed allegiance to the Mughal governor of Gujarat subah, founded the state of Junagadh and declared independence in 1730 after the Maratha invasion. Junagadh remained a tributary to the Maratha Empire, until it came under British suzerainty in 1807, following the Second Anglo-Maratha War.

In 1807, the Junagadh State became a British protectorate and The East India Company took control of the state. By 1818, the Saurashtra area, along with other princely states of Kathiawar, were separately administrated under Kathiawar Agency by British India.

In 1947, upon the independence and partition of India, the last Babi dynasty ruler of the state, Mohammad Mahabat Khanji III, decided to merge it into the newly formed Pakistan. However, the Hindu citizens, who formed the majority of the population, revolted, leading to several events and also a plebiscite, resulting in the integration of Junagadh in to India.

One of the famous monuments in Junagadh is the Mahabat Maqbara, located close to the sacred Girnar hills. It is the mausoleum of Bahaduddinbhai Hasainbhai, and is an architectural beauty with splendid arches, domes and minarets, and beautifully carved silver doors. Junagadh also has other 18th century mausoleums built by the Nawabs in the area around Chitkana Chowk. Started in 1878 by Mahabat Khanji and completed in 1892 by his successor, Bahadur Khanji, the Mahabat Maqbara houses the tombs of Mahabat Khanji and Bahauddin Maqbara of Bahaduddinbhai Hasainbhai, vizir of Nawab Rasul Khanji. Standing over the grave of Nawab Mahabat Khan II, the tomb is a mixture of Islamic, Hindu and European influences, typical of Junagadh’s royal monuments from the late 19th century.

The Mahabat Maqbara is a good example of a fusion of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture and Gothic architecture. The Jammi masjid is located on one side of the maqbara, while the Vazir’s maqbara is on the other side. The maqbara is generally closed to the public, but it can be seen by obtaining the keys from the mosque beside the mausoleum.









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