May 31, 2013

Mah Laqa's Tomb

Talking about restored monuments, there's another one I visited more than 2 years ago, but never blogged about. The tomb of Mah Laqa Chanda, poetess, courtesan, thinker, dancer and so much more. Born as Chanda Bibi, she was the adopted daughter of her older sister and her husband Nawab Ruknudowla, prime minister to the second Nizam of Hyderabad. Her parents ensured that she had the best possible education and she received classes in music, poetry, horse-riding and archery. The Nizam doted on her too, and she rode and fought in three battles with his army. One of these was the Battle of Pangal, and when the army retrurned victorious, the Nizam conferred the title Mah Laqa (visage of the moon) on her. Having started reciting, singing and dancing in his court at a very young age, she went on to become a very powerful woman in the second and third Nizams' courts. She died in 1824 and was buried in a tomb she had built for herself, at the foot of the Moula Ali hill, beside the grave of her mother.

Tomb of Mah Laqa Chanda
Built in a fusion of Mughal and Rajasthani styles, the tomb lay dilapidated and neglected until 2011, when it underwent a restoration funded by the US Ambassador's fund for cultural preservation and was thrown open to public. The restoration project was led by the Center for Deccan Studies and the Muslim Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (MESCO) and executed by Heritage Conservation Initiative Consultants (HCIC).

This grave and the one right behind it are those of Mah Laqa and her mother
Pillars + Sunshine = Happiness!
Since we went just about a couple of days after the monument was restored and inaugurated, the place didn't have too much of an old world vibe, especially with the smell of fresh paint and the barren land around the tomb. But 2 years have passed now, and I am sure things have changed. Mah Laqa's tomb is definitely worth a visit if you are looking for a nice drive on a weekend (unless you live very close to the tomb haha). While you're there, don't miss the iconic Moula Ali hill nearby.

Reference: Rare Visage of the Moon, Bilkees Latif


  1. wow phenomenal... 1- i didn't know there were woman of "power" even in India especially historically. (i know there were a FEW others, but the word few speaks for itself). 2- its gorgeous and a part of history although looking new... still such a fabulous sight and site! :-P 3- you always uncover such amazing bits of history!

  2. you blog is always a source of some historical knowledge for me... i think one day it will be an impulse for me to visit hyderabad and see all the places first hand that you describe so eloquently in your blog... and i was wondering if this lady was the same as Chaand Bibi who fought against the English... ???

  3. Anonymous9:58 AM

    Stumbled on this blog, addicted since then. Thanks for sharing so much information, beautiful photographs. May I know the camera/lenses currently you are using for landscapes (and others).