Junagadh was ruled by the Muslim Babi dynasty, established in 1735 by Sher Khan Babi. It became a British Protectorate in 1807.
There was a dispute over the kingdom’s accession to India as the Nawab Mahabat Khanji III wanted to join Pakistan despite having no common boundary with it.
Under pressure from the Indian government and threat of military action by Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the Nawab fled to Pakistan and Junagadh was integrated into the Indian state in November 1947.
However, if you are a heritage lover like me the chances are that the minute you hear the name of Junagadh you connect it immediately to the magnificent Mahabat Khan maqbara or mausoleum.
The above photograph from the Curzon Collection: ‘Presented with feelings of friendship and sincere admiration to Lord Curzon of Kedleston, Viceroy and Governor-General of India, by H.H. Rasulkhanji, Navab Junagadha. 1900’, of the Mahabat Mukbara at Junagadh, Gujarat, taken by the Solankee Studio, in c.1900.
With its distinctive onion domes and finely carved facade it is the mausoleum of the Nawab Mahabat Khanji II (ruled 1851-1882).
I have seen many tombs all over India but this is the most uniquely designed of them all. It is a curious blend of European Gothic, Islamic and Indian architecture.
The construction of this maqbara was started in 1878 by Mahabat Khanji himself in 1878 and completed after his death by his successor Bahadur Khanji in 1892.
Onion domes, blend with French windows and carvings.
The door to the tomb is locked and through the thick iron link doorway I could see the dilapidated state of the graves and wooden door to the main grave chamber
I don’t know who has the keys but the pigeon droppings and general state of neglect shows that nobody has been here for ages.
I am always saddened and frustrated by neglect of heritage. And when it is of something so unique it’s even worse.
It’s a very popular location for pre-wedding shoots and I suppose at least someone cares for its looks even if it’s as a romantic background.
The maqbara stands right in the Centre of the town very close to the railway statio. Next to it us the accompanying mausoleum of the Wazir or Prime Minister Bahaudiin Bhai HasanBhai