Nestled in a labyrinth of houses of a quiet neighborhood away from the bustling Charminar are the beautiful tombs of Paigah. These tombs that give a feel of being desolate don’t easily fall on the radar of Hyderabad tourist places. Though the structures not as massive as the Qutub Shahi tombs the work of art and sculpture at the Paigah tombs are unparalleled in term of its fine craftsmanship.
The noble families of Paigah were the most influential and powerful families considered next only to Nizams. The founder of Paigah clan was Abdul Fateh Khan Tegh Jung who served the second Nizam, Salabat Jang, during the 18th century on the highest position of Commander in Chief. Paigah nobles were ardent loyalists of the Nizams and have served them for generations. The daughters of Paigah were married to Nizams and had the right to maintain their own court.
Best Places to Visit in Hyderabad the Paigah Tombs
After visiting the Purani Haveli we hired a taxi which maneuvered through a maze of narrow alleys to the Paigah tombs. We walked in through a massive whitewashed double-storeyed gateway structure into the tomb complex. On both side of the paved path were tombs scattered in an arched compound open to the sky. The place around looked deserted with no one around, no tourists or even a local.
Chhavi was sleeping and the sun was scorching hot. We clicked some pictures of the structures and were wondering which way to proceed next when we heard a voice. An old man waved and ushered us towards him into the shade of the building. The old man introduced himself as the caretaker of the Paigah tomb complex. The caretaker was keen on walking us through the place guiding us through each of the mausoleums taking pride in showing us the details of the architectural masterpiece. He even showed us different vantage points to get best shots of the remarkable artwork at the tombs complex.
The Paigahs are said to be great patrons of art and architecture which is very well evident from the tombs. The 200 years old Paigah Tombs also known as the Maqhbara Shams al-Umara are a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture featuring different architectural styles from Mughal, Persian, Rajasthani, and Deccan architecture. Each of the mausoleums built of lime and mortar is decorated in a style different from the other incorporating an array of designs and artwork on inlaid marble carvings. The marvelous artwork at the tombs is a wonder to behold which makes it a must-visit place on a Hyderabad tour.
The tombs are enclosed in walls embellished with rich stucco work and elegantly designed motifs. Some of the tombs have carved marble canopy while others are open to the sky. The screens used in the walls and to separate two tomb enclosures have intricately designed latticework in meticulously designed patterns.
The first tomb of the complex is that of the founder Abdul Fateh Khan Tegh Jung who was laid to rest here in 1786. The tomb architecture is resplendent with impressive latticework with a canopy of rich silk material. This location came to be known as Paigah tombs was later the resting place for other family members and generations of Paigah nobles. The tomb of Abdul Fateh Khan Tegh Jung is observed with great reverence and for the same reason, we refrained from clicking its pictures.
The pillars, arches and the railings surrounding the tombs are gracefully designed for aesthetic appeal. The names of the Paigah families are engraved on the epitaphs and the canopies of the tombs.
The architrave above the doors has elaborate intricate designs as well with lattice work on wooden doors and the window sections.
The most breathtaking part of the tomb art is the latticework. The latticework or the ‘Jali’ work have been used in numerous places like railings, fences, and screens. The latticework has unique designs of in geometrical and floral patterns. Some of the tombs also have colorful inlaid mosaic work in elaborate patterns.
The roof of the building is yet another sight for exemplary artwork. While the balustrades have complex designs of floral and vines similar to the interior the roofs are dotted with interesting pineapple shaped stucco work which is unique and unusual but marvelous to behold.
There is a mosque at one end of the complex beyond a huge tank. The mosque with two minarets is said to be as old as the tomb complex.
We were awestruck with the sublime artwork at the beautiful tombs of Paigah but were a bit disappointed with the conservation work. Though the complex was very cleanly maintained the lattice work was broken at several places and the plaster of pillars had fallen off which made us wonder if the heritage would be passed onto our next generation to marvel at. Paigah tombs definitely make to the top of the Hyderabad points of interest and are one of the unmissable tourist places in Hyderabad City. The tombs are open on all days except on Fridays from 10 am to 5 pm.
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