(Last Updated on : 27/08/2013)
Emperor Aurangzeb had alighted upon the Mughal Empire, during which the dynasty was already into a phase of major transition, which was forever crystalised by the said emperor himself. Shah Jahan had set the balls rolling for a gigantic empire to be extended further and further, which was materialistically lapped up literally by Aurangzeb, to subjugate the Deccan and south India under the Mughal realm. All the same, under Aurangzeb and his successors the framework of earlier architectural patronage was incredibly metamorphosed. That is, under the earlier Mughals, the emperor was the model patron. The nobility generally regarded the type of structures he built and the styles he favoured as the ideal to emulate. Under Aurangzeb and especially under his successors, that changed. There was no dynamic imperial patron, so the nobility and other classes built independently of strong central direction, often employing styles and motifs that still echoed those established in Shah Jahan's reign. Operating thus under the shadow of Shah Jahan or Akbar, Aurangzeb was bogged with the cumbersome and highly expected task to upheld his prestigious predecessors, which the emperor had consciously avoided. His architectural works themselves proves a point, beginning with Bibi-ka-Maqbara and ending in his own tomb. Indeed, the tomb of Aurangzeb by the humble town of Khuldabad, Aurangabad, deserves significance as an unlike structure. Aurangzeb's tomb as a self-creation bears considerable history, related to the once-erected mosques or tombs during Aurangzeb's prime of life.
Just before he had breathed his last, Aurangzeb had ordered the construction of his tomb at the dargah of Shaikh Burhan ud-Din in Khuldabad, standing for the 'Abode of Eternity', not far from Aurangabad and the Ellora Caves. This area long had been the burial site of esteemed saints, as well as some Deccani and Mughal princes. The emperor's open-air grave, in accordance with his final wishes, was marked by a simple stone cenotaph, although in the early 20th century it was faced with white marble. The top was filled with earth so plants might grow.
Throughout his life Aurangzeb was concerned about the maintenance of royal tombs, foreshadowing the interest in his own.