The most exquisite of Burhanpur’s architectural treasures are its frescoes. While the hammam inside the Shahi Palace was built in 1612, the paintings were commissioned for Mumtaz Mahal after Shah Jahan became the Mughal emperor. He also got a tomb built for his son Shah Shuja’s wife Begum Bilqis Banu, which was called Kharbuja Mahal after its melon-shaped dome. Being under constant lock and key in a remote location has ensured that its magnificent frescos remain in an excellent state of preservation. Keep a torch handy to admire the painted details in the dark nooks and crannies of Burhanpur’s monuments.

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Abhinandita Mathur
1. Begum Shah Shuja ka maqbara, the tomb of Shah Shuja’s wife Bilkis Jahan, is suffused with lovely frescoes
1. Begum Shah Shuja ka maqbara, the tomb of Shah Shuja’s wife Bilkis Jahan, is suffused with lovely frescoes
Abhinandita Mathur
2. The paintings were done on wet plaster using natural pigments like earth, stone, leaves, seeds and fruits
2. The paintings were done on wet plaster using natural pigments like earth, stone, leaves, seeds and fruits


Abhinandita Mathur
3. Typical Mughal frescoes depict exquisite motifs inspired by flowers, guldaan (flowerpots), multi-pointed stars, jaali, arches, besides kaleidoscopic patterns, some of which find resonance in the Taj Mahal
3. Typical Mughal frescoes depict exquisite motifs inspired by flowers, guldaan (flowerpots), multi-pointed stars, jaali, arches, besides kaleidoscopic patterns, some of which find resonance in the Taj Mahal
Abhinandita Mathur
4. The technique of creating frescoes was quite elaborate—colours were painted in layers and scratched to reveal intricate multi-hued designs
4. The technique of creating frescoes was quite elaborate—colours were painted in layers and scratched to reveal intricate multi-hued designs
Abhinandita Mathur
Every inch of space on the interior walls of the tomb bears delicate designs
Every inch of space on the interior walls of the tomb bears delicate designs
Abhinandita Mathur
6. One can gaze at the intricate details painted under the domes, ceiling, and niches, for hours.
6. One can gaze at the intricate details painted under the domes, ceiling, and niches, for hours.
Abhinandita Mathur
7. Vibrant reds, ochres and greens are offset by floral patterns in white.
Vibrant reds, ochres and greens are offset by floral patterns in white.