Paigah Tombs, also called as Maqhbara Shams al-Umara, are one of the most renowned and historic tombs, located in old city of Hyderabad. The necropolis is located about 4 km to the southeast of Charminar, at Pisal banda near Santosh Nagar.
It belongs to the nobility of Paigah family, who were considered the fierce loyalists of the Nizams. They were also well-known philanthropists and generals who worked with the Nizam. These tombs are a major wonder of Hyderabad city, known for architectural excellence. These tombs are made out of lime and mortar with beautiful inlaid marble carvings. Paigah tombs are 200-year old, final resting places of several generations of the Paigah Nobles.
The noble families of Paigah, were highly influential and powerful families of Hyderabad’s aristocracy during the 18th century. The Paigahs, also considered as great patrons of arts are known for their inimitable elegance seen in the exquisite tombs. Their family background, great services to the Nizams and matrimonial alliances with Nizams made Paigahs, the highest-ranking nobles next to the Nizams. They were instrumental in building Asman Jahi Palace, Vicar-ul-Umarahi palace and Khursheed Jahi Palace.
The Paigah tombs represent delicate works of art in the style of Mughals. The overall area of the tombs is about 35 to 40 acres, while the tombs of the Paigahs who were married to the daughters of the Nizams are located in a two-acre site. The delicate and polished stucco work as well as Jali is highly artistic. Paigah Tombs combines Mughal and Moorish styles which lead to a unique synthesis. It is believed that the Paigah nobles preferred their graves with no roof, based on simple tenets of Islam. The surrounding walls have latticed panels, accompanied by geometrical and floral designs. The crypts, which are made of lime and mortar, features intricate marble inlay work, which are reminiscent of the Seville in Spain.
These tombs represent various styles like Mughal, Greek, Persian, Asaf Jahi, Deccani and Rajasthani styles of architecture. The geometrical designs of these tombs are unique, which are perforated with great craftsmanship. The remarkable artistry and exquisite inlaid mosaic work, along with geometrical patterns of these tombs are unique and one-of-its-kind in the world. The floral designs, canopies and trellis marble fencing and are quite intricate and beautiful. Among these tombs, those belonging to Asman Jah and Begum Khurshid Jah attracts maximum number of tourists as they are made of marble and are adorned with many precious and semi-precious stones that changes colors based on seasons. Overall, the tombs are nothing but sheer magnificence.
The highlight about this structure is that these designs are non-repetitive. Every part of these tombs is uniquely different with stunning variations in the carvings, which can be simply described as treasure house with intricately designed lattice work. The brilliantly carved wooden doors and window screens are made in jaali i.e. perforated work. Visitors entering the compound instantly witness an era where beauty and craftsmanship blend hand in hand. The sublime beauty of these tombs continues to enchant many over the years. The mausoleum represents exemplary craftsmanship with skillfully carved canopies along with marble inlaid floral designs.