Travelling the Annals of History
As a matter of fact the plan was for a forest within a gorge but it got changed to this 3 state on road travel. Once in my school days I got a feeling the only subject I may ever fail is history. I got poor marks too that year. Strangely enough in recent years I have a real interest in history itself. That is not conventional ones written in text books but real history of real life attracts me. Above all the mosque at Gour and Adina at Malda wasn’t enough. The place Siraoujdullah the last emperor of Bengal got caught for the British ie Rajmahal was already on my plate. Neither could Vikramshila in Bihar the seat of Vajrayana Buddhism , the mixing pot of Tantrisism (Sakta) with Buddhism escape my thought.
To Malda and around
Malda Hotel stay
Our journey began by Gour express to Malda. The train reached about an hour late. We were waiting in the station for a friend to receive us and take us to hotel. Upon reaching the lodge my wife was not feeling well. And we were in a fix whether to postpone the days tour in and around Malda. After some rest and a somewhat breakfast from a roadside shop at central bust and we decided for the tour. Again the painstaking efforts of my wife to bear with my quest for the unseen paid off.
To Pandua Adina and back
An ASI site, a Hindu structure converted to an Islamic one by the Muslim son of a Hindu ruler. Jallaluddin Mohammed Shah or Jadu the son of king Ganesh. Mausoleum has 3 tombs of Jallaluddin, his son and wife inside and inside walls bear floral patterns of Hindu faith. In fact 1 lakh rupees was spend it building it and hence the name.
It is the oldest identified brick structure in West Bengal demonstrating Bengali art on Mughal architecture. It also had glazed tiles once.
Qutub Shahi Mosque or Sona Masjid or Golden Mosque
Also an ASI site but without any proper car road. I reached there by a back left walk way. Residences almost coverup the approach road from all around.
It’s a double aisled mosque with ten tombs and corner turrets erected in honour of Saint Qutub ul alam by Makhdoom Sheikh. It was called golden because of its earlier gilded wall surface and crowns of the turrets.
Adina or Jame Masjid
After that we travelled to Adina a big mosque in ruins. They used architectural remains of earlier structures in the construction. This is evident from non Islamic Hindu and Buddhist inscriptions. After long we used the toilet complex to great relief.
Most of the dome roofs had come down but yet what remains is huge. It comprises of a large open rectangular courtyard surrounded by arched and domed bays. And built by Sultan Sikandar Shah it is the largest Islamic structure in Bengal. We climbed a wooden platform to see the arches with engravings of Manasha and Gorur.
At north we have the Badshah ka takht in ruins being infested with bee hives. There are bullet marks bearing testimony to communal frenzy in post independence days. Also we saw the initial entrance for the kings elephants. At western wall there is a place where Sikandar Shah was buried.
In due time we had our lunch at the Maldah district Pathasathi at Narayanpur. After lunch we travelled to the Gour side. We collected our friend from Malda enroute.
To Gour and back
Radha Kanta Jiu or Chaitanya Charan Temple, Chamketi
Sri Chaitanya had once made this place his temporary abode. 2 Tamal (Cinnamonum tamala or Indian Bay Leaf or Tejpata) trees and 2 Kadamba (Neolomarcia cadamba or Burn Flower) trees were there. People say Sri Chaitanya meditated underneath them. This prompted the construction of temples.
Barduari or Barasona or Great Golden Mosque
Another big mosque within the fortifications of Gour built by Sultan Nusrat Shah . Called Barduari as building with twelve doors but only 11 openings. The corridor has a dome. But the 3 aisles hall do not have domes now . Though the earlier guilding of these domes gave the name Barasona.
On the north are remains of the ladies gallery. On southeast was a platform used by Mujjains for calling the faithful to prayer. Of 3 arched gateway only the Easton survives to some glory.
Dakhil or Salami Darwaja or Gate
Burbak Shah made this main northern entrance of the erstwhile fort of Gour .
It is also called Salami Darwaza. Peoples fired salutes from here upon arrival of royals to Gour.
Firoz Minar or Tower
We travelled to the ASI location opposite to a huge pond. Saifuddin Firoz built this 73 step spiral stair cased tower . Definitely he was an Abyssinian who later became the Sultan murdering Burbak Shah.
Bais Gazi Wall
A long and wide wall with a great height. Once horses used to run over this wall.
Jahazghata an old harbour
A new discovery I didn’t ever notice on my earlier visits to Malda. Vibrant proof that Ganges flew by the very side of Gour fort once. Later the river meandered away.
Ballal Sen Bati
Also a recent discovery in last half decade. A Buddhist structure amidst the Islamic fort of Gour. Reminded me again nothing is immortal neither the kings splendor, men, palaces nor the religious beliefs prevailing in a habitation.
Qadam Rasul Mosque
Its a single domed structure with ornamented bricks. Initially stone imprint of prophet Hazrat Muhammad’s feet used to rest here. In front there is a rest house in ruins.
Fath Khan’s Tomb
It’s the tomb of Fath Khan son of Dilwar Khan Aurangzeb’s general. Aurangzeb sent him to kill Saint Shah Niamatullah on belief he had advised Shah Suza to revolt. But he died vomiting upon arrival here.
Chika or Chamkan Mosque
It has carved stones from a Hindu temple. Called a mosque but probably a Mausoleum. Emperor Hussain Shah used it as a prison. Chika mosque is the peoples naming as it was infested by bats.
Eastern gate of the citadel of Gour built by Sultan Ala-ud-din Hussain Shah in 1952 AD. It is a small gate used to enter the fort of Gour from the east. It stands at present as a brick structure not very well cared for. However the brick enamels still remaining point to its erstwhile beauty and grandeur. Pictured an eagle at the outside (backside) of this gate.
Sultan Nais-ud-din Mahumud Shah created it between 1442 AD to 1459 AD is the other belief. A label found in Niamatullah compound supports the Hussain Shah theory.
To Hotel and what we missed
The Malda tour was good but yet incomplete because of time. I missed few sites and seeing the border areas to Bangladesh that is the Mahadipur Land port.
We missed the Tanti Para Mosque, Gun manta Mosque , Lotan Mosque in Malda, West Bengal.
The 4 historical sites just across the border was also missed. They are Choto Sona Mosque , Darash Bari Mosque, Khan Dighi Mosque and Taha khana Complex at Shahabazpur, Bangladesh.
We returned to hotel after a vegetarian dinner at the friends home. The lodge stay was unpleasant but we choose to ignore. As we were dam tired we slept well at night.
Further more our travel diary continues to Part 2. On expectation of meeting you there
for ardent reading
A Wondrous Wanderer