This story is not a myth but a forgotten history says Quamaruddin Falak, a historian. It dates back to the times when Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana, one of Akhbars navratnas, ruled Burhanpur in the 16th century. At that time, the region had suffered a severe drought. Rahim had got a reservoir constructed at the top of a hill. Water was later brought to the city from this reservoir.
The sixteenth century reservoir still exists.
It is fabled that the Tota and Maina played a crucial role in getting water to the city. These two birds belonged to a seer called Hazrat Shah Mustaqbil. It was said that whoever went to the seer seeking water never returned empty-handed. Hence, Rahim went to him hoping for relief from the drought.
The seer said he would set his birds free and they would guide him to water. He did so. The birds flew to a hill and sat on a stone which suddenly caved in to reveal a hollow, full of water as related by Quamaruddin Falak, the historian. But the birds were nowhere to be found.
Later, they were found dead, next to each other.
When the dead birds were brought to the seer, he said that they preferred dying together rather than living in separate cages.
This impressed Rahim and he paid his respects by getting their graves built next to each another. According to Quamaruddin Falak, this is a fact which is recorded in books, including one written by Sir Thomas Roe, a British ambassador who visited Burhanpur.
Graves of 16 Century Tota-Maina-in Burhanpur-Built by Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana