Some Facts of History-2

1. Where is the grave of Muhgal General Mahabat Khan aka Zamana Beg?

Prominent Mughal general and statesman, known for his coup against the Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1626. “Following his unsuccessful coup, Mahabat Khan fled to the Deccan.

There, Prince Khurram convinced him to surrender himself to Jahangir. However, with the death of Jahangir shortly thereafter in the October 1627, Mahabat Khan was able to go unpunished.

Upon Prince Khurram’s rise to the throne as Emperor Shah Jahan, Mahabat Khan was appointed governor of Ajmer.

He was later transferred to a post in the Deccan, where he died in 1634. His body was carried back to Delhi, where he was buried on the ground of the shrine of Qadam Sharif.

Upon his death, his eldest son, Mirza Amanullah, was awarded the title ‘Khan Zaman’, while his second son, Luhrasp, was granted his late father’s title, ‘Mahabat Khan’.

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Mahabat Khan aka Zamana Beg

2. Another Anga

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The photograph of the tomb of Dai Angah in Lahore was taken by H H Cole in 1884 for the Archaeological Survey of India.

Wife of a magistrate in Bikaner in Rajasthan, Dai Angah was wet nurse to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628-57). Inscriptions give the date of construction as 1671. The single-storeyed tomb is brick built and faced in painted plaster and tile mosaics in colorful floral and geometric motifs.

Its square plan comprises a central domed chamber with eight further chambers surrounding it. There is a domed kiosk at each of the building’s four corners.

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Recent picture of Dai Anga’s tomb

3. Tea house (Red Fort)

The so-called tea house is a structure located in the Red Fort of Delhi. The tea house dates back to the late Mughal period. The structure was altered and changed throughout the course of the time, losing its original appearance.

The tea house was the first palace on the north, constructed for the princes. It was close to the imperial enclosure. It was also known as the “princes’ quarter”, because it is said that this was one of the residences of the emperor’s sons and other members of the imperial family.

After the rebellion of 1857, the occupying British forces converted the palace into a meeting and amusement hall and named it “tea house”. In his 1919 book “Monuments of Delhi: lasting splendor of the great Mughals and others”, Maulvi Zafar Hassan mentioned the structure as a pavilion.

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 Tea house (Red Fort)

4. Raisina Hills

The hillocks were flattened by blasting around Raisina Hill. This barren wilderness is where the capital of India, New Delhi, stands today.

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Raisina Hills

5. Mango-shaped scent bottle Mid-17th century- Private collection Rock crystal with rubies and emeralds set in gold

H. 1 3⁄4 × W. 2 1⁄4 × D. 1 3⁄4 in. (4.5 × 5.7 × 4.5 cm) Carved out of rock crystal with grooves cut on the surface and inlaid with gold and gemstones, this diminutive scent bottle embodies the refined aesthetic of seventeenth-century Mughal India.

Likely to have been created during the reign of Shah Jahan, this bottle is an example of the high degree of perfection Mughal artists achieved during this period. It features a network of naturalistic scrollwork of vines in gold wire, with leaves and flowers inset with precious stones and set in high relief to provide the effect of a cage enclosing the crystal.

It is missing a stopper, which was probably made of enameled gold.

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 Mango-shaped scent bottle Mid-17th century

6. Bahadur Shah II’s crown

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Bahadur Shah II’s crown

c. 1825-50 (Source: British Library) (Windsor ref: RCIN67236). Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012.

7. Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana and Burhanpur

A 16th century Tota-Maina tale. Quamaruddin Falak, a historian,claims that this story is not a myth but a forgotten history. When Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana, one of Akhbars navratnas, ruled Burhanpur in the 16th century, the region suffered a severe drought. Rahim then got a reservoir constructed on the top of a hill from where water was later brought to the city. It still exists.

But few know the role a Tota and Maina played in getting water to the city. They belonged to a seer called Hazrat Shah Mustaqbil. It was said that whoever went to the seer seeking water never returned empty-handed.

During the drought, Rahim went to him and the seer said he would set his birds free and they would guide him to water. The birds went to a hill and sat on a stone which suddenly caved in to reveal a hollow, full of water, adds Falak.

But the birds could not be found. Later, they were found dead, next to each other. When they were brought to the seer, he said that they preferred dying together than living in separate cages.

Impressed, Rahim got their graves built next to each another. Falak claims that this is a fact recorded by books, including one written by Sir Thomas Roe, a British ambassador who visited Burhanpur.

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A 16th century Tota-Maina Grave

8. Garstin’s Folly

“Garstin’s Folly”-Patna, India. This stupa like building which looks like yin – yang from air is a domed granary built in 1786 by Captain John Garstin, at the order of Warren Hastings, who later became the first Governor-General of India.

This huge granary was constructed to cater for the needs of the British army which had faced lot of difficulty due to severe draught and acute famine from 1770 to 1780. Because of its shape the structure is known as Gol Ghar (Round House). It is pillar less with a base of 125 metres, height 29 metres and a wall of thickness of 3.6 metres at the base. There is an opening at the top for filling the dome with grains. It is provided with two spiral shaped staircases on the outer shell – one for going up and other for coming down – so that the labourers going up with the grain bags are not hindered by those returning from top after emptying their load.

At the time of its construction it was the highest structure in Patna. Sometimes the best designs come to a naught because of some oversight. So was the case with this structure.

The designer failed to perceive some proper way to take out the grain from the granary. The doors at the bottom were designed to open inwards with the result that as soon as some grain was poured in the doors won’t move and it was impractical to remove the grains from the opening at top.

The structure was therefore abandoned with its doors and the hole at the top sealed and it came to be known as “Garstin’s Folly”. With passage of time it fell into decay but was later renovated and is a tourist spot now which provides a great panoramic view of the city and the river Ganges flowing nearby.

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9. Safdarjang’s Tomb

Safdarjang’s Tomb was built by an Abyssinian (Ethiopian) architect, Bilal Mohammed Khan at the cost of an exorbitant sum of Rs 3 lakhs. The tomb was built by Nawab of Awadh-Shuja-ud-Daula in 1753-54 AD for his father, Mirza Mukin Abul Mansur Khan ‘Safdarjung’.

Mirza Mukin Abul Mansur Khan was the wazir of emperor Ahmed Shah and Safdarjang was a title, which was either awarded to him by the king, or he assumed himself.

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Tomb of Safdar Jung, Delhi, by Samuel Bourne c.1858-60

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Safdarjang’s Tomb recent

10. The Bara-pula Bridge

An inscription seen on one of the arches provides evidence that the Bara-pula Bridge was constructed sometime between 1621 AD and 1622 AD by Mihr Banu Agha, who was the chief eunuch in the royal courts of Emperor Jahangir.

Measuring 14 metres wide and 195 metres long is situated just a kilometre east of Khan-Khanan’s Tomb and close to the Shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia.

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Barapula Old Image

Barapula The name ‘Bara’ which means ‘Twelve’ and ‘Pula’ which means ‘Piers’ originated from its structure which is made of twelve piers that support the bridge wherein each pier is surmounted by a tall minaret measuring 2 metres each. It is also adorned with eleven arched openings that reflect the typical architectural style of the Tughlaq Dynasty.

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Barapula Recent Image

11. Quadam Shareef

Originally, Firoz Shah Tughluq (1309 – 1388) constructed the large rectangular tomb at its core for himself, and surrounded it with massive walls and impressive gates in typical Tughlaq style.

However, when his son Fateh Khan died in 1376, he repurposed the tomb to be used for his son. Also added was a stone with a foot print of Muhammad (the founder of Islam), which Firoz Shah had brought in from Mecca.

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Dargah Qadam Sharif-Inner Tomb Complex

12. Marriage contract of the emperor Bahadur Shah II (Source British Library)

This document records the marriage of Bahadur Shah, aged 64, to the aristocratic 19-year-old Zinat Mahal. She remained his favourite wife and accompanied him in exile in 1859. It opens with the traditional Arabic formula and records that the marriage was performed legally with the consent of both parties.

The bridegroom promises a settlement of 1,500,000 rupees, one-third to be paid immediately and the rest at any time during their married life. The document includes Bahadur Shah’s signature and the seal of his oldest son, Mirza Dara Bakht Dated 23 Ramazan 1256 (18 November 1840) IO Islamic

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Marriage contract of the emperor Bahadur Shah II

Sources: British, Library Internet

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