Location : Central India
Language : Hindi, Urdu
Know About Burhanpur
About five hour’s drive from Indore is Burhanpur town towards the south of Madhya Pradesh. The town was established as far back as 1406-7 by Badshah Nasiruddin Faroqui as part of his kingdom, Khandesh. All throughout history this town, especially the nearby fort Asirgarh, remained important strategically, being the last bastion before the Deccan.
In 1536 A.D., the Mughal Emperor Humayun, after his conquest of Gujarat, had visited Burhanpur and Asirgarh via Baroda, Broach (Bharuch) & Surat. Raja Ali Khan (1576-1596 A.D.), also known as Adil Shah, was asked to submit to Akbar, when the latter had sent an expedition to Khandesh, in the summer of 1577 A.D.
Bahadur Khan (1596-1600 A.D.) successor of Raja Ali Khan declared his independence & refused to pay homage to Akbar & his son Prince Daniyal, which enraged Akbar, who marched towards Burhanpur in 1599 and occupied the City without any opposition on 8th April 1600 A.D. Akbar paid a visit to Asirgarh, so as to inspect it personally, where he stayed for 4 days before returning to his Head Quarter at Burhanpur.
Shahi Jama Masjid
Masjid in Burhanpur One of the many mosques built here by the rulers of the Faroqui dynasty. The story goes that at one time, most of the population of Burhanpur lived to the North. So in 1421 Azam Humayun, one of Faroquis, built a mosque here in Etwara for his queen Ruqiaya called Bibi Ki Masjid, the very first Jama Masjid of this place.
Now Jama Masjids are usually built in the most populace parts of the towns, where everybody can have easy access to them. Ideally there should be only one Jama Masjid in every town.
Another Jama Masjid- Constructed In The Center of The Town
However as the city grew and the people spread everywhere, they came to realize the impossibility of reaching a mosque at one end of the city. They needn't have worried.
The ruler Adil Shah Faroqui solved the whole problem by simply building another Jama Masjid in the heart of the city. It built so that people from all over the city could reach it conveniently for the prayers.
The Interior Layout of The Mosque
The mosque is modeled on the Jama Masjid in Delhi. The entrance is toward the east and the doors here date from the time of Jahangir. Originally these doors were 12 foot tall, which, some felt, was a bit of a tight fit for the mosque.
In 1898 the Begum of Bhopal Sikander Jahan Sahiba on way to Bombay stopped here for a brief stay and saw the mosque. She got another gateway built here, a little ahead of the original doors – this time 24 feet high, stone, with delicate carvings.
Minars (Tower) of Mosque
The identical minars (tower) of the mosque are quite a feature. At about 130 feet tall they loom all over the mosque. You can climb up right to the top by the spiral stairways.
These minars are believed to be much taller than those of the Jama Masjid in Delhi. The view from up there is literally something else – especially if you have a problem of vertigo.
Set in the Satpura Hills at the altitude of 750m, about 20 km from Burhanpur is the once-important fortress of Asirgarh.
Unfortunately, it's mostly ruins now and there's nothing much left of its colourful and glorious past. In better days it used to be called Baab-e-dakhan (the doorway to Deccan) a much sought-after prize back then.
Myth Associated With The Fort
As far as this fort is concerned, myth associates it with the with the son of the legendary Guru of Mahabharata Dronacharya, Asawathama – at best a minor character in the epic and even then this is most probably mere wishful thinking. Interestingly, in Burhanpur, near the Gupteshwar Mandir is a tunnel, which links to Asirgarh.
Tradition has it that during auspicious occasions Aswathama used to come to here to bathe in the Tapti river, pray in the temple and then disappear back to his fortress.
Shahi QilaThe Successive Conquering of The Fort
After a lot of confusion the ownership of the fort becomes settled when it came into the hands of Adil Shah Farouqui. After him the fort passed on to his successor Bahadur Shah Faroqui. This Bahadur Shah had a reputation of not being a very farsighted king.
Finally Akbar Captured The Fort
Then Akbar showered gold and silver on Bahadur Shah's generals and won his way through to the fort. Finally on January 17, 1609 Akbar became the lord of the Asirgarh fort. Since then the fort remained in the able hands of the Mughals; till there were Mughals of course.
On the eastern side of the Tapti River is the Shahi Qila. However, not much of it remains today.
At one time Shah Jahan, when he was the governor of Burhanpur, had lived in this palace. and he loved the place so much that after ascending the throne he established a court here for first three years.
The Shahi Hammam is situated bang next to the Qila. Surprisingly it is quite intact. It has three rooms and assorted baths which are in good shape. The eight-faceted hauz in the middle is quite a work of art.
The Ahukhana was the hunting lodge of the Faroqui kings. In 1609 AD, when Akbar took over the fort he stationed Prince Daniyel here, who was very fond of hunting. Daniyel did a lot of beautifying around the Ahukhana, adding the hauz, gardens and so on.
There's also a garden here which is associated with Shah Jahan's daughter Alamara, called Bagh-I-Alamara. The Ahukhana is in quite good shape.
Mirza Raja Jaisingh Ki Chattri
About 5km from Burhanpur, at the meeting spot of the river Tapti and Mohana is this cenotaph. This charming little edifice has pretty gumbazs (round roofs) and 32 decorated pillars. It is dedicate dto Kachawaha king Raja Jaisingh.
This resting house (sarai) was built by Abdul Rahim Khan Khana was appointed as the subedar of Khandesh by the Mughals. During the time of Jahangir, an ambassador of the English King James I, Sir Thomas Roe had come to India, he was put up in this sarai. The main door of the sarai is about 90 feet tall and is built of black stone. There are about 400 rooms in thos place which are in quite good shape.
21km from Burhanpur, this palace is on the Amravati road. When Shah Jahan was the governor of this area he had fell in love with a danseuse called Gulara. and he did not stop at that, he married her and set her up in this palace, hence the name. The Mahal Gulara is actually two palaces joined by a charming pathway. The palace is in fragile condition and is under ASI's protection which keeps repairing it from time to time.
Bibi ki Masjid
This is the mosque mentioned earlier in the Shahi Mosque. It is skillfully decorated all over by Persian and Arabic calligraphy. There were two towers in the mosques, one of which have collapsed.
Begam Shahshuja's cenotaph
When the Mughals established their control in this area, lots of Mughal princes and of course their queens started frequenting the Burhanpur.
During Shah Jahan's reign, one of his queens Shah Shuja came visitng this place, while the king was in Kashmir. She died here in childbirth; quite a déjà vu for Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan got this built in her memory. The cenotaph is built on a 5-foot high platform. The artistic carvings on the cenotaph are still visible. Near the cenotaph is a small mosque called the Kanati Masjid.
How to Reach
Burhanpur is on the NH3. The best thing to do to get here is to hire a car in Indore and drive down the Barhawa-Omkareshwar-Khandwa route. There are also frequent state transport buses from Indore which come here. Alternatively you could come to the nearest town Khandwa and drive down for a day's trip.
One can reach Burhanpur by taking any of the following modes of transport. However it is considerably convenient to come to Burhanpur via Indore. You can reach Indore
Airport at Indore has flights to all the major cities in India.
Indore is connected to Mumbai and Delhi through extensive and frequent express trains.
Bus services from Bhopal and Ujjain is available upto Indore.
Since Burhanpur is situated on the National Highway, it will be best to drive down from Indore in a bus or a hired car or taxi. The nearest town is Khandwa.