Home > Bengal Archeology, Bengal History, General > Tribeni, Mosque & Dargah of Jafar Khan Gazi

Tribeni, Mosque & Dargah of Jafar Khan Gazi

Tribeni, Mosque & Dargah of Jafar Khan Gazi

Hooghly, West Bengal

Triben generally refers to the confluence of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the illusive Saraswati near Allahabad. But the Hooghly district of West Bengal also houses another Tribeni, where the Bhagarati or Hooghly River disintegrates into three branches. The three branches are Hooghly, Sarswati and Jamuna (Kanchrapara Khal).

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Zafar Khan Gazi Masjid, Tribeni, Hooghly

So like the Prayag near Allabahad the Tribeni of Hooghly has also attracte pilgrims for centuries and is mentioned in ancient Bengali literature like the Mansamangal and Chandimangal.

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Dargah of Zafar Khan, with a grave outside it, Tribeni

Today Tribeni is located about 70 km north of Kolkata on the Bendel – Katwa rail line and is approachable both from Howrah and Sealdah by train.

Today the prime attraction of Tribeni is the Dargah of Zafar Khan Gazi. The dargah is located on a small mound over looking the Hooghly river.

It is housed inside a walled complex which also contains a mosque and several other scattered tomb. It remains an active religious site.

The mosque is not only the oldest Mosque in West Bengal but also happens to be the oldest Islamic structure in the whole of undivided Bengal.

Zafar Khan was a general of Delhi Sultan Feroze Shah, who invaded Hooghly in the late 13th century, he defeated the local Hindu king and established the Turkish rule in Bengal.

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Inside the Zafar Khan Gazi Gargah. L: Eastern Chamber, R: Western Chamber with Zafar Khan’s grave at the extreme right

Zafar Khan settled in Tribeni as he was mesmerized by the beauty of the Hooghly River. The locals started considering him as a learned man and he came to be know as Zafar Khan Gazi. But soon after Zafar Khan was killed in a battle with another Hindu king of the region.

The Drgah was constructed in 1315 and is located on the eastern end of the walled complex. It has two chambers and the roof has long collapsed. The western chamber contains the grave of Zafar Khan along with the graves of his two sons Ain Khan Ghazi and Ghain Khan Ghazi. The fourth grave in the complex and the wife of Ughwan Khan, another son of Zafar Khan Gazi.

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Hindu ornamentation from the outer walls of the Dargah of Zafar Khan Gazi, Tribeni, Hooghly

The eastern complex houses the grave of Zafar Khan’s third son Barkhan Ghazi. He is buried along with  and his two sons Rahim Khan Ghazi and Karim Khan Ghazi. The identity of one tomb remains unknown but it shape suggests it belongs to a woman.

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Mosque of Zafar Khan Gazi, Tribeni

The Dargah is located on a high plinth and both the chambers are approached by flight of stairs. Both the chambers are provided with Jali screens allowing sunlight to filter into the chambers.

Both the mosque and the dargah are built with a combination of stone and bricks, some thing quiet unusual in the land famous for terracotta.

Both the most unique feature of the Dargah and the Mosque is the presence of several Hindu motifs and symbols in its walls.

Both the structure contains stone panels of Hindu deities but most of them have been chiseled off leaving an faint imprint. It is quiet likely these motifs were removed from abandoned or demolished Hindu Temple and were used in the construction of the Mosque and Dargah.

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The Zafar Khan Mosque, Tribeni. L: Central Mihrab, C: An Arabic Inscription and R: Arched aisle

The rectangular Mosque measures 76 feet by 36 feet and dates back to 1292. It has five arched entrance in the front and two aisles create 10 squares, each of which is topped by a dome. Sadly only 6 of the 10 domes can be seen to this day.

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Ornamentation inside the Zafar Khan Gazi Mosque, Tribeni, Hooghly 

There are five mihrabs on the western wall, out of which three are more or less intact. The central mihrab is ornamental and is made of stone. The two miharab flanking the central mihrab is made of bricks with beautiful terracotta ornamentation. Like the Dargah the Mosque also contains ornamentation from temples.

A trip to Tribeni is never complete without the visit to nearby BansberiaBansberia famous fro its Haneswari Temple and Ananta Basudev Temple.

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