Home > Bihar, Bihar History, General > Sher Shah’s Tomb and other monuments of Sasaram

Sher Shah’s Tomb and other monuments of Sasaram

Sher Shah’s Tomb

and other monuments of Sasaram, Bihar

During the siege on Kalijar, in May 1545, a rocket ricochetted back and exploded in the Suri camp. Sher Shah Suri, the king of Hindustan, suffered serious burn injury. In a desperate bid to to save their favourite emperor, the royal physicians applied generous quantities of sandalwood paste and poured volumes of rose water on the wounds to relive the emperor of the intolerable pain.

Sher Shah Tomb 1

Panoramic view of Sher Shah Suri’s Tomb, Sasaram, Bihar

Sadly the burns were so deep rooted, nothing worked and the pain from the severe burn injuries increased hour by hour. Sher Shah held on for a couple of days but final on 13 May it was all over the emperor was no more.

Sher Shah Tomb 5

Sher Shah Suri’s Tomb, Sasaram, Bihar

The emperor was finally laid to to rest in the spectacular makbara (mausoleum), at his home town in Sasaram, presently in Bihar.

The spectacular makbara was commissioned almost a decade ago  by the Sher Shah himself. At that time he was a ordinary jagirdar under the Mughal emperor Humayun.

During the time of his death the makbara was receiving his final touches and was completed on 16 August 1545, three months after the emperors death.

Sher Shah was born as Farid in 1472. His father Hasan Shah and grand father Ibrahim Shah were jagirdars in eastern India. Sher Shah, who killed a tiger single handed, also started as a jagirdar. In 1540 he went to over throw the Mughal ruler Humayun and proclaimed himself the king of Hindustan.

Sher Shah Tomb 9

Sher Shah Suri’s Tomb, Sasaram, Bihar

Sher Shah was the ruler of Hindustan for just 5 years (1540- 45) but during this short period he was able to establish a strong administrative system which allowed the Mughals to continue for more than a century and half.towering

Sher Shah Tomb 12

Inside Sher Shah Suri’s Tomb, Sasaram

Today the towering mausoleum still dominates the Sasram skyline.The tomb, with a gigantic dome, is housed at the centre of a pond.

But the Sher Shah’s Tomb is not the only historical structure in Sasaram, next to Sher Shah’s Tomb is his father Hasan Shah’s Tomb.

A few hundred meters away is the incomplete tomb of Sher Shah’s son Islam Shah.

A couple of kilometers away in the same town are two more historical structures and a whole day is required to explore the history of the the nondescript town of Rothas District of Bihar.

Sher Shah Tomb 13

Ornamentation on Sher Shah’s Tomb

Sasaram has its own railway station and is well connected with the rest of the country. If you are travelling from Kolkata there are several night trains from Howrah, which reaches Sasaram in early morning. The journey takes about 10 – 12 hours.

Sher Shah’s Tomb is located about a kilometer from the Sasaram Railway Station. The roads are crowded and traffic chaotic. There are no foot paths but walking is always the best option to explore a city.

Walk up to the Gandhi More and take a right turn walk past the Post Office More and immediately after the crossing on the left is a medieval styled modern gateway welcoming visitors to the Sher Shah’s Tomb (Google map location).

Sher Shah Tomb 15

Arches of Sher Shah Suri’s Tomb, Sasaram, Bihar

A few meter from the gateway the gigantic dome of the towering Sher Shah’s Tomb comes into view. The road. with chaotic traffic meanders to the entrance of the tomb. It is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and ticket is required to enter the complex.

Sher Shah Tomb 14

Ornamentation work on Sher Shah Suri’s Tomb, Sasaram, Bihar

Designed by Alawal Khan, the octagonal tomb is housed at the center of a man made square lake with each side measuring about 427 meters. The square island in the centre of the pond is approached by a causeway. It is popularly known as Pani Roza.

Sher Shah Tomb 11

Chhatris of Sher Shah’s Tomb, Sasaram, Bihar

The causeway lies on the northern side of the lake. The original causeway was broken and was reconstructed by the ASI in 1914 – 15. The causeway has two arched openings connecting both sides of the lake.

Hasan Shah Tomb 1

Panoramic view of Hasan Shah’s Tomb, Sasaram, Bihar

Entry to the complex is through a domed gateway and one has to walk along the causeway to reach the island housing the tomb. The tomb is surrounded by a high wall with circular chhatris on the four corners.

Hasan Shah Tomb 4

Hasan Shah’s Tomb, Sasaram, Bihar

Each of the three sides (excepting the one on the west) have two projected square chhatris. The base is octagonal and each side have three arched entrances. In ach corner stands a chhatri.

The second stage is also octagonal but smaller in size and also has chhatris at the eight corners. Finally the tomb is crowned with a massive dome with a diameter of 20 meter.

Seven of the eight inner walls of the lower stage have arched gateways in the centre and is flanked with recessed arches on both side. The eight or the western side have no entrance. There are several graves inside but the one of Sher Shah is covered with decorative cloth. The western wall has the kibla and the tomb doubles up as a mosque.

Islam Khan Tomb 1

Causeway to Islam Shah Suri’s Tomb, Sasaram, Bihar

East of Sher Shah’s Tomb lies the tomb of his father Hasan Shah (google map location). Hasan Shah’s Tomb was also was commissioned by Sher Shah and was constructed in 1535.

Islam Khan Tomb 3

Islam Shah Suri’s Tomb, Sasaram

This too was designed by Alawal Khan and looks like a scale down version of Sher Shah’s Tomb. But this stands on dry ground and is locally known as Sukha Roza.

Hasan Shah’s Tomb is surrounded by a a high wll with gateways on three sides. The western wall houses a mosque and has no gate way. The boundary wall houses four chhatris in the four corners.

The base of the tomb is octagonal and each side has triple arched entrances. But unlike Sher Shah’s Tomb there are no chhatris at the corners, instead the space between the first and second level is filled up with 24 domes, 3 each on the eight sides.

Sher Shah Tomb 17

Gateway of Sher Shah’s Tomb

Apart from Hasan Shah the tomb contains the mortal remains of several other person including that of Sher Shah’s mother, but sadly the tomb remains locked and access inside is not allowed.

Sadly the tomb of Hasan Shah is not well maintained. Local boys play cricket inside the complex and scattered garbage can be found inside the complex. Just behind the masjid is a small step well sadly it has been turned into a garbage dump.

Sasaram contains three mausoleum of the Suri family and the third one is of Islam Shah Suri (also known as Salim Shah Suri), son of Sher Shah. It followed the similar plan of Sher Shah’s Tomb and was supposed to be bigger than the former. But alas it was never complete.

Kandahar Quila

Kandahar Fort, Sasaram

Today the remains of the Islam Shah’s Tomb lies in utter ruins in a crowded locality of Sasaram about one kilo meter north wet of his father’s tomb. It is located north of the railway line in a extremley congested area (google map location).

The pond has lost its former glory and so have the cause way. A handful of arches and a few pillars are all that remains of the unfinished tomb. It is over grown with trees and the interior contains several graves, which are open to the sky.

Apart from the three Suri Tombs, Sasaram also has a few other ancient monuments. This includes a gateway, located on the western side of Shar Shah’s Tomb (google map location), with probably functioned as a gateway to the tomb.

Alawal Khan Fort

Alawal Khan’s Tomb, Sasaram

The Kaderganj area of Sasaram houses a massive fort like structure, which the local call Kandahar Fort (google map location).

Located in the middle of a vegetable market, the front portion of the structure functions as a garbage dump along with a open air urinal. Locals use the interiors fro drinking alcoholic rinks and playing cards.

Alawal Khan the master architect of Sher Shah and Hasan Shahs Tomb was commissioned three mausoleums in Sasaram by Sher Shah. The third one was not of Islam Shah but of the Architect himself. In an unique gesture Shae Shah gifted his favourite architect with the ultimate gift on his death.

Today Alawal Khan’s Tomb lies south of the Kadergabj More (google map location) and is in utter neglect. It is housed inside a Muslim Graveyard. The gates of the graveyard are always locked making access to the tomb impossible.

Sher Shah Tomb 3

Panoramic view of Sher Shah Suri’s Tomb, Sasaram, BiharPanoramic view

The Fort like structure has a arched gateway on the east. The gateway had two chhatris one of which has toppled off. The interiors are said to contain the tomb and a mosque. Sadly everything inside seemed to overgrown with vegetation.

Necessary Information:

  • Getting There: Sasram has a railway station well connected to the rest of the country
  • Places to stay: Sasram has a handful of basic and mid range hotels near station area. Prices range from ₹ 700 – ₹ 2000
  • Places to eat: Sasaram is a paradise for street food. Littis served with fish or chicken are a hot favourite.
  • Excursion: Rothasgarh Fort located about 1oo km south east of Sasaram

 

More on Sasaram

 

 

  1. December 18, 2019 at 8:15 PM

    Well -researched and informative article about glorious city of Sasaram. This city in Bihar has huge tourism potential but lack of infrastructure to cater to tourist hampers it’s growth. There is a need to upgrade basic amenities in the city and spread the legend of Sher Shah so as to popularize the legacy.

    • December 18, 2019 at 8:18 PM

      Very rightly said Vikramaditya. The town lacks basic infrastructure. During our vist in mid December we encountered a nonseasonal rain, the roads were absolutely muddy making walking extremely difficult.

      More over the town lacks hotels. There is a lot of scope of amazing street food.

  2. January 14, 2020 at 12:16 AM

    Thanks for sharing about this wonderful monument and this is an ancient monument and a very good example of Mughal craftsmanship. The monument is very unique in its own way and you are doing very well researched and the fusion of history and mythology keeps your blogs for interesting.

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