Home > Bengal History, Day Trips from Calcutta (Kolkata), General > Mazar of Pir Baharam, Bardhaman

Mazar of Pir Baharam, Bardhaman

Mazar of Pir Baharam, Bardhaman

Resting place of Pir Baharam, Sher Afghan Khan and Qutubuddin Koka

Two men lies in eternal rest under exactly similar graves next to each other but it is hard to believe that these men died fighting each other in a deadly ambush more than 500 years ago.

Panoramic view of the Mazar of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

Panoramic view of the Mazar of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

Next to the two warrior lies a Sufi Saint, who was known for providing drinking water to thirsty travellers. This is the Mazar of Pir Baharam in Bardhaman, which also contains several unmarked and unknown graves.

Entry gate of the Mazar of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

Entry gate of the Mazar of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

The Mazar of Pir Baharam, which also house the mortal remains of the two warriors Sher Afghan and Qutubuddin Koka is a protected site under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and is located in a congested neighborhood in Bardhaman town (Google map location).

Plaque of Qutubuddin Koka at Mazar Gate

Plaque of Qutubuddin Koka at Mazar Gate

Plaque of Sher Afghan at Mazar Gate

Plaque of Sher Afghan at Mazar Gate

The Mazar has a rectangular box like gateway with a semi-circular arched entrance. The entrance is flanked on either side by marble plaques.

The left plaque mention the name of Nowab Kutubudden while the one on the right mentions Shere Afghan Khan. Both the plaques mention the death of burial 1610.

Interestingly a tulsi mancha stands at the entrance, which is heavily encroached upon. A blue board of ASI provides a brief history of the site in Bengali.

Graves of Sher Afghan and Qutubuddin Koka

Graves of Sher Afghan and Qutubuddin Koka, Mazar of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

Just beyond the entrance on the left is a rectangular box like structure approachable by a short flight of stairs.

The structure is topped with 4 urns at the 4 corners and the front has a twin arch opening leading to the two graves of Sher Afghan and Qutubuddin Koka

Sher Afghan Khan was a Mughal courtier, who later became the Jagirdar of Bardhaman under Akbar and later Jahangir. In 1594 Sher Afghan married a 17 year old beautiful lady named Mehr-un-Nissa.

On the other hand Qutubuddin Khan Koka was the the subedar (Governor) of Bengal. Sher Afghan served under him.

In 1607 Sher Afghan was charged with supporting the Afghans and Qutubuddin Koka was sent to control the situation. Other sources say that Jahangir fell in love with Sher Afghan’s beautiful wife Mehr-un-Nissa and send Qutubuddin Khan to capture him.

Twin graves of Sher Afghan and Qutubuddin Koka Mazar of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

Twin graves of Sher Afghan and Qutubuddin Koka Mazar of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

What ever may be the reason but when Qutubuddin Koka ordered his soldiers to arrest Sher Afghan he wounded Qutubuddin Khan fatally in return the soldiers killed Sher Afghan instantly. Qutubuddin Khan died soon after.

English epitaph of Sher Afghan

Here lies
Sher Afghan, Governor of Burdwan
and first husband of Mehr-un-Nissa
afterwards the famous Moghal Empress,
Nur Jahan. A. D. 1610.

English epitaph of Qutubuddin Koka

Kutab-Uddin,
Foster-brother of Emperor Jahangir,
recived the promise of
the high office of subahadar of Bengal
on condition that he would procure
for his royal master
the beautiful Mehr-un-Nissa, wife of Sher Afghan.
Kutab-Uddin fell in the fight
that ensued with his gallant opponent
and is buried here.

Later in 1610 both the bodies were reburied next to the Tomb of Pir Baharam, where they still lie today. The marble graves have epitaph written in English, Bengali and Urdu. A year later in 1611 Jahangir married Mehr-un-Nissa, who later bacame famous in history as Nur Jahan.

Tomb of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

Tomb of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

Just east of the twin graves is the Tomb of Pir Baharam, which predates the twin graves by almost half a century.

Tomb of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

Tomb of Pir Baharam, Brdhaman

The Tomb of Pir Baharam is a square tomb with sloped roofs and topped with a single large dome. The corners are marked with octagonal minnerates.

Terracotta ornamentation, Tomb of Pir Baharam

Terracotta ornamentation, Tomb of Pir Baharam

Pir Baharam was a Sufi saint of Turkish origin. He visited India during the reign of the second Mughal Emperor Humayun.

He first settled in Delhi and then moved to Agra. He served water to thirsty traveller and came to be known as saka, Persian for water distributor.

Later he decided to move to Lanka (now Sri Lanka) and died on the way at Bardhaman in 970 hijri, which coincides to 1563 – 64. He was laid to rest in a massive tomb.

The square tomb with octagonal minnerates is topped with a single tomb. The outer wall also has terracotta ornamentation of floral and geometric motif but sadly only traces of it remains to this day.

Grave of Pir Baharam

Grave of Pir Baharam

Unlike the grave of Sher Afghan and Qutubuddin Koka, which are open and accessible, the grave of Pir Baharan is kept under lock and key and is covered with coloured ceremonial sheet.

The entire complex has several new structures including connecting causeways and several buildings. Some of the areas are fenced off in the most unusual way. The fences and the new buildings makes photography extremely diffi

The entire Mazar complex is filled with numerous graves most of them unmarked, making it impossible to identify the person or know about his/her date of death.

The mazar complex also houses several large trees proving shades to the men and women lying in eternal rest.

It is an active religious site and even contains a newly built mosque. Dozens of people visit the place not only for namaz but also for seeking blessing from the Pir, who once distributed water to thirsty travellers.

Strangely people leave brunt clay models of animals as a mark of respect to the legendary Pir, something very uncommon in Islam. Many of this miniature brunt clay models can be seen scattered in the mazar compound.

An old grave in the active cemetery next to the mazar

An old grave in the active cemetery next to the mazar

Next to the mazar is an active Muslim cemetery, which houses several old graves. A ruined grave in the shape of do-chala (typical thatched Bengal style hut) is one of the most unique graves in the cemetery.

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