Home > Bengal History, Day Trips from Calcutta (Kolkata), General > Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar (Nawab Bari), Bardhaman

Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar (Nawab Bari), Bardhaman

Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar (Nawab Bari)

Bardhaman Town, West Bengal

Also see: More on Bardhaman Town

Bardhaman Town, the district headquarters of the Purba Bardhaman District and the former capital of the undivided Bradhaman District has its share of history. From the iconic Curzon Gate to the 108 Shiva Temples of Nawab Hat and from the historic campus of Bardhaman University to the resting place of Sher Afghan, the first husband of the Mughal empress Nur Jahan (Also see: Mazar of Pir Baharam)

Complex of the Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar (popularly known as Nawab Bari), Bardhaman

Complex of the Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar (popularly known as Nawab Bari), Bardhaman

But the historical site that stands out among the rest is the magnificent Mausoleum Complex of Khwaja Anwar (popularly known as Nawab Bari), sadly it is all in ruins and overgrown with vegetation.

Gate of the Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar

Gate of the Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar

Khwaja Anwar was the Amir of the Governor of Bengal Azim-us-Shan, the grand son of the last great Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb . He was killed in an ambush in 1698.

Later in 1718 the then Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar built a magnificent tomb in his honour.

Farrukhsiyar also provided his family with a pension for the maintenance of the tomb and its large complex.

The Mausoleum also houses several other graves including that of Syed Abul Kaseem brother of Khwaja Anwar. No wonder the maintenance allowance has long stopped but Khwaja Anwar family continue to live in the complex, turning the crumbling complex gateway into a place of residence.

Board at the entrance

Board at the entrance

Sadly this magnificent monument is neither protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) or the West Bengal State Archaeological Department it remains a private property of the decedent of Khwaja Anwar.

A board at the entrance mentions that it is a private property and permission is required for photography.

Sayad Badsha Hossain, who claims to be an descendant of Khwaja Anwar, presently resides in the complex with his family.

He claims to be an descendant of Khwaja Anwar, mentions that a Calcutta High Court order of 1983 has stated them as the owner of the property.

Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar (Nawab Bari Complex)

The mighty mausoleum spread over a large complex is located on the southern part of Bardhaman (Google map location) and is locally known as the Nawab Bari

Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar

Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar

Entrance is through a huge gateway on the northern end of the compound. The double tired gateway once welcomed dignitaries with the beating of drums and blowing of trumpets, now serve as a living space for a family, who claims themselves as decedents of Khwaja Anwar.

Gate of the Mausoleum from inside the complex

Gate of the Mausoleum from inside the complex

The massive tomb lies on the far southern end on the complex and a triple dome mosque lies on the western side.

At the cenetre of the complex lies a large stone lined pond with a pavilion at its centre.

The pavilion known as Jal Tungi or Hawa Mahal and is approached by a causeway from the western side.

Sadly the entire complex is al in ruins and over grown with vegetation.

We visited the place during monsoon and vegetation covered the entire complex including the pond, which didn’t have a single drop of water.

Jal Tungi and the causeway

Jal Tungi and the causeway

The mosque which is still active is fairly in godd shape with a fresh coat of white paint.

But the star attraction of the complex is the massive single dome tomb of Khwaja Anwar. Standing on a raised platform the square tomb is crowned with a massive dome.

Slender minnerets occupy the four corners of the tomb, something very common in the architecture of the later Sultanate period in northern India. But what makes the tomb unique is the presence of two do chala structure on either side.

Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar with the dense vegetation

Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar with the dense vegetation

These do chala structure are pretty common in Bengal Temple Architecture but its usage as part of an Islamic tomb definitely makes it unique. Also the tomb contains elaborate and intricate stucco decoration on its outer wall. Sadly this unique and beautiful structure lies in utter neglect and decay. Since the structures remains intact a small effort can turn it into a major tourist attraction of Bardhaman Town.

Special Thanks: A special thanks to my friend and fellow heritage enthusiast Sk Abdul Amin for his wonderful article in the Outlook Traveller magazine (Link). Amin also helped me with more information about the site.

Note: Since it is a private property one needs permission for photography. The permission is available after some request and is restricted to certain areas.

  1. October 27, 2021 at 9:07 AM

    Started loving these wonderful works. Looking forward for more, eagerly.

    • October 27, 2021 at 9:22 AM

      I normally update my blog every Wednesday, keep reading

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