Gour, Malda – the erstwhile power centre of Bengal – II
In our previous post, we had written about the grandeur and beauty of Gour, the ancient power seat of Bengal. We had told the stories of the Kotwali Darwaja, Lottan mosque and Tantipara mosque in our previous post. The rest follows….
Next we passed through the “Lukachuri Gate”. It appears to have been built by Shah Suja, brother of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1655 AD. This has large double storeyed gate, with guard’s room on sides and a Naqqar Khana (drummers chamber) on top is built of brick and stone and is the eastern entrance into the citadel of Gaur.
The high arch is cusped, while the sides are paneled showing multi-cusped arches. The gate was originally named “Shahi Darwaza” and was used by Shah Suja for entering his palace. Legend has it that the gate was so named as the Sultan and his Begums played hide and seek (Bengali- Lukachuri) here during their leisure.
Qadam Rasul Mosque:
As you enter the Lukachuri gate, to the right side stands the Qadam Rasul mosque. The mosque was made with ornamented bricks. It has a single domed structure with a square interior and verandah on the three sides. It was built by Sultan Nusrat Shah in 1530. It is said that the footprints of Prophet Hazrat Mohammad was enshrined here.
Fath Khan’s Tomb:
Beside the Qadam Rasul mosque, stands Fath Khan’s tomb. The tomb is dedicated to Fath Khan, son of Dilawar Khan, Aurangzeb’s general who was sent by the emperor to kill Saint Niamatullah. It is said that Aurangzeb’s son, Sultan Shuja had rebelled against his father on the advice of Saint Niamatullah. Fath Khan was believed to have vomited blood and died at this spot.
The beautifully ornate carvings on the walls of the ruins and the images of Hindu idols on the stonework of doors and lintels are still partly visible.
Scholars and historians believe that there was considerable Hindu influence in this area. Later with the rise of Jalauddin Mohammad Shah, the son of Raja Ganesh, who had converted himself to Islam, had destroyed majority of the temples of Gour and Pandua. He had destructed the architecture, dismantled the idols and plunged them into nearby pools and lakes. A few years back, a local of Gour had found historical relics, coins from the nearby ponds of Gour.
Chika Masjid or Chamkan mosque:
To the left of the Lukachuri gate lies the Chika Masjid or Chamkan mosque. This single domed structure was built around 1450 AD by Sultan Hussain Shah. The mosque is actually a mausoleum and was used by the Sultan as a prison. It is said that Sultan Hussain Shah had imprisoned his Hindu Ministers Roop and Sanatan Goswami here. The two later became disciples of Sri Chitanyadeva and quit their Royal service.
The name “Chika” probably came from bats (chika means bats). After it was deserted, the building had become an abode of bats.
Just opposite the Chika Masjid is the Gumti Gate built by Sultan Hussain Shah in 1512 AD. This single-domed structure embellished with enameled bricks, was used as an eastern gateway into the Citadel of Gour. This was a private entrance to Gour hidden under time. It is being excavated now.
Our next stop was the Firoz Minar. Alternately known as Firoza Minar or ‘Blue Tower’ this tower 25.60 m high with spiral staircase having 73 steps was probably constructed by Saifuddin Firoz an Abyssinian commander of the royal forces who became the Sultan by avenging the killing of Sultan Jalaluddin Fath Shah, the last ruler of the Iliyas Shahi dynasty. This is considered as a victory tower as its builder is credited with many victories in battles. Scholars attribute it as a Bengali version of the Qutub Minar.
There is a mystical charm to the Firoz Minar with a large Banyan Tree and an oak tree standing side by side.
Some Useful Facts:
How to reach:
Malda is well connected by train from Howrah and Sealdah as well as Siliguri.
Where to Stay:
Numerous Hotels and guests houses are found in Malda. You can find a list of here.
Best time to visit:
you can visit anytime around the year. Winters will be pleasant in Malda while it is best to avoid summers.