Gour, Malda – the erstwhile power centre of Bengal
Malda – the first thing that comes to our mind about Malda is mangoes. But Malda is much more than that. Malda has a very rich history and was the seat of power for many empires. Malda thus have a few historical relics scattered throughout with Gour and Panduah being the most famous.
The history of Malda can be traced back to the medieval periods and centres around the cities of Gaur and Pandua. Gaur being an ancient city, its mention can be found even in the Hindu Puranic texts. The historical records of the city however can be traced from 500 BC from the time of Mauryan Dynasty. From the Mauryas, Gaur and the region of Pandua, then known as Pundrabardhana came under the reign of the Guptas. They were succeeded by Sasanka, the king of Karnasubarna as well as the king of Gour in the beginning of 7th Century AD who ruled for almost 3 decades. From the middle of the 8th century to 11th century the Pal dynasty ruled Bengal. They were great followers and propagators of Buddhism and the religion flourished under their reign. The Pal dynasty yielded to the Sen Dynasty who was ardent followers of Hinduism. Unlike the Pals, the Sens did not encourage the propagation of the other religions During the reign of Lakshman Sen, Gaur was known as Lakshmanbati. The Sen Kings ruled Bengal till Bakhtiyar Khilji conquered Bengal in 1204 AD.
The Muslim rule lasted for about 500 years before Sirajuddulah was defeated by Lord Clive in the battle of Plassey in 1757 thus changing the course of Indian history.
From the ancient period different rulers with different beliefs, religion and dynasty had left the mark of their dynasty, but most have them failed the test of time. New rulers had obliterated the previous marks left by the erstwhile rulers. But whatever remains are now in ruins and relics, nevertheless reminds the resplendence and grandeur of the time.
We present before you Malda in a couple of posts – the first one covering a few historical sites of Gour.
Gour, Malda – the ancient city of Bengal
Gour has many architectural structures of historical importance, and is sure to attract history and archaeology buffs.many historical relics are located along the road towards Gour till you reach Mahadipur, the Indo-Bangladesh border.
We started from the Indo – Bangladesh border at Mahadipur, A giant red stone structure stands here, known as the “Kotwali Darwaza”. Probably named after the chief of police (Kotwal in Persian), the gate was stationed to guard the southern wall of Gour. It was built during the fifteenth century following the move of the capital from nearby Pandua to Gaur in 1446.
The gate is now in ruins and only the external towers with a huge convex outline with rows of arrow-slits can be partially seen. The rampart walls on the sides of the towers are still in existence. Presently, the Kotwali Darwaza serves as border between India and Bangladesh.
BSF Jawans are stationed at the place and you have to obtain permission from them to visit the ruins and even take photographs of the place.
Further down the road, stands the Lottan mosque. It is one of the finest architecture of the period. It is a single domed mosque having a square chamber and is traditionally ascribed to the riyal courtesan.
The mosque was probably built by Sultan Yusuf Shah. The mosque was earlier covered beautifully with coloured bricks remains of which can be seen till today. The surrounding luscious green garden provides a perfect backdrop to this mosque.
Tanti Para mosque:
A few metres down the road, your eyes will automatically be riveted by the sight of a green lawn and a ruined structure. It is the Tanti Para mosque. This gigantic Mosque built and completed by Sikandar Shah in 1369 AD is the most remarkable existing example of Muslim architecture of that period.
It is a Quadrangular building originally covered with 10 domes which have now fallen. To the northern half of the back wall of the mosque lies a roofless room known as Sikandar Shah’s tomb.
The mosque was so called because it was situated in the weaver’ colony of Gour kingdom. The building has intricate works which shows the beauty of the architecture of the period. The garden is also well maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
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.