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Zafar Khan Ghazi Mosque and Dargah

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Zafar Khan Ghazi Mosque and Dargah

 

At the unlock phase, we went on our first day trip at 02/07/21. The trip was quite a bit of a long drive, with a bit of proximity to nature and some more get-togethers with it. Nothing was decided until 2nd July morning. Suddenly a friend’s phone rang …

“How is it if we go out by car and return to home by evening?”

What the answer to this question might be, I hope, remains to be unsaid. But where to go? A few days ago, I googled about a tourist destination of another dimension very close to Kolkata, on the river bank. Today we will go to Triveni in Hooghly district. Not one, not two, but three rivers at once, namely Ganga, Kunti and Saraswati meet at this Triveni. Despite the fact that Triveni was a sacred place to the Hindus, Muslim rule in undivided Bengal began from this Triveni.

River opposite to the Zafar Khan Ghazi Dargah

Zafar Ali Khan was the formidable general of Sultan Feroz Shah of Delhi. He defeated the Hindu king of Hooghly in the thirteenth century AD and initiated Muslim rule. Zafar Ali Khan later fell in love with the soil and natural environment of Triveni, which was washed away by the three rivers, and he remained here indefinitely without returning to Delhi. During his reign he erected a mosque and dargah at Triveni, now known as Zafar khan ghazi mosque and dargah and preserved  by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Brief history of Zafar Khan Ghazi from ASI

Board from ASI

If you want to come here with your own vehicle by road from Kolkata, you have to type this name in Google Navigator. And by train reach the nearest railway station Triveni (from Howrah), then catch Toto.

Anyway, back to the original story.

At around 12:30 pm, I hit the connector of Kharada-Kalyani Expressway, Nilganj Road and picked up my friend. From there, after cruising the Kalyani Expressway for about 40 km, we reached our destination at around 1.30 pm.

I saw a lot of followers of Islam (wearing white hats, pajamas, kurtas) coming out in groups. Suddenly it flashed in my mind… Hey, today is Jumma Bar …. They must be returning after the noon prayers. Since I don’t like the crowd, I was a little annoyed. The Ganges flows by our side. I decided to spend some time on the river bank till the crowd gets lighter, then I will go to visit the mosque and dargah. We sat by the river on a paved bench, facing the Ganges.

Meanwhile let me tell you a few things about this mosque and dargah, which I have come to know by reading various articles from the internet. I can claim one thing, after hearing the whole story about this mosque and dargah and seeing the pictures, you too will be interested to come here.

Although terracotta carvings are prevalent in the temples, burnt earth decorations in the mosques are almost rare. Yes, this mosque built by Zafar Khan Ghazi about seven hundred and fifty years ago (1298 AD) still has some terracotta ornaments left in it.

Terracotta works on the walls of Zafar Khan Ghazi Dargah

Besides, it is said that Zafar Khan Gazi’s Dargah was a Vishnu temple during the Hindu rule. The entrance to the temple was facing the river. Later the Muslim rulers converted it into a dargah and closed the high entrance to the temple with latticed windows.

The gate to Vishnu temple closed by latticed window

The walls of this dargah also have carved idols of many Hindu gods and goddesses. Both the mosque and the dargah are mainly made of brick and stone and are located at a very close distance. The information obtained from an inscription (in Arabic) on the main mihrab of the mosque is ….

The mosque was formerly used as a madrasa. The main prayer ground of the mosque had five arches. The inside of the mosque was divided into two parts with lovely carved pillars. The mosque had ten domes. At present, however, only six domes remain. 

Prayer mattress through the mosque

The Dargah , built in 1315 AD in his memory after the death of Zafar Khan Ghazi, is the oldest surviving mausoleum in eastern India. The dargah has no roof and is divided into two rooms. There are a total of eight graves, four by four in two rooms.

The first room, the west room, contains the tombs of Zafar Khan Ghazi and his two sons (Yen Khan and Moin Khan) and his youngest son, Barkhan Ghazi Begum, who was a Hindu by religion.

Tombs in the 1st room of Zafar Khan Ghazi Dargah

In the next room are the tombs of Zafar Khan Gazi’s youngest son Barkhan Gazi and his two sons (Rahim Khan and Karim Khan) and an unidentified woman. In addition, there are several thirteenth-century tombs scattered around, whose exact identities are still unknown.

Tombs in the second room of Zafar Khan Ghazi Dargah

In the meantime we noticed that the crowd of people on the road to mosque  has become lighter. So let’s go to the mosque and dargah. But what is this? The entrances to the dargahs and mosques have been closed to the public due to lockdown across the state in response to the court orders. There is a lock hanging outside the main gate of the dargah along with a notice of the High Court . The security guards are sitting inside.

I requested them that I shall just take 2-3 minutes for taking some snaps going inside but their answer was obviously a ‘no’. Before returning when we were looking around in pain, we saw two Muslims in white hats and kurta pajamas coming out of a side street. We discovered from them that the mosque is open for Jumma prayers and at the same time they showed us an alternative path to reach the mosque.

Seeing the crowd a while ago, it seemed that it would have been better to leave the Jumma day, and now it seems that we are lucky that we are on Jumma day, otherwise we would have had to go back without visiting the mosque and the Dargah.

Zafar Khan Ghazi Mosque side view

Zafar Khan Ghazi Mosque

Zafar Khan Ghazi Mosque prayers

Prayer mattress Inside Zafar Khan Ghazi mosque

On reaching the mosque we took some pictures from outside and looked closely to see how much the real form resembled what I had read in the book. A very peaceful environment persists here. In the middle of a lot of green and a little above the main road, exists this wonderful peace of history. A few people were still into their last phase of prayers inside the mosque. Now we have achieved the mosque visit, but what about the dargah?

Some parts of the mosque are dilapidated

The Dargah is visible in the shades of a banyan tree in the distance. A narrow paved road from the mosque leads to the Dargah through a well maintained garden. But that path is blocked with a bamboo stick. Although it is possible to melt under the bamboo, the security guards are sitting on that side of the dargah. I noticed one or two Muslims walking towards the Dargah over the bamboo fence and the security guards are not questioning them. Maybe there is a special discount for them as today is the Jumma day.

Way to Zafar Khan Ghazi Dargah

But myself being a Hindu …can’t expect this privilege definitely. Meanwhile an elderly Muslim man, who  seemed to be a core member of the mosque authority..somehow guessed our wishes. He came forward with a smiling face and asked us to follow him. 

The elderly man in white dress at Zafar Khan Ghazi mosque

Like him, we also bought a candle, incense and match-box and followed him. Uplifting the bamboo blockade he took us to the gate of the Dargah and in front of the security guards addressed us, ‘Come with me and burn the incense and candle inside the dargah, and don’t be late.’

Zafar Khan Ghazi Dargah

Happily we also entered with him in the first room of the Dargah, then the second room, without looking in any direction. I immediately took some pictures. I thanked Allah Almighty holding the candle and incense I had brought with me for sending His messenger in human form, to fulfill the desire of my mind.

Inside Zafar Khan Ghazi Dargah

We prayed to him that we learn to rise above religious differences and become human. Tolerance of other religions is the main mantra of every religion. Let us, today’s educated society forget all the religious differences of the past, differences of opinion, faith, fight for power and make the vow of becoming human first. We must learn to respect each other and learn to respect each other’s religious sentiments. Religious devotion can never be against humanity.

Burnt the incense inside the Zafar Khan Ghazi Dargah

After that?

After successfully achieving our trip target in this unlock phase it was already four o’clock in the afternoon. The mind seems to be really happy. Cold winds are blowing from the river. There are black clouds all over the place by now.  It looks like it’s going to rain. We refreshed ourselves with some hot tea from a nearby shop and  the headed back for home.

 

 

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