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Tomb of Shah Nawaz aka Black Taj in Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tomb of Shah Nawaz aka Black Taj is located at Teressa, Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh. It was built very near to the Utavali River. 
Tomb of Shah Nawaz aka Black Taj in Burhanpur

After visiting the Asirgarh fort, the rickshaw driver brought us here. 
As per our Rickshaw driver , it is miniature version of the Taj Mahal in Agra, as it is made of black stone it is called as the Black Taj. 
Centograph at the Tomb of Shah Nawaz aka Black Taj in Burhanpur
There was no similarity between the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Black Taj in Burhanpur, not sure from where he got his facts from. Most of the times the stories narrated by the rickshaw driver are like Chinese Whispers they keep changing over time. 
Paintings in the dome of Tomb of Shah Nawaz aka Black Taj in Burhanpur

Now who is Shah Nawaz Khan? Iraj is the son of Rahim aka Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana he was one the nine gems or navratnas in Akbar's court. Iraj had helped Jahangir (Son of Akbar) to win many battles in that part of the country. Due to his bravery Jahangir had bestowed the title of Shah Nawaz to Iraj.  
Paintings on the walls of Tomb of Shah Nawaz aka Black Taj in Burhanpur
The Tomb of Shah Nawaz Khan was made of black stone. There is a big dome atop it. It is a square shaped structure. We removed our shoes outside the tomb premises and walked in as instructed. There were two cenotaph there. A big one which I assume was for Shah Nawaz Khan, not sure of the small one. What I found interesting was that the walls and the dome had beautiful painting on the inside and that it has remained like this for centuries. Interesting na

The actual grave of Shah Nawaz Khan is below the Mausoleum.  There is a small stairway that leads to the actual grave of Shah Nawaz Khan. It it is very dark in there and hence one needs a very good torch.  As we didn't have one we decided to skip it. 
Pillars at Tomb of Shah Nawaz aka Black Taj in Burhanpur
There are guides available, they will provide you more information about the tomb but for a price. 
Tomb of Shah Nawaz aka Black Taj in Burhanpur
There is a beautiful garden around the structure.  
Other structure near Tomb of Shah Nawaz aka Black Taj in Burhanpur
There are two other monuments there, though they are completely in ruins. Not much is known about them. In one of the monuments there is  cenotaph. Not sure who it belongs too. But I have a feeling that the person should have been related to Shah Nawaz Khan. As the monument is placed next to his. 
Other structure near Tomb of Shah Nawaz aka Black Taj in Burhanpur
There is no provision for food and water here. This place is tagged on Google Maps, in case you plan to walk it out or come by your own mode of transport. 

We next visited Shahi Qila in Burhanpur. 

Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh

Monday, March 27, 2017

Asirgarh Fort is situated in the Satpura Range and is around 20 KM away from the the city of Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh. 
Entrance to Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur

Directions to Asirgarh Fort from Burhanpur Railway station are available on Google Maps. One has to travel by the Khargone-Burhanpur Highway. You can also ask the locals for directions, they are also reliable.
Structures within Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur
As we were travelling, we could see the Fort in a distance and it was just amazing. It was perched high atop the hill. The fortification and the Minarets of the Jama Masjid situated within it, were clearly visible from a distance. We finally came across a sign board, which informed about the fort. The rickshaw driver told us, that if we plan to go trekking, then we should take the other route. One can reach the top in around 1 to 2 hours. It is a well trodden path. He informed us that, had we waled it up, we would have bee panting all the way up. I didn't tell him that we have climbed many hill forts in Maharashtra. 

The motor able road to reach Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur
There is also a motor able road, which takes one, to the entrance of the fort. The motor able road is not in very good condition, so it will test your vehicular suspension. The road is located at the edge of the hill, one wrong turn and you are down in the valley below. It took us around 25 minutes to reach the top, from the main road.
Finally after travelling in the rickshaw for around 1 1/2 hours we were finally atop the hill. The rickshaw driver parked his rickshaw in the parking lot. From there we informed us to walk it too the Main Entrance or Maha Darwaza of the fort. 

Fathima and Me at the Maha Darwaza

There is no entry free nor is there any entry timing to visit the fort premises. As there is no lighting in the fort premises, it is better to visit the fort in the day. 

The fortification looked amazing from here. Not sure if the fortification is intact throughout the fort premises. It bought back memories of Naldurg Fort in Maharashtra I had trekked with Manohar a couple of months ago.  
Structures within Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur
From the parking lot, it offers a fantastic view of the valley below. The houses looked like ants from a distance. Due to the fog, the photos are not very clear. 

At the entrance, there are inscriptions in Arabic or Urdu on the stone walls. No need to worry if you don't know to read that language. There is also a sign board in english and hindi informing you as to what is inscribed on stone. Inscription : Revolt of Shahjahan, Inscription of Akbar and Epigraph of Aurangzeb's Reign.

The history of the fort is also available here. As per history, different rulers have ruled over it over the centuries. The fort was built by Asa Ahir in the 15th century. He was murdered by Nasir Khan of Khandesh who then took over the fort. The fort was later conquered by Akbar and finally it was under the British rule. 

Information on Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur

Historical information on Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur
Map of Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur
One has to cross the arc shapes stone door and then the Maha Darwaza to enter the fort premises. The Maha Darwaza is made of wood. It also had a small chor darwaza to it. There is metal (now rusted) stuck to the Darwaza. 

Another two keyboards give information as to what places are there on the fort premise. It also gives a map of the fort, so that all places can be covered. 

Strucures within Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur

There are plenty of ruins of houses on the fort premises, again no signboards,  so not sure what they were. 

Fathima and Me near Jama Masjid in Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur

Another sign board, gives information on the Jama Masjid located in the fort premises. There are three elevated arched doorways to enter the Masjid premises. There is a small courtyard surrounded by arched prayer halls on three sides. It had two Minarets within its premises. There is a internal stairway to reach the top of the Minaret, but it is currently under lock and key.  

The arches within the prayer halls are all in symmetry, they are identical and look beautiful. Reminded me of the ruins near Qutub Minar in Delhi. The artists who constructed these artifacts in those days, did a fabulous job. Hence they are still standing though many centuries have passed by. There is also a inscription on one of the doors of the Masjid. Again the language barrier made it difficult to reach as to what is written on it. 
History of Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur

Entrance to Jama Masjid in Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur

There are a couple of broken bastions located on the fort premises. The fort wall has broken down at certain places. 

We then located another sign board which read about the British Cantonment. These roofless. structures made of bricks are in ruins. There are many of them located here. 

Jama Masjid in Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur

Symetrical pillars at Jama Masjid in Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur

There are a couple of water bodies too on the fort premises. The water in them has turned green due to the algae present in the waters. Making it unfit for consumption. 

Informaton on British Cantonment at Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur

British Cantonment at Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur

We reached the Mahadeo temple and the baoli (stepwell) situated near it. Entry to the temple is open but not to the baoli. The stepwell was deep and had algae infested water. It reminded us of the Navghan Kuvo at Uparkot fort in Junagadh. Once upon a time, this stepwell, used to provide fresh water for drinking purposes. 

British Cantonment at Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur

The Mama Bhanja talab, which is again infested with algae, had turned green. It used to supply fresh water to the fort inmates a long time ago. 

There are plenty of ruins and tombs on the fort premises. Again on signboards. 

Mahadeo Temple within Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur

Mahadeo Temple within Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur

It took us around 2 hours to explore the fort premises. We finally exited the Maha Darwaza for the fort premises and headed to the parking lot. The rickshaw driver took us to a arched shaped stone door near the parking lot. He informed us that had we come trekking up, we would have come up from here. 

Waterbody at Asirgarh fort in BUrhanpur

Structures within Asirgarh Fort in Burhanpur

He also made us visit a water body located in the fort walls. This a sacred spot for Hindus, they draw water from there and then bathe in the water. Again no sign board, so not sure of the significance.
There is no provision for food and water on the fort premises. So do carry it. There is little provision near the base of the fort. Near the highway.

Water System at Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur

Water System at Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur

We then exited the Asirgarh Fort and headed downhill to Burhanpur City.  

Fortification of Asirgarh fort in Burhanpur

The opening in the fort wall where water is stored, used by Hindu devotees for bathing purposes

The rickshaw driver then took us to the Tomb of Shah Nawaz Khan aka Black Taj.

The trekking route to reach Burhanpur fort in Asirgarh

Burhanpur rail trip : Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh

Friday, March 24, 2017

Burhanpur City is located in the Burhanpur District in Madhya Pradesh. It is located very close to the Maharashtra-Madhya  Pradesh border. It is roughly around 425 KM by road and 506 KM away by rail. There are many historical sites located in and around Burhanpur. 
BMC building near CST

I have been planning this trip for quite sometime now, ever since Fathima had told me about this place. Finally we decided to visit it. Now there are two ways of travelling, either road or rail. We decided to travel by rail, as advised by Fathima, as she has been there a couple of times for religious visits. 

There are many trains that ply to Burhanpur from Mumbai CST. Both railway stations are on the Central Railway Line. We decided to board the Mahanagari Express from Mumbai CST at 00:10 AM, to save on time. It was a smart decision as we would sleep through the night, by the time we are awake , we would have reached Burhanpur. The train reaches Burhanpur around 8:08 AM. 
CST railway station from the outside
As it was the 26th of January. Our Repulic Day, the Mumbai CST Railway station and the Municipal Corporation Building or the BMC building were lit up in the colors of our tricolor. Both British built monuments were looking extremely beautiful. 

We had kept alarm on our phones around 7:15 AM to be awake before time. It is a must as the train stops at Burhanpur Railway Station for just 2 minutes. Due to the fog,we were delayed and we reached Burhanpur around 8:15 AM. If you miss then you have to alight at the next stop i.e. Nepanagar. The Mahanagari Express terminates at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. It took us roughly around 8 hours to reach.
Mahanagari Express
The compartment in which we were travelling was clean, not sure of the return journey though.As the journey was 8 hours long we had booked Sleeper Class tickets for just Rs. 280 each. There are AC tickets and unreserved tickets also available. 
Burhanpur Railway station
We freshened up at Burhanpur Railway Station, and then headed out to have some breakfast and then board a rickshaw to Asirgad Fort located very close to Burhanpur. 
Aloo and Methi Paratha
There are a couple of hotels and small roadside eateries, just outside the railway station. We had breakfast in the form of Poha and Paratha (Methi and Aloo) The breakfast is very cheap. 
Asirgarh Fort
We then decided to book a special rickshaw instead of a sharing rickshaw so that we can travel to Asirgarh Fort. A special rickshaw is important as we don't have to waste time searching for a mode of transport.

Gangeshwar Mahadev Temple in Diu (Union Territory in India)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

After visiting the INS Kukri Memorial, we travelled to Gangeshwar Mahadev temple located a couple of KM away. 
Shivlings in the water

Provision of food and refreshments is available here. 

There are a couple of shops here, selling articles of worship.
There were many people who can come to venerate the Shivlings. It is said that the temple was constructed by the Five Pandavas. The five brothers had constructed five shivlings. The five shivlings are of different sizes. The shivlings were built at the bottom, in a cave. The sea waves directly lash onto the shivlings, keeping it submerged most of the time when the tide is high. 
Shivlings in the water

Many people got down to get a closer view of the shivlings. But force of the waves is so strong that, it can pull you in the waters, so it is best to stay far and see.
View of the sea from Gangeshwar mahadev temple in Diu
The tourism department had built a couple of seats facing the sea on the cliff. We sat there as we watched the sun go down. Water was all that I could see in a distance. The sea breeze kept us cool.
We then headed back to our Hotel in Diu. We had covered most of the places on our itinerary. Beaches were not on the list, but we still managed to sit atop a cliff, and enjoyed the sun going down the water I regret we didn't get to dip our happy feet in the water. 
Diu Bus Stand
We inquired at the Diu Bus Stand if there was any bus that would take us to Junagadh. Yes there was a bus going to Junagadh. As the booking office was closed, we still managed to book tickets from a third party vendor for a cost. Reserved seats are always better than travelling unreserved. The booking agent had informed us that it would take us around five hours to reach Junagadh as the bus travels across various small towns before reaching Junagadh. The bus departs from Diu Bus Stand at 7 AM.

INS Kukri memorial in Diu (Union Territory in India)

Monday, March 20, 2017

After visiting the Naida caves, we headed over to see the INS Kukri Memorial, located a few minutes away from here via the same rickshaw
INS Kukri memorial in Diu

The memorial is built atop a small hillock. There is provision for food and water here. 

The miniature version of the INS Kukri looked amazing. Though it is put in a glass casket. Information about the ship and the name of the soldiers who gave up their lives , is displayed here. 
List of Martyr's at INS Kukri memorial in Diu
The time was around 5 PM on my watch. The sun was shining, but the cool breeze didn't let us break a sweat. The weather was just pleasant here. The water lashing onto, the hillock. Water was all that I could see as far as I could see. 

From there we headed to our last place on our itinerary. The Gangeshwar Mahadev temple aka Shiva Temple.

Naida Caves in Diu (Union Territory in India)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

When I saw the website of Diu on the internet, the first image I saw was of the Naida Caves, they were just beautiful. 'I have to visit Diu' is what I said to myself. I then checked to see the other historical sites I can see in Diu.
Naida Caves in Diu
After visiting the Diu Museum, the rickshaw driver brought us here.

There is no entry fee. But point to be noted here, is that these caves need to be seen in sunlight. Light should be in plenty.
Naida Caves in Diu

There was hardly anyone at the caves, just the two of us.

The caves were all identical to each other. One can get lost in the cave premises you don't follow the signs. Like always we too got lost.

I have been have been either Buddhist, Jain or Hindu Caves. But these are totally different.
Naida Caves in Diu

The rays of the sun falling on them, made them even more beautiful. I initially thought the photos, on the Diu website were a product of Photoshop. But these are for real.
Naida Caves in Diu
It was calm and quiet in here. Had Buddha been here, he tool would have fallen in love with them and mediated here.  

Sunrise and Sunsets were beautiful, but now these caves too have made it to the list, thanks to the rays of the sun.
Naida Caves in Diu
It took us almost an hour to explore all the caves in the premises.
Fathima and Me at Naida Caves in Diu
Again there is no food and water available near the Caves premises. 

We then headed over to see the INS Kukri Memorial located atop a small hillock a few KM away.

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