Khusrau Bagh in Allahabad is something which won’t escape your eyes especially when you’ll arrive in this ancient city through train. When I visited Allahabad I haven’t even heard of this historical place. I had only Kumbh Mela in mind.
But a surprise was in store for me as I got down at Allahabad Railway Station. It was wee hour of the morning and I was in no rush to hurry to Prayag, the sangam of Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati River.
So I stayed back and strolled around the Railway Station looking for a quiet chaiwaala’s stall. And blimey! Was I fortunate for doing that?
On the opposite side of the Allahabad Railway Station, I chanced to glimpse a quaint entrance gate to what appeared to be a park.
It was serendipity indeed that I happened to go inside and see some very exquisite specimen of Mughal Architecture.
If not for morose sky, the pictures could have been awesome.
History of Khusrau Bagh
Renowned now as a tomb, Khusrau Bagh was initially been built as the pleasure garden for Mughal Emperor Akbar’s son prince Salim who would later become the Emperor Jahangir (1605-27).
This pleasure resort was constructed when Prince rebelled against his father and took refuge here in 1599.
As the legend has it, the construction of the tombs inside Khusrau Bagh is believed to have started with the death of Shah Begum, originally a Rajput princess of Amber Man Bai.
It is believed that distressed by the discord between Jahangir and his elder son Khusro, Shah Begum committed suicide by swallowing large amount of opium in 1604. Aqa Reza designed her tomb.
It is said that history repeats itself. The park was built as a pleasure resort when Jahangir rebelled against his father.
History was repeated once again and when Khusrau rebelled against his father Jahangir but as luck would have it, he was incarcerated in this park
The Tombs inside Khusrau Bagh
The entrance gateway to the garden is an arched portal with projecting balconies. The mausoleums inside Khusrau Bagh are built entirely of red sandstone.
The design of these mausoleums as well as the gardens is attributed to Aqa Reza who was the chief artist of Emperor Jahangir.
The tomb of Shah Begum is a 3 storied terrace platform without a main mound which is very much similar to the constructions at Fatehpur Sikri which were built during the reign of Akbar.
Next to the mausoleum of Shah Begum is the tomb of Nithar Begum, Khusrau’s sister.
This tomb complex is the most elaborate in terms of architecture. It lies on an elevated platform and is adorned with panels depicting the scalloped arch motif.
Within the platform there are rooms whose ceilings have been elaborately painted with stars in concentric circles.
The tomb of Khusrau is the last of the three tombs in Khusro Bagh. Following an attempt to escape, he was blinded on Jahangir’s instructions.
Khusrau was eventually killed in 1622 on the orders of his own brother Khurram, third son of Jahangir. Khurram later became the next Mughal emperor and took Shah Jahan for his crowning name.
Tomb of Khusrau was completed in 1622. It has latticed jalis (windows) and interestingly the tomb of Khusrau’s mare also lies near his own.
Tomb of Nithar Begum was built on her own instructions between 1624-25. Tomb of Nithar Begum is however empty and it does not contain her tomb within it.
As the fortune would have it the doors to the tomb of Shah Begum and Khusrau were closed. Inside the park people were jogging or having idle talk in groups indifferent to the history of this magnificent Mughal garden mausoleums.
From my venture, one thing was clear that the concerned authorities are not showing enough concern for these exquisite Mughal era monuments.
This park could be turned into tourist attraction just like Lodi Gardens in Delhi only if the concerned authorities show the conviction that they actually care for our heritage and history.
- Trees over Forest
- What is Google Knowledge Graph and a Bonus Video?