Monday, 22 April 2013

Destination India

West Bengal (PART-VIII)




Malda with its rich historical heritage, is one of the most famous tourist destinations of West Bengal. Nestled at the confluence of the Mahananda and Kalindi rivers, Malda town, with all its grace, adds to the beauty of Bengal

Malda town was previously known as English Bazaar. It got that name from the English factory that was established here in 1771. From Malda, you can visit Gour and Pandua. Gour was the capital of three dynasties of ancient Bengal – The Buddhist Palas, the Hindu Senas and Muslim Nawabs. Pandua once the alternate seat of power to Gour, has the third largest concentration of Muslim monuments in Bengal. Historical Monuments include mosque Jami Masjid (1566) and landmark Nimasari tower across the river. The Malda Museum has a great collection of region's architecture and anthropological specimens. During the 18th century Malda was the seat of prosperous cotton and silk industries. The area grows rice, jute, legumes and oilseeds. Malda is also famous for its mangoes and mulberries. 

Malda has unique cultural extravaganza like Gambhira, Alkap, Kabigan etc. Gambhira is a type of song (originate in chapai Nawabganj, in the Northen region of Bangladesh). It is performed with a particularly distinctive rhythm and dance with two performers, always personifying a man and his maternal Grandfather, discussing a topic to raise social awareness. This kind of song is also quite popular in Malda.

Places to visit: 



Excavating the past at Gour; under the supervision of Archeological survey of India (ASI)


Gaur, has played the capital role for three major dynasties of the West Bengal in the ancient times. They were the Hindu Senas, the Muslim Nawabs and the Buddhist Palas. Gaur, which is on the border of the India and Bangladesh is around 12 km from Malda. It has many historical relics like the ruins of the forts, the Bara Sona Mosque, Dakhil Darwajah which was built in 1425. The attractive colourful tiles on the Gomti Gate and Firoz Minar are the master pieces of art. Apart from this there are relics of the Qadam Rasul Mosque, Lattan Mosque.

 Bara Sona Mosque

Bara Sona Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in India, is located at Gaur-Lakhnauti, about 15 km south of Malda, West Bengal. This is a beautiful shrine featuring the architectural excellence of the Sultanate period.

The Bara Sona Masjid was constructed during the rule of Sultan Hossain Shah and Sultan Nasrat Shah, and has a massive structure, comprising 168 feet by 76 feet, in a rectangular arena with octagonal towers at the corners, giving it a beautiful look. There used to be four gateways to this mosque, out of which only two remain in good shape, one is in conservable status, while the last one completely distressed. The common name of this mosque is – Baraduari Masjid, or the Mosque with 12 doorways, with its corridor running from eastern front, having six doors on each side. The stone built structure has 33 small domes on top, and are known to have been gilded with gold during the flourishing days, and thus came the name ‘Bara Sona’ or Great Golden Mosque. The domes still stand and presumably, the gold gilding is a story, and the brightness of the domes, under the bright sun rays, used to give it a golden look.

The rectangle shaped mosque contains 12 doors and octagonal towers. In architecture style, this mosque resembles the famous Chota Sona Mosque built by Alauddin Husain Shah. Believed to have been built in 1523, Bara Sona Mosque has a spacious veranda with eleven pointed arched doorways. It also possesses two gateways to its east and north. 

Dakhil Darwaza 


This impressive gateway or the Dakhil Darwaja; formed the main northern entrance to the fort of Gaur & was built by Barbak Shah in year 1425 A.D.. The structure is made with red bricks and admired with terracotta work. This gate measuring 34.5 m wide and 21 m in height was once the main gate of a fort that no longer exists. The fort has four corners, which feature five-storey towers. In the south-eastern corner of the fort, there is a 20 m high wall encircling the remnants of an age-old palace. Salutes fired from it gave it the name of "Salami Darwaja". According to Rizvi (the famous historian & the author of the second volume of the famous "Wonder that was India" This Salami Darwaja was the biggest "brick built gateway" ) in the medieval period.

Loton Masque




Popularly known as Loton Masjid (Loton mosque),it was built in the year 1475.Locally it is believed that the king Yusuf Shah built it for his most beautiful courtesan Loton Bibi.It's surface was once entirely faced with colored bricks!

Firoz Minar


Firoz Minar is located close to the Dakhil Darwaza. The tomb was constructed during the reign of Sultan Saifuddin Feroze Shah (1485-1489). The structure is a five-storey tower, which resembles the Qutub Minar. It features a spiralling flight consisting of 84 steps, by ascending which the tourists can reach the top of the tower. The tourists can also view the terracotta carvings on the walls of Firoz Minar. 

Kadam Rasul Mosque


Kadam Rasul Mosque, located close proximity to the Feroze Minar, is believed to have the footprints of Prophet Muhammad on a piece of stone. The four corners of the mosque feature four towers built with black marble. The structure of the mosque was constructed in 1530 by Sultan Nasiruddin Nusrat Shah.            

Tomb of Fateh Khan


The tomb of Fateh Khan built in 17th century is located opposite to the Kadam Rasool Mosque. The tomb is constructed in the style of Hindu Chala, though Fateh Khan was the commander of the army of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor.

Chika Mosque

Chika Mosque was built under the patronage of Sultan Yusuf Shah in 1475. The mosque was named Chika because it was a guarded refuge of bats, locally called Chikas. The mosque features a single-domed edifice, which has almost been turned into ruins.

However, the tourists can view the carvings on the walls and the figures of the Hindu deities on the stonework of doors and lintels, which are partly visible. The structure is unique as it also has traces of the architectural style of the Hindu Temples.

Luko Churi (Hide & Seek) Gate

Luko Churi Gate or the Lakhchhipi Darwaza was built in 1665 by Shah Shuja. It was named so as the Sultan used to enjoy playing hide and seek with his begums here.

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