Historical Black Taj, of Bhurhanpur, Madhya Pradesh

.Black Taj Mahal, Burhanpur, MP dccreation99.in

Black Taj MP merwynsrucksack.blogspot.com

The very thought of India conjures up pictures of the Taj Mahal at Agra near Delhi,  lots of Hindu temples and some  distinctive classical dances native to the country. Have you ever heard of Black Taj in India?  This historical monument,  locally called Kala Taj,  located  near Utavali River  river  at Teressa, Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh  state is  actually the tomb of warrior Shah Nawaz Khan, Khan-i-Khana’s son murdered by Mogul ruler Aurangzeb. The town of Burhanpur was  quite well known centuries ago as a Mogul out-post  and often referred to as  the ‘Gateway to the Deccan’  and through passage of time and various dynasties, it has lost all the glamor and become a sort of languid place.  There were many gate ways like  Shanwara Gate, Itwara Gate, Dilli Gate etc. Many historical monuments, a legacy of Mogul rule,  around this town barely survive due to neglect and lack of care.  Then  Mogul Governor  Shah Jahan  spent much of his time  in this town and had  additions made to the  palace  close to the Tapti river called  Shahi Qila. This palace was built by Farooqui   rulers. Shah Jahan  used the palace for administrative purpose and held the court here for three years.  

Burhanpur district map, MP. mapsofindia.com

As for the black Taj, it is actually  the grave of Shah Nawaz Khan, the grandson of Moghul general Bairam Khan which is  below the Mausoleum. It can be  can be reached through a  small stairway, but the place is not well lit hence many visitors skip it.  This  square-shaped structure, standing in the midst of a well-kept garden  has  a fine  a central dome with minarets on the four corners. For aeration purpose arched verandas go all round it. 

Black Taj, Behrampur, MP. outlookindia.com

The reason why it is called Black Taj  is it resembles a bit the Taj of Agra. It could be due to a historical fact that  Mumtaz Mahal (wife of Shah Jahan)  was born and raised here. She also died here in pregnancy during the birth of her 14th  baby Yet another possible explanation is (from the  painting in  the nearby palace) it was at Shahi Qila  the empress was interred temporarily until the completion of her majestic  mausoleum  in Agra.

Inside the mausoleum there are no embellishments, no striking artworks, no marble screens, floral designs, etc., except   remnants of  faded frescoed  walls, painted niches and ceilings They bring to light  during the heyday the mausoleum would have been a beautiful  one to spend time with.  The artwork features seem  to have fallen into a time warp.   The structure is made of locally available blackstone. Further, the exterior part is well blackened due to aging and  lack of periodic cleaning of exterior walls. 

Black Taj, Burhanpur  MP facebook.com

There many monuments - mostly graves here and mention may be made of  the following: Paandan Mahal (it takes the name from the shape), a  monument in a dilapidated state,  is close to the mausoleum,  Shah Jahan was married to Shahnawaz Khan’s daughte - Mumtaz Mahal. There is also a mausoleum of Bilqis Begum - begum Shah Shuja ka Makbara, wife of Shah Shuja, son of Shah Jahan. Shah Shuja was mercilessly murdered in public by his treacherous brother Aurangzeb to get to the Mogul throne. 

The monuments, I have heard people say, need the immediate attention of the ASI - Archaeological Survey of India as they are literally in bad shape. Burhanpur, is about 180 km from Indore city. 180km south of Indore. These old monuments can be repaired and conserved and there is potential to make it a fine tourist spot with extra facilities like restaurants, amusement park, etc. Will the ASI and the MP government look into it and make this area attractive to the tourists?