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Gaur. Tomb of Makhdum Akhi Sirajuddin.

Gaur. Tomb of Makhdum Akhi Sirajuddin.

Photographer: Ravenshaw, John Henry

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1860

Shelfmark: Photo 978/(2)

Item number: 9782

Genre: Photograph

Photograph taken in the 1860s by John Henry Ravenshaw, one of 45 prints in the album 'Gaur: Its Ruins and Inscriptions'. The ruined city of Gaur is located on the India-Bangladesh border in the Malda district of Bengal. Previously known as Lakshmanavati or Lakhnauti, the city was an ancient capital of Bengal, a seat of the Budddhist Pala dynasty from the 8th century and later the Hindu Sena dynasty in the 12th century. The Hindu kings were overcome by the Delhi Sultanate in the early 13th century and Gaur became the capital of the Sultans of Bengal. Together with neighbouring Pandua it was a centre of provincial Islamic culture until its abandonment in the late 16th century. This view looks toward the entrance of the tomb of Shaikh Akhi Sirajuddin Usman, showing the relief decoration on adjoining stucco walls. Ravenshaw described it: 'At the north-west corner of the tank, but approachable only through a heavy bamboo jungle, is an endowment to Makhdum Shah, a saint whose tomb is still standing. This is conspicuous for its two small but elegant arches...' Akhi Sirajuddin was a Sufi saint of the 14th century, a disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya. He preached in Gaur and Pandua. It is said that Shaikh Akhi buried the robes that he had received from Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya in the northwestern corner of the Sagar Dighi (reservoir or tank) at Gaur. He was interred in c.1357 near his buried robes according to his wishes, and a mausoleum was erected over his grave. The date of construction of the mausoleum is not known, but two inscriptions attached to its gateways show that they were erected in the 16th century by Sultan Alauddin Husain Shah and Sultan Nasiruddin Nusrat Shah respectively.

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