Tomb of Sher Afghan in Bardhaman
The Tomb of Sher Afghan which is the burial ground of this last Afghan jagirdars of the city of Bardhaman, is located beside Pir Beharam close to the Rajbati. Also known as Ali Quli Khan Istaju, Sher Afghan was often called the ‘Durgadhipati’ of Bardhaman and he lived in Burdwan as a ‘Jagirdar’ during the late Mughal period which was also considered to be an important administrative headquarters. Kutubuddin, the Subedar of Bengal was also the milk-brother of Jahangir, who succeeded the throne after Akbar.
According to the legends, Jehangir was greatly infatuated by seventeen year old Mehrunissa (meaning ‘sun among women’ in Persian), Sher Afghan’s wife who he had married in the year 1594 and after becoming the Emperor, Jehangir was anxious to bring her over to his harem. To add to this, in the year 1607, Sher Afghan revolted against Jehangir and certain other Mughal rules and to get control over the situation, Jahangir had deputed Kutubuddin as his Subedar to fight with Sher Afghan. Ultimately, both Kutubuddin and Sher Afghan were killed in a fatal duel in the year 1610 near the Burdwan Railway Station.
The tombs of both these men lie side by side beside the burial ground at Pir Baharam. Meherunnisa, the widow of Sher Afghan was later sent to Delhi and she married Jahangir in the year 1611. She later changed her name to Noor Jahan and became a powerful and charismatic Mughal empress who ruled India for quite a length of time.
The Tomb of Sher Afghan is a popular tourist spot in Bardhaman and quite a number of people visit the place during festive occasions. The place is a mere two and a half kilometres from the Bardhaman railway station and can make tourists revisit the regal and imperial era where the opulent charm and elegance of the Mughal history could captivate and dazzle the visitors.
This historical spot is maintained and looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India which is an Indian government agency in the Department of Culture that is responsible for archaeological studies and the preservation of cultural monuments and sites of national and international importance. The ASI protects and conserves the historical legacy of the bygone era of the Mughal period that is reflected in the structures and ruins of the tomb of Sher Afghan. The geographical location of this ancient monument of yore is at a latitude of 23°17'18.32" and at a longitude of 87°46'59.23".
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