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it’s top to give timely notice to the city of Gaur. About the imitation elephant’s tusks on the shaft much has been speculated, but it can be said with certainty that these were copied from the Hiran Minar at Fathpur Sikri, both being built during the time of the great Mughal. These could be a sort of a decorative motif, but at the same time a device for hanging human heads as a warning for the pirates roaming in the rivers for merchandise boats, and also perhaps the rebels against Mughal rule. Catherine Asher finds it tempting to suggest that the minar could have been built by Raja Mansingh, Akbar’s general and governor when he was subduing rebel forces in Bengal. The spikes of the

The minar at Old Maldah minar in the event ‘were used to display

(c. late 16th century) rebel heads as a warning’.4

Situated on a river junction the minar was not only functional in character, but also must have been one of the decorative elements of the town viewed from distance and different directions.

3.2 Religious Buildings

Religious Buildings constitute the major surviving remains of the Mughal Period. A large number of them, mostly mosques, are known through centuries because of their continuous use as such, and other because of their sacred sanctions behind them. In fact the character of Mughal architecture in Bengal is more determined by these examples than the secular monuments mostly in ruins. The mosques have been discussed in the following pages in length grouping them into several structure-types, showing the evolution in general of the style. The tombs are also so, but because of negligence in their maintenance they are being gradually perished and encroached


3 In Arabic and Persian the word minar or manar literally means a place where fire (nar) burns. Originally the word was applied to the pharos at Alexandria at the top of which a fire burnt at night as a warning for mariners. Gradually the meaning of the word was extended to denote lighthouses generally, and then during the time of the Muslims to include not only mosque towers (madhana), but also by analogy to embrace any structure whose height is it’s important dimension.

4 An earlier example of the type could be the ‘Chor Minar’ at Delhi built probably by Balban (1266-87 CE) with holes instead of spikes for the reception of the thieves’ heads when cut off, and stuck into these holes as warning signs.

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