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This type was also used, though in an elaborate form, in the earliest extant royal tomb in Bengal, the Eklakhi Mausoleum. In the Mughal period a number of single-domed square tombs were raised over the remains of ladies of the imperial household at Dhaka and elsewhere in Bengal. The second type, founded on the model of Itimad al­ Daula’s mausoleum at Agra, was more complex and elaborate and, perhaps, that is why less used in Bengal. It rendered itself suitable for family or dynastic mausoleums. There are five extant mausoleums of this type in Bengal; all except one are raised for the imperial household. It’s first extant example is the mausoleum of Shah Nimat Allah at Gaur, erected during the early phase of Mughal architecture. In the mausoleums of Bibi Pari and Bibi Mariam at Dhaka and of Bakht Huma at Rajmahal, it achieved it’s imperial formalism. In the second half of the eighteenth century, the decline of this type is perceptible in the mausoleum at Murshidabad where Nawabs Alivardi Khan and Sirajuddaula lie buried.

Alongside these mausoleums which had their prototypes in the greater tradition of Muslim architecture, there appeared in Bengal funerary structures that can be termed as purely Bengali. In the Eklakhi Mausoleum, which is the earliest Muslim monument translating into brick the regional Bengali thatched dwelling-place, the dome was assimilated into the curvature of the chala roof. Though the brick versions of chauchala roofs on mosques in Bengal date back to the mid-fifteenth-century Sultanate period, the transformation of the actual thatched house with dochala top first appears in a seventeenth-century Mughal monument, the Mausoleum of Fath Khan at Gaur. How this regional feature was integrated with the traditional single-domed square tomb is best evidenced in the last great Muslim tomb in Bengal, the Mausoleum of Khwaja Anwar Shahid at Burdwan.

3.2.3 Qadam Rasuls

Qadam Rasul. Qadam Rasul as a structure appears to have gained popularity in the Mughal period. Following the Qadam Rasul at Gaur built by Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah of the Husayn Shahi dynasty, the Mughals took it as a subject of much importance and constructed a number of them in Chittagong, Dhaka and Murshidabad. But as an architectural piece they do not seem to have attained any distinction deserving worth the name of a structure-type, all of them being constructed as a subsidiary building adjacent to mosques or as antechambers attached to them. The earliest known example appears to be that of Nabiganj near Narayanganj on the opposite and eastern bank of the Shitalakshya. The foot-print situated there was brought according to the authority of Mirza Nathan’s Baharistan-i-Ghayebi by Masum Khan Kabuli, an Afghan chief known much for his rebellion during the time of Akbar. It was at first placed in a raised land within a fortress receiving a fuller attention only after about two hundred years in 1778-78 when a domed chamber containing the relic was erected by Ghulam Nabi, a zaminder of Dhaka. It’s importance was further emphasized in 1805-06 when a two­ storeyed monumental gateway was erected in it’s front by Ghulam Muhammad


Ghulam Nabi’s son. The gateway, three storeyed in the centre, but two storeyed on the flanks, is in colonial style with the Mughal flanking turrets, columns, oriel windows and the central hipped-roof, but with the western semi-circular arch decorated with multi-foiled designs, and elongated archways. The Qadam Rasul is now a much venerated monument.

Two Qadam Rasuls in unpretentious structures are known from Chittagong of which one is placed in an adjacent room of a mosque presently located at Jamal Khan ward of Chittagong City Corporation. From an inscription it is known that the mosque was erected in 1156 AH (1723 CE) by a local Faujdar during the reign of Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah. The other Qadam Sharif is at Bagicha within Chandonaish Thana of Chittagong District.


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