Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Muhammad Shah Alam

2. Muhammad Shah Alam : a son of Burhan al-Din who was the founder of Bukhariya Saiyid, and his group had a great religious influence in the Gujarati region and were respected by the ruling class of the Ahmad Shahi dynasty. His dargah consisting of the tomb of Shah Alam, a mosque, tombs and Jama'at Khana (Assembly Hall) is the most famous religious centre among those still venerated by religious Muslims in Gujarat.

From the historical Persian inscription hung at the entrance to the tomb, it can be assumed that the saint died in 880AH (1475). This inscription also mentions that his tomb was constructed in 888AH (1483), and the name of a noble who constructed the tomb is written. As Dr. Rajan stated, there remain various buildings built between 1475 and 1575 in the Dargah of Shah Alam. Among all, two mausoleums and Jama'at Khana, which will be introduced below, are the main buildings.

The tomb of the Sayid Shah Alam is situated roughly in the centre of the east end of this dargah. It is a majestic building on a square plan with a 12-pillared mausoleum with a high dome in the centre of the roof, surrounded by double corridors with 24 small domes on top. It has arch-shaped entrance on all sides. The main entrance on the west having a small dome projects out from the wall. On each wall of the mausoleum, there is an entrance in the centre. On either side of the entrance, there are three arch-shaped windows, over which an arch-shaped part covered by Jali Screen is formed. It helps giving dignity to this mausoleum. When I visited the site, all domes on the roof was painted in white, suggeting that this dargah is still venerated.

?To the west-southwest facing the tomb of Shah Alam, there remains the tomb of Saiyid Makhdum 'Alam. The size, form and structure of the tomb is roughly same as the above tomb. Saiyid Makhdum 'Alam is said to have been the 6th grand son of Shah Alam. This mausoleum also has the entrance projecting out to the east. 24 small domes on the roof are very prominent in this building. Unlike the tomb of Shah Alam, the domes were not painted in white, which conversely gave me strong impression. Inside of this mausoleum is filled with tomb stones. What struck me most was the Jali screen employed on the walls of this squre building. Every pattern was different. I was surprised by the variety of the patterns.

?To the north of this mausoleum, there is a mosque built in the west-northwest of the tomb of Shah Alam. It was constructed later in history. Having an open space with a pond in front of the main building, the noble structure of this construction is quite distinctive. Inside of the prayer room, having a transition with unique sculptures and patterns and mihrab forming simple circular arches, creates unique atomosphere. According to Dr. Rajan, this mosque was constructed by a person called Najabat Khan in the early 17th century and the construction was completed by a person called Saif Khan in 1620. The scluptured patterns on the surface of high and slender minarets on either side of the mosque seemed to me prominently unique.

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