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The City of Mangoes

MaldaMaldaMaldaPanduaEnglish BazaarGaur Gaur
  • General Information

    District: Malda, State: West Bengal, India
    Area: 3733 Sq. Km.
    Languages Spoken: Bengali, Hindi, English
    Long Distance Code: +91-3512
    Best Time to Visit: September to February
  • Description

    Today a part of the urban agglomeration, the Malda town rose to prominence as the river port of the Hindu capital of Pandua. Malda saw three eras of glory the Buddhist Pal dynasty, the Hindu Sena dynasty and the Muslim Nawabs. During the Pal and Sena dynasties, Gaur flourished as a centre of learning, art and culture. During the 18th century it was the seat of prosperous cotton and silk industries and consequently a place of great wealth and prosperity.<br />A foreign settlement was established in 1680. Malda came to be known as Ingraj Bazaar or English Market. Malda is a base for visiting Gaur and Pandua. Gaur, capital to three dynasties of ancient Bengal, the Pal, the Senas and the Nawabs, has seen three distinct eras of glory. Pandua, once the alternate seat of power to Gaur, also has Muslim monuments while gaur has the largest concentration of Muslim monuments in Bengal.
  • Location

    Located 365 km north of Calcutta in the north-central portion of West Bengal, Malda, was formerly known as English Bazaar and lies east on the confluence of the Mahananda and Kalindi Rivers. It shares its borders with Murshidabad in the south and Uttar and Dakshin Dinjapur in the north. The eastern borders are shared with Bangladesh and the western boundaries with the state of Bihar. While Rice, jute, legumes, and oilseeds are the chief crops, the abundant and typical Fazli mangoes serve a great economic activity through its trade.
PanduaGaur once alternated with Pandua as the seat of power. 18 km. north of Malda town, Pandua was another ancient capital of Bengal. Deriving its name from Paundrabardhan, Pandua is the third largest concentration of Muslim monuments in Bengal. The main place of interest is the vast Adina Mosque, built by Sikander Shah in the 14th century. Built over a Hindu temple, traces of which are still evident, it was one of the largest and one of the most imposing mosques in the subcontinent which is now in ruins. \r\nNearby is the Eklakhi mausoleum, so called because it cost Rs 1 lakh to build. There are also several smaller mosques like the Badi Dargah, Choti Dargah and Qutubshahi Masjid.
English BazaarEnglish Bazaar urban agglomeration comprises of Malda town and English Bazaar. A foreign settlement was established in 1680. Malda came to be known as Ingraj Bazaar or English Bazaar when the Dutch, French and the East India Company started trading here. Ingraj Bazaar still houses the district headquarters. It became a municipality in 1867. Malda town is an important railway station in this region. Malda is famous for its mangoes.
Gaur12 km south of Malda and right on the border with Bangladesh is Gaur, a landscape of lush paddy fields. It was first the capital of the Buddhist Pal dynasty which subsequently became the seat of the Hindu Sena dynasty from seventh century A.D. till the establishment of Muslim rule in Bengal in the 13th century. In 1537, during the reign of Sultan Mahmud Shah, the city was destroyed by Sher Shah Suri. The ruins of the extensive fortifications and several large mosques are all that remain.\r\nGaur has many interesting Muslim monuments. \r\nThe Baroduari mosque meaning a mosque with 12 doors is the largest mosque in gaur. It is a gigantic rectangular structure of brick and stone, with 11 doors instead of 12. The construction of this huge mosque was started by Allauddin Hussein Shah and was completed in 1526 by his son Nasiruddin Nusrat Shah. The Indo-Arabic style of architecture and the ornamental stone carvings makes Baroduari a special attraction.\r\nSultan Yusuf Shah built the Chika Mosque in 1475. Now although almost in ruins, it was a beautiful mosque with ornate carvings on the walls. The mosque derives its name from the Chikas or the bats that used to take shelter in its dome. \r\nThe Dakhil Darwaza means an entrance gate is very impressive gateway, built in 1425. Made of small red bricks and terracotta work, this dominating structure is more than 21 m. high and 34.5 m. wide. It was once the main gate to the fort which lies in ruins today.\r\nA small imitation of the Qutub Minar of Delhi is the Firoze Minar. Very near to the Dakhil Darwaza, it was built by Sultan Saifuddin Feroze Shah during 1485-89. This five-storey tower is 26 m. high and 19 m. in circumference. The first three storeys of the tower have twelve adjacent faces each, and the uppermost two storeys are circular in shape. A spiraling flight of 84 steps takes one to the top of the tower. Built in the Tughlaqi style of architecture, the walls of Feroze Minar are covered with intricate terracotta carvings.\r\nWithin walking distance of the Firoze Minar is the Kadam Rasool Mosque. The mosque contains the footprints of Hazrat Muhammad on stone which gives it the name of Kadam Rasool. On the four corners there are four towers made of black marble, with the spires on top covered with intricate artwork. Sultan Nasiruddin Nusrat Shah built the mosque in 1530. Opposite the Kadam Rasool Mosque stands the 17th century tomb of Fateh Khan, a commander of Aurangzeb's army which is built in the Hindu Chala style. A short distance away is the elegant Tantipara Mosque, with its intricate terracotta decoration.\r\nThe Lattan Mosque is said to be built by a dancing girl of the royal court. However, historians believe it was built by Sultan Shamsuddin Yusuf Shah in 1475. Traces of intricate mina work in blue, green, yellow, violet and white on the enamelled bricks lining the outer and inner walls are still visible. It has an arched roof, supported by octagonal pillars.\r\nThe Lukachhipi Darwaza or Lukochuri Gate is located to the south-east of the Kadam Rasool Mosque. Confusion over its builder still reigns. Some believe Shah Shuja built it in 1655, while others say it was built by Allauddin Hussein Shah in 1522. The name means the game of hide and seek and the funny origin lies in the favourite game played by the King with his queens. Built in the Mughal architectural style, this double-storeyed Darwaza functionally acted as the main gateway to the palace.\r\n