GLIMPSES OF A TOWN WITH MILITARY HISTORY : MUNGER

Glimpses of Military History of Munger

Munger is a district town in Bihar in eastern India.

I first visited Munger in April,08 on invitation of ITC to be one of their representatives in Institute Management Committee of ITI, Munger. The 2nd visit was on 30th June,08. After the meeting at ITI was over, I took a break to have a look at the scenic spots of Munger. I had a plan to visit a near-by hill-top and the Fort area. Light was fading and what I could manage was 30 to 40 minutes on the hill top. Reportedly, both Rabindranath and Saratchandra, the famous Bengali writers , found a quiet area on this hill top to sit down and pen their writings.But, there was no plaque or Notice Board to be found on this hill giving a visitor more details.

What drew my interest was a ruin of a Military quarters ,built by Mir Qasem, king of Bengal and Bihar between 1760 and 1764 AD.

Later, on my way to Lakkisarai station on the morning of 1st July,08, I passed through the Fort area, which is tight on the bank of the Ganges. Here , I saw the underground tunnel Mir Qasem had constructed, joining the Fort with the Military barrack I saw the previous evening.

On my return to Calcutta, I searched the Internet to learn more about Munger and its history.

I learnt that Munger first got a major position in the history of Eastern India.Muhammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khalji was probably a Turkish slave and later became a Turkish general.He approached India in 1193 AD . His influence in Delhi started after his remarkable campaigns in Bihar and Bengal. The fortress of Munger was captured by him and in early 13th century and thus started the Muslim rule of eastern part of India.Later, during the period of Akbar, his general Todar Mal established his HQ at this place in the 17th century.Shuja was Sultan of this area when he started his rebellion against his brother Auranghjeb.

Later during the 18th century, Munger became capital of Mir Qasem's capital when he decided to shift out of Murshidabad. He was offered the throne by the Britishers of the East India Company. He made a handsome payment to the Britishers and built up a good army through re-adjustment of land revenue. But, he did not get along with the Britishers for long and lost his kingdom.

The Military barrack's ruin I saw is known by the nos of rooms and doors it had: 56 rooms and 52 doors. First floor of the brick structure is nearly roofless..A few vertical pillars stand.Ground floor rooms are sealed with brick walls for safety.The connection of the tunnel I wrote about earlier in this hub cannot be seen as a group of workers are chipping away the rock around to make stone chips! Three boys, playing in the building , took me around and help me to climb down as the staircase was dark after the sun went down.

On this hill, there was a big Pir-baba's tomb and a large mansion converted to Doordarshan's set-up. Right in front of the staircase leading up to the Pir-baba's tomb, I found a grave with no clue about its age . Its prominence led me to believe, the person buried here might have had important connection with the Pir-baba.At the foot of the hill, while I was taking snaps of a decades old banyan tree and Hanumanji's idol, I met an old man who looks after the Pir-baba set-up. He revealed his identity at the very last minute when I was about to return to ITC.I could have spent a few minutes with him, learning about the history of the buildings on the hill.

Next morning,I started from the Guest House a little early to spend some time at the Fort area. I could see only a bit of it. The morning sky was very cloudy.The light was not helpful for photography. The river was full. But, capturing the expanse and the rush of water were not possible in the dim light condition.I saw another Pir-baba's tomb, the boundary wall of a very large college of Yoga ( a must visit during the next trip to Munger) , the end of the tunnel Mir Qasem got constructed from this river-bank to the hill I was strolling around yesterday. On a slight elevation, next to the staircase of this tunnel,there was the grave of Mir Qasem’s daughter. The whole area was covered with thick undergrowth and it was raining….therefore, I could not go up and take photographs of this relic. Whatever photographs I took this morning, however, disappointed me.

But, on the whole, I enjoyed this brief introduction to this place which has a big place in the history of Muslim rule of India.I wish Bihar Tourism had devoted a bit more attention to the potential of Munger developing as a torist spot.Apart from the Military history, it offers breath-taking view of the Ganges, which, I could not capture in my camera.

If a visitor of Munger has time , s/he can visit Bhimbandh sanctuary ,50 km away from the town.There are hot springs and dense forest.WEll, I have learnt about it from Internet site of Bihar Tourism.Please view :http://bstdc.bih.nic.in/Destinations.htm

Reference websites :

1. http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Monghyr

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mir_Qasim

3. http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/M_0257.htm

4. http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/M_0257.htm

5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakhtiyar_Khalji

Photos from my 2nd trip tp Munger

Two boys stand in front of the  grave of the unknown person . From the hill-top, I could see the view of the Ganges in the horizon. Notice the the split in the stream.
Two boys stand in front of the grave of the unknown person . From the hill-top, I could see the view of the Ganges in the horizon. Notice the the split in the stream.
Ruins of Military Barrack, constructed during 1760s.
Ruins of Military Barrack, constructed during 1760s.
A view of the ground floor of the Military barrack - the entrance to the rooms have been closed for preservation and safety.
A view of the ground floor of the Military barrack - the entrance to the rooms have been closed for preservation and safety.
The 1st floor terrace of the Military barrack. One can imagine the the parties Mir Qasem's soldiers held here with drinks and courtesans !! The roofs of the rooms,seen at a distance ,have disappeared.
The 1st floor terrace of the Military barrack. One can imagine the the parties Mir Qasem's soldiers held here with drinks and courtesans !! The roofs of the rooms,seen at a distance ,have disappeared.
Pir-baba's tomb on the Hill-top
Pir-baba's tomb on the Hill-top
This old man looks after the Pir-Baba's tomb.
This old man looks after the Pir-Baba's tomb.
A view of the of the pillar to the palace of the erst-while landlord... Senybabu.Reportedly,he is now resides in Calcutta and the building houses Doordarshan's Office.
A view of the of the pillar to the palace of the erst-while landlord... Senybabu.Reportedly,he is now resides in Calcutta and the building houses Doordarshan's Office.
Landlord's palace (now TV office) from a distance.
Landlord's palace (now TV office) from a distance.
The reluctant Yadav. I found him loitering around the Hanumanji's (open air) temple at the foot of the hill.I wanted to take snap of the necklaces with beads .He would not agree to allow me to take his photo . As a compromise, I did not take photogra
The reluctant Yadav. I found him loitering around the Hanumanji's (open air) temple at the foot of the hill.I wanted to take snap of the necklaces with beads .He would not agree to allow me to take his photo . As a compromise, I did not take photogra
The Hill-end of the 250 year old tunnel Mir Qasem got constructed during his rule.Surely, it covers quite a few miles.I could not find the data.
The Hill-end of the 250 year old tunnel Mir Qasem got constructed during his rule.Surely, it covers quite a few miles.I could not find the data.
Tunnel's other end in the Fort area.
Tunnel's other end in the Fort area.
Exit from the Fort area.  Restoration process did not take care to retain the old-age charm !
Exit from the Fort area. Restoration process did not take care to retain the old-age charm !

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Comments 22 comments

gopi krishna pathak,munger 4 years ago

sir,vvthanks,i,m frind of gyan shankar sahay of1965 at sanskrit school at munger,now i am at dhanbad from40y,last 9month ago i was at usa in kentucky stat


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 4 years ago from Calcutta Author

Dear Mr Deo,

Unless Bihar Govt's Tourism dept takes interest, not much can happen.

You can start with DM of Munger district - in cases/he is interested, she can guide you. You can approach ITC,Munger who has a history of century-old association.

I would invite you to start a page on Munger in facebook and I can post the photos which will showcase the interesting spots of Munger as clicked by me.


Gaurav Deo Sah 4 years ago

Dear Mr. Chatterjee,

Thanks for making such a beautiful presentation on Munger. Being a part of Munger I too realized the great potential of the city to be developed as a tourist place. For such a long time this city has been ignored by the government despite of its rich and long history. I want to draw the attention of the people on the rich heritage of this city. I will do as much as I can if I get some support from some enthusiastic people like you who loves this city. Please comment with your useful suggestion.

Thanks & Regards


upal19 profile image

upal19 5 years ago from Dhaka

Very interesting hub. Nice photographs cover the history.


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 6 years ago from Calcutta Author

Dear Mr Sahay,

Thanks for your comments.

I hope you have gone through my 2nd posting .I you happen to return to this page , I shall ask you to have a look at the photos of the Ganges I have posted in flickr.com/cshyamal.


Gyan Shankar Sahay 6 years ago

Dear Shyamal Chatterjee

Excellent and lovely presentation about Monghyr.My native place is place is Monghyr and i was thrilled to read your article and felt as if I am in Monghyr. i would like to share one more information so far as its historicity is concerned. The mythological name of this Monghyr is Anga desha and as a mark of friendship with Duryodhana, Karna was made the king of this place. There is also a KarnaChaura , from where this great king used to give Charity (DAAN). Beautiful Ganges is one of the greatest attraction of Monghyr.

However, I must thank you for your nice article.


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 6 years ago from Calcutta Author

Thanks Abhishek.... pl contact me @ shyamalchatterji@gmail.com


Abhishek 6 years ago

Hello

Very nice. This is the perfect remark to your work. Munger happens to be my home town. Your photos show the place very beautifully. I liked them a lot. If you have any more photos please share with me. I have quite a few of Munger and other places in India where I have been visiting. Even I can share them with you.

Thanks


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 7 years ago from Calcutta Author

Thanks Kaiser.

It will be interesting if you have in your album old photos, which can enliven this or another write-up !


kaiser, 7 years ago

congratulations .u hav done a great job.little i would like to add as i am from munger itself.it was one of the most planned town in bihar with connecting roads and lanes,magnificent palaces which is in the main market place,large railway workshop in jamalpur and production of mica as well.it is the only place in india along with allahabad where river ganges takes Uturn and flow in opposite direction for a short distance,company gargen,polo ground,town hall,and SITA KUND (hot water spring very famous for religious reasons).


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 7 years ago from Calcutta Author

I am very happy to receive such positive comments from Praveen whose home town is Munger.


Praveen 7 years ago

Hi

Excellent ,for the last many months I have not visited my home town so it made me nostalgic and evoked some very warm and vivid feeling .This town needs attention from government for its heritage and history to be exploited.You put a very good effort to put some good info on net.


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 8 years ago from Calcutta Author

Thanks Princessa.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France

beautiful pictures and description, almost like having a walk along with you!


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 8 years ago from Calcutta Author

The tunnel is inaccessible !

Only the two ends are visible. An intermediate outlet near the Barrack has vanished because a group of people are breaking away the surface of the hillock for stonechips !!


Surath Chatterji 8 years ago

Well written and illustrative! Could have posted a few more pics of the tunnel from inside...!! :)


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 8 years ago from Calcutta Author

Kanad,

sure i shall let u know.

couple of locations @ munger is excellent.

if u r enthusistic, follow the links i hv provided on the text portion.


Kanad Sanyal 8 years ago

Please let me know next time you are scheduled to visit Munge. I shall try to tag along. Excellent history and photos.

Existence of Pir Baba's tomb and the Hanuman mandir once again emphasise the tolerant nature of the multi religious and multi cultural frabric that is India. This is found everywhere - wherever there is a temple, there is a mosque. have you been to Varanasi? One of the most holy hindu temple shares the wall with a mosque!! Closer home, do not miss the Tipu Sultan mosque and the neighbouring temple at Tollygunj Phari.

Graet effeort. Shall keep on watching out for more.


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 8 years ago from Calcutta Author

Thanks Ahmedbhai


Ahmed Sharif 8 years ago

Nice story accompanied by descriptive photos....... its always great to see the effort you are putting in this work of yours.......... all my best wishes......


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 8 years ago from Calcutta Author

India is certainly a multi-cultural society.You will wonder : how many religious practices one can find in India !


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal

Nice hub and photos. It´s interesting to know how many cultures have influence in India´s actual culture and patrimony. For sure this makes India´s culture even richer. Thanks for sharing ;)

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