Faizabad - a glimpse of the past
Faizabad : Introduction
The names “Umrao Jan” & “Begum Akhtar” are very well known to the connoisseurs of classical Indian dance & Urdu songs like Gazal & Thumri. The two ladies, both famous artists in their respective fields , were from the city of Faizabad near Ayodhya in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
Faizabad, once the capital city of Awadh, has a long history. Now almost reduced to a satellite town to more famous Ayodhya, it boasts of an Army Cantonment besides some highly interesting relics of the past.
A visit to Ayodhya is never complete without a visit to Faizabad for several reasons, both religious as well as historical.
Faizabad : History
Though some say that the ancient city of Saket was Faizabad, others say that Saket was the ancient name of Ayodhya, & not of Faizabad.
The early historical references were found in the 18th century. In 1722, the Mughal imperial court gave the charge of Awadh to Nawab Sadat Ali Khan. The latter constructed the initial settlements along the bank of the river Ghaghra (now also called Sarayu) including a cantonment consisting of a fortress & mud barracks. These temporary dwellings implied a name “Bangla” (meaning “temporary hutment”) to the town that developed around these structures.
Faizabad : Location
Faizabad is the headquarters of Faizabad district & Faizabad division in the state of Uttar Pradesh, india. It is about 6 km from the ancient city of Ayodhya, famous for being the city where Lord Rama was born. It is about 130 km from the state capital Lucknow. It is well connected with the rest of the country by road & railways.
Tourist attractions at Faizabad : Guptar Ghat
Situated on the bank of the holy river Sarayu, it is the place where Lord Rama left his mortal body by drowning (Jal Samadhi). A beautiful place with broad steps leading into the water, with a number of temples on the river –bank, the place is serene & breaths of the memories of Lord Rama. The present day Ghats (bathing areas with broad steps) was constructed by King Darshan Singh in the early 19th century.
There are a number of country boats waiting for the tourists to have a joy ride in Sarayu.
The sunset here is simply awesome to behold.
Bahu Begum ka Maqbara
It is the mausoleum of the Queen Begum Unmatuzzora Banu, also knwn as Bahu Begum. Built by her husband Nawab Suja-Ud-Daula, it is one of the finest examples of Non-Mughal Islamic architecture in India.
One enters through a high gate, & the first thing attracts the eyes is the large dome on the massive structure. The mausoleum is approached by a straight passage lined by tall palm trees. There are parallel water-bodies & flower gardens on either side of the passage resembling the Charbag style. The passage is also lined by lamp-posts, which have fish motifs, beautiful to look at.
The building is a huge one, placed on a high plinth. The square structure has arched high doors. The external walls are decorated with floral & geometric stucco motifs. Inside, the roof & the walls are beautifully decorated with floral & geometric designs in white & blue stucco. The top dome is a huge one, & one can get a good view of the city from the top.
Maqbara of Bahu Begum, Faizabad
Gulab Bari , Faizabad
The name means “Garden of Roses”.
It is the mausoleum of Nawab Suja-Ud-Daula. Approached through a triple-arched gate, the mausoleum complex, constructed by the Nawab himself, contains the tomb of the Nawab, a mosque & Imambara, and beautiful rose gardens from which the place got its name.
The main temple is decorated by beautiful floral & geometric designs in stucco. In addition , there are two large fish motifs which attract eyes.
The central chamber houses the tomb of the Nawab & his mother.
Gulap Bari, Faizabad
Other places to see in Faizabad
It is a large botanical garden, situated close to Guptar Ghat. Built during British rule, it is still in very good condition.
This a small but exquisite temple dedicated to Goddes Durga inside the cantonment area.
Though a mere satellite town to the more famous Ayodhya today, Faizabad should have been a tourist attraction on its own merits. Besides the sense of pathos which one can feel while visiting the Guptar Ghat, the site of Jal Samadhi of Lord Rama, it also brings a whip of nostalgia of its Nawabi past.