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
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