The site where her body lay for six months before being taken to Agra is in ruins
Rabindranath Tagore called the Taj Mahal “a teardrop on the cheek of time”. But spare a thought for the neglected land where the initial tears of a grieving husband and children first fell. It was this trail of tears that led me to the small town of Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh.
In Burhanpur, to the village of Zainabadi.
the Badshahi Qila, which had been built by the Faruqi rulers of Khandesh, who had ruled Burhanpur from the 14th to 16th century. Akbar’s army occupied Burhanpur in 1599 and it became the Mughal capital of Khandesh. Akbar’s son Daniyal was made the Subedar of the new province. The shikaar-loving, pleasure-seeking prince built an Aahukhana, or deer park, opposite the Badshahi Qila in the village of Zainabad on the banks of the river Tapti.
When Khan Jahan Lodi rebelled against the Mughal empire, little did he know of its impact on the life of the emperor and eventually India. Shah Jahan moved to Burhanpur to quell the revolt, and as was her norm, Mumtaz Mahal, though pregnant with her fourteenth child, went with him.
It was in this Baradari that Mumtaz Mahal lay in her coffin for six months before being taken to Agra.
This building also within the aahukhana is said to be the place where she was given her ceremonial funeral bath.
The Shahi Qila on banks of Tapti river.
Shah Jahan had least expected this complication and was inconsolable when his beloved wife left for the next world. Mumtaz Mahal was laid to rest in the Aahukhana. A week later, Shah Jahan came to the Aahukhana and recited the fateha for his wife’s soul and wept over her grave. As long as he stayed in Burhanpur, he came every Friday to recite the fateha.
Locals tell me that Shah Jahan had initially decided to build a grand mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal on the banks of Tapti, but due to difficulties in transporting marble from Markana, and the composition of the soil which had termites, he selected Agra. One local heritage enthusiast even told me that the image of the mausoleum would not fall on the Tapti, so the idea was abandoned. Unfortunately, logistics stole Burhanpur’s place in history and bestowed it on Agra.
In the Hindu