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CHUNAR

 

 This  historic place lies in latitude  25.7 North &  Longitude  80.55 East , 32 Km.east of Mirzapur  And  is  connected  by  rail  and  road. It  is  also connected by rail with Varanasi via. Mugalsarai in the east.Tradition  asserts  that  Bawan Bhagwan disguishing himself  as a  Brahamana begged three steps of land from king Bali. His first foot-step rested upon the hill of Chunar impressing it with his foot-mark.Consequently, the  hill came to be known as Chunar Adri  or  footstep   hill. With    the  passage  of  time , the  name  became Chunar. In   the  course  of   time  the  religious  significance of  this  place increased considerably. It is aid that Bhati Nath,brother of  the  half    Mythical  Vikramaditya of  Ujjain, having embraced  the habit and profession of a hermit ,selected the rock of Chunar as his place of retirement.

Vikramaditya is said to  have discovered   the hidding  place of  his brother  by the aid of  certain holy  hermit named  Gorakhnath, and  to have visited Chunar  and  built  for  his  brother  a residence, he  in his religious  obsarption  having  neglected to provide  any  shelter  for himself. And a variant of  the  legend,already given, states that it is  the asint urf  saint, not  God  himself,Who is  invisibly  seated on the  black  stone in the saint,ashrine on  the  summit of the hill. The next  name  connected  with  the   fort  is  that  of  Prithiviraj, who is  reported  to  have  effected a settlement in this, part of  the country and to brought  under   his   rule a  number  of  the surrounding  villages. After his  death  the country  is said  to have   been   taken   from  his   successors  by  one  Khair-ud- din   Subuktagin. It   appears , however  from  a mutilated   sanskrit   inscription    the   gateway  of    the  fort   that    the  place   was  again   recoverd   by  one Swami Raja, who put  up the stone to commemorate the event.

The fort  was  finally acquired  by  sahab-ud-din,who  appointed  a  ceryain  sanidi,  an  African, and  a  Bahelia, with  the  title  of  hazari,  as  the  governers   of  the   fort , at   the   same   time  conferring   on   them  a   jagir  is   said   to  have   remained   with   the  Bahelia family  through   all  (the  British)   its   succeeding viciasitudesuntil   its  final  cession  to   the  British  in 1772. Chunar did  not  become  a  fortress  of   first  rate  importance   till   the  sixteenth  century, when   the struggles between  the pathans  and   Mugals for  the  mastery  of  the  east   took  place  to   which  it  was  regarded  as   the key,Baber visited  the  place in 1529 A.D. and   qwing  to  the  number  of   wild   beasts  that  infested   the   neighbourhood,  lost   many  of  his  soldiers.

These  men  were  subsequently  venerated  as  martyrs  and  their  tombs  are  still  to be seen  scattered  about  the neighbourhood. Serkhan  sur , afterwards  the  emperror  Sher  Shah, obtained  possession of  the  fort  by marrying  the  wife of  deceased Govern  and  for some time resided in  it. He  built  the Turkish bath (haman)  and  armoury (silah-khana). He  refused  to   give  it  up  to  Humayun  n  1536,  whereupon  Humayun   besieged  it  for six  months, ultimately  succeeding  in  capturing  it by  means of a  floating  battery  built  high  enough  to command  the  fortifications.But  no  sooner  had  be  continued  his  advance  into Bengal, than  it  fell   into  the  hands of Sher Khan again and it was  not  until  1575  A.D., that  it was  recovered  by  Akbar.

The  latter  visited Chunar for shikar(hunting) . He also built  the  watergate in 1586 A.D.Which  is the date  engraved on  the stone archway. Until  1750A.D. it  remained  with   the  Mughals. The emperor  Jahangir   appointed  one  Iftikhar  Khan  as  its  nazim,  and  in   the  regin  of  Aurangzeb  one  of  itsGovernors  was   Mirza   Bairam   Khan,  who  built   a  mosque  ther   in  1663 A.D. near the Bharion Burj.But after  the  disruption  of   the  Mughal  empire,  the  fort   fell  into  the  hands of  the  nawab  vizir of Avadh, and through all  the subsequent  aggressions and   intrigues  it  was  the  only  place  which  Balwant  Singh  was  not able, or  did  not  dare, to  reduced   into  his  possession. In  1764  an   unsuccessful   attack  was  made  on  it by  the British  troops  under  major Munro.

Two  assaults  failed  and  the  size  was   turned   into  a  blackade which,  however, was  abandoned  owing  to  the  menacing  attitude  of  Shuja-ud-daula   after an unsuccessful  night  attack, a breach  was  effected  in  the  south  western  rampart  from  batteries erected  on Gaddess  fort was  exchanged   for  that  of   Allahabad, but  in  772 it  was   formaly  ceded   to  the  East   India  Company , who  established  in  it  a  depot  for  artillery  and  ammunition. After  Chet  Singh's  outbreak  in  781, Warren Hastings   retired   for  safety  to  Chunar  fort  where  a  force  was  collected   under   major  Popham,  which  expelled  Chet   Singh   from   his  strongholds   in   the  neighbourhood. In  1791 ,  Chunar   fort   became   the  headquarters   of   invalid   battalion  of  European  and  Indian  troops  serving  in  India, all  officers   and  men who  were  unfit  for  field  service, being  sent   here  for  light  duty .

From 1815  onwards  the fort   was  used  as a  place  of  confinement  for state  prisoners. During  the  freedom  struggle of  1857-58 , it  was  garrisoned  by   the   artillery   and   infantry   company  of  the  European   invalid   Battalion   and   all  the  district  officers and   European  residents. The  enclosure of  Bhartri  Nath's   shrine  was  once  being   used  as  civil  treasury .It   was  garrisoned  until   the  year 1890,  when   the   troops   were   finally   withdrawn,  the  buildings  in  thefort   being  handed  over  to  the  charge  of   the  civil   authorities  who  first   used  it  as  a  convalescent  jail .Later  on  it   was  turned   into  a  religious   place. 

The    fort   contains   some   buildings   of    historical   and   archaeo-logical    significance . The  building  known  as  Sonwa   Mandap   has   28   pillars   reflecting   purely the Hindu  style  of  architecture.There  is engraving  on the  mehrab   which,  it   is  said,  was   filled  with  gold.In  the  back  portion  there  is  the  samadhi  of  Bhartri  Nath .At   present  religious ceremonies  are also  held   there. It  has  four  gates. There  is  a  tunnel  in  font  of  this  building. It   is  s aid  that  in 1333  A.D.  princess Sonwa, daughter  of  Sandeva , a  Nepali   king  ,used  to  go  to  take  bath  in  the  river  Ganga   through   this  tunnel , which  leades  down  from  the  fort . There  is  about  17M. diameter  and  about  200M. deep  bawali in   the  fort  still  having  water. It  is  said   that  princess  sonwa  used  to  take  bath here. It  is  also said  that  it  is  connected  with  the  Ganga   which  supplies  water  to  it.  Less   than  one  Km. south  west  of  the  fort is   situated  the  tomb  or dargah  of  Shah  Qasim   Sulmiani.  it   is  a   building  of  considerable  architectural ,pretensions.

The  saint   whose  remains  are   interred   here  is  said to  have  been  an  Afghan   by  birth  and to  have  lived  during  the reigns  of    kbar   and   Jahangir ,  the    date   of    his    being    given  956   Hijri  or  1549   A.D.  and    the   age  of   27 he   be  took  himself   to  a   holy   life,  and   setout   to  visit   the  sacred   places  at   Mecca  and  Medina. The  Pristige  gained   by   his   pilgrimage   procured   him  on   his   return   a  considerable  following  of  disciples, but  unfortunately  he  incurr- ed  the  displeasure  of  Akbar  by  declining to subscribe to that monarch's  views on religion.During  Akbar  by  declining  to   subscribe  to   that monarch's views  on religio.During  Akbar reign he was  not molested further  than  having  his place of  residence fixed  at Lahore, but  on  the accession of  Jahangir  his enemies  represented  to  the king  the danger of  all-owing  Shah  Qasim to  attract so  large  a  number  of  followers.

At  first  Jahangir  appears to have  contemplated  punishing the  saint  with  death .But  better counsel prevailed and Shah  Sulamiani  was  sent  as  prisioner  to  his  Chunar in  1606  A.D. where  he died  the  following year.His disciples erected the mausoleum into his memory  and  his two sons  were  installed  as  its  chief attendants.The process of  canonization  was  now complete,and Jahangirhimself  recognized  the sanctity of  the shaine  by a  grant  to  the saint's son of 30 bighas of land in the advacent village ofTikar.Oneof  the sons, Shah  Kabir Baba,become a  saint ,and  his disciplesset up a mausoleum to his memory at Kanauj.Another son , Muhammad Wasih, and  two grandsons,Muhammad  Afzal  and  Muhammad Hakim, were  honoured  with tombs near that of Shah Qasim.

Further additions to the landed estate of the shrine were made in the regins of Shah Jahan and Farrukhsiyar.To the latter it owes  the gift of  the  village  of  Begpur.Poor  Muslim  travelers  were provided with food for three days out of the income derived  from the estates.The annual  offerings  to  the  saint   take  place  between   the 17th  and 21st  days  of  the  month  jamadi-ul-awwal, and  during  March  and  April  five dargah fair are held  on Thursday which are  attended  by  all  classes, prays and  praise  being  conjoined  with a  brisk Market in wordly  goods. The buildings  are  seven   in  number.First  there  is  the mausoleum of  Shah Qasim  himself.

It  is enclosed by  lattice stone walls,outside which standing on stone basements,are the graves of his disciples in groups,being seprated from each  other  by  beautifully carved stand   it  is  belived   that   these  when  gently  rubbed  by  one  of  his  disciples, poor  out  a  divine  effluence through  entrance  gate  there  is  a  brief  inscription in five lines all of which, except  the last ,are  in  Arabic and consist  of   paraises  of   the   saint,  the  date  given  in  1607  A.D. There   are   two  other   mausoleums , one  belonging  to  the   saints  son,   Muhammad  Wash, and   the  other  to  his  grandsons  Muhammad  Afzal  and Muhammad Hakim, and  the other buildings include the Nakkashi  Darwaza or  principal  gateway, the  Fawara  Sawan  Bhadon  or  mountain  of   the  rainy  season, the  Range  Mahal   on   the  corner   walls  of  which   are  engraved  16  persian  couplets,  and   the  mosque.

The  last six  were  all built it is said, by  Muhammad Wasihin  1618 A.D.There are beautiful  carvings on the  principal gateway and the stone lattice with which the gardenis   enclosed. less   than  one  Km. up  a  narrow   revine  to  the   south-southwest   to   the  railway   station   is a  perennial  spring , called  Durga  Kund. To  the  north  side  of  the  ravine   stands  the  temple  of  Kamakshi   Devi,  and   just  below  it a  small  old  temple.The  ravine or Jhima nala,is spanned by a bridge,which leads to arow of three dalansor cloisters  formmed by  building  against  the face of  the rock.Against  the  back wall  there is a low platform,or  seat ,about 38 cm.high and 40 cm. broad, which was  probably  intended  for the reception of  statues.Sculptured  on the rock there are  several  figures of  lions, forses, and  elephants in outline .The  face of  the  rock is about 3/2 metres high,above which the constructions exist.

The whole  back wall  is  covered with short inscriptions of many ages begining from the Gupta period.Similar inscriptions are  also cut  in   the rock  of Durga  Khoor Durga cave, a little further up the ravine,near which an annual  fair is held  on the  ninth day of the Durgapuja  festival.The cave is simply  an old  quarry  which  has been  converted   into a  dwelling  by  building up   two  pillars  under  the  edge of the overhanging  rock , but  the  inscriptions  are of  considerable  antiquity, several  of  them  being of  the  Gupta  period, through  they are  chiefly  the  personal  records  of  pilgrims whohave visited  the  cave of  Durga  where   she  is  said to have sprung out of  the  rock .There  are  several  other interesting buildings  about  the outskirts of Chunar.The  mausoleum of   Iftikhar   Khan, nazim  in  the  reign  of  Jahangir , known as  the old  tahsildari,  lies  beyond  the  Jirgo. Near  the  only   gate  by  which   admittance  is  Gained   there   is  a  baoli  (well)  called  the  "robber's  cave" with  steps  leading  down  to  the  water's  adge.Formerly a subterranean  passage led from the  latter to the mausoleum,but this has long  since been  closed.

An inscription over the well shows the date of its construction to have been A.D.1605.The  tomb of saiyid  Bahadur Ali  is on a high  stone platform at Tikaur. He was a large land holders in the neighbourhood, who was  assigned a  grant  of  land  rent-free  by  Shah  Jahan. He adopted the usages and habits of a faqir and is much venerated by  the  people  of  the  neighbourhood who built  a tomb.It is affirmed that the tomb was originally of  stone but it  was mysterously transformed  into white  marble.Close  to  the railway  station  is situated ,on the boarders ofa swamp , Phulwaria. In  the days of  raja  Sahadeo, a  mythical  raja of  the  fort, who  had  a  daughter  named Sunnia  who was  married  to Alha , the  Benapher   hero  of  Mahoba, there was  a  garden   here,  the  flowers from  which  used  to  be offered  daily  to  his  residence  here  called  idol  at  Durga  Kho. Udal is said to havetaken up his residence here for a brief spell,and the  garden  is  said  to have  been  the  model  of  one made  bySaiyid Jamal-ud-din,anazim of Chunar  in  the  reign of Qutb-ud-din  Aibak, at  Benares  which  was  famed  forthe excellence of its melons.

Near it is a  monastery  called  Achraj,  composed  of  blocks of  stone  buildings  in  which  accommodation   was  provided  for monks, pilgrims, and  others  who came to worship. Along a terrace near  the entrance  is an array of Hindu deities with grotesque countenances.It is said to be the birth place of  the great Hindu  hieresiarch Swami Ballabhach-arya or , according  to  another  version ,of  his son  Bithal Nath, in whose honour  the  edifices  were  built. At  the declivity of  a  hill , believed to be the Sonwar Pahar,south east of   Phulwaria,there are the remains of  a  small mosque.

 

           VINDHYACHAL

 This  is  a  large  agricultural  town  lying in latitude 25.10 North and longitude 82.31 East,(a part of Mirzapur- cum – Vindhyachal   municipal  board) 11  Km.  West   of    Mirzapur   with   is   connected   by  a metalled road.The  ancient  town of Vindhyachal , famous  in  the Puranas , is said  to have been included  within the  circuit  of  the  ancient city of pampapura .Pampapura is supposed  to have  been an old  Bhar city covering  several  Km.of  area.Tradition says  that  this city once possessed  150  temples, all  of   which  were destroyed by Aurangzeb.The place is celebrated as  containing the shrine of  the  goddess Vindhyeshwari  Devi , which   is visited  by  thousands  of  pilgrims  annually  from  all  parts  of  India ,especially  central  and southern India.The temple ,which is  built  of stone  is of rectangular form,sorrounded by a  verandah,the whole encompassed  by a flight  of   five  steps.

The  roof  is  flat  and  the pillars that support it interior   chamber of it  of plain and  coarse workmanship.The image of the goddess is in an interior chamber of small size,the walls being constructed of large coarse  stones. The  head of   the  figure  is of  black stone  with  large  eyes, the whites of which  are formed of plates of  burnished silver, and  the  feet   rest  on  black  rat .The  building  must  be one of   great antiquity .On  the river front  is the devighat, a  fort  like structure adorned  with  six bastions, which  just out  into the river and has a flight of  about 80 steps . From  this  a  long  narrow   paved street leads  to the temple  which  is  about  8Km.distant. The place contains post office , a police station , a pound, a dispansary and a school.   

 

           TARKESHWAR MAHADEV                             

There is reference of Tarkeshwar Mahadev in Puran's which is situated in the  east  of  Vindhayachal. At  present  this  Is in  Tarkapur  ward  of Mirzapur.Before   the  temple  there  was  a  big  Kund  which  had been dug by a jiant (Asur) named  Tarak . Tarak  was  killed  by  Lord  Shiva  so  called Tarkeshwar Mahadev.Near  Kund   there  were  several  shivling . According   to  tradition  God   Vishanu dug a pond in the west of Tarkeshwar and established a temple of lord Shiva.Now it is disappear and stimulated in Ganga river. goddess Laxmi sacrificed herself here at Tarkeshwar. As per tradition Goddess Laxmi lives here in  the form of another Goddess called Vaishnavi with Goddess Saraswati. 

       

           PUNYAJALA RIVER

                              

The  river  which  flow  between  Mirzapur  and  Vindhayachal  is  Called Punyajala  (Ojhala) . It   is  said  about  the  ojhala  that  it is  greatest in all Tirth , as  Ashwamegh in all Yagya, Himalya in all mountain  and truth in  all  Brata  .The  Water  of   this  river  is  as  holy  as  Ganga  river. This is surrounded  by  Goddess  Kali  Temple, Maha  Laxmi , Maha  Sarsawati and Tarkeshwar Mahadev.         

 

           NAGKUND

 

Nagkund is stand in the west of Punyajala river  there  are fifty twosteps  around  the  kund. It  was  famous  that  there  was  so  many container(Patra) in  kund and when devotee prayed for his daily  necessities with kund the  container  floated  on  the  water level in  kund  itself . Devotee  got  and satisfied  with  it further  they  kept  the  container in  Kund  and patra dipped in  kund  again . It  was  the most  importance  of  this  kund  for which it was famous. Traditionally  it is  called pilgrims  got Akshaya  punya  after  taking bath in the kund at Panchami of Shukla Paksha of sawan

 

           MAHA TRIKON

                             

Devotee  and  pilgrims  gets  his desirable  Sidhi after  Parikrama of  Maha Trikon  as  it  is  said. After  visiting  at  temple  of  Vindhayavashni  Devi  they goes to Sankat Mochan (Mahabir) temple as well as Kalikhoh which is in south of Vindhayachal  railway  Station. Devotee visit at Goddess kali and worshiped they  make  them  pious  with   the  water  of Kali  Kund. They  completed  their Parikrama  after  visiting  at  saint  Karnagiri  Bawali. There  are  severl temples Situated of  Bhairwas  around  the  Kalikhoh, situation  are  such as - in the east  Anand  Bhairav, in west  Sidhnath Bhairav , in south Kapal Bhairav and Bhairav is situated in north.The view of the visitors to get luxary like haven after visiting at  Vindhayvasani  temple   and  completed   their   Parikrama. Traditionaly  it  is famous  as Maha Trikon.

        

           ASTABHUJA DEVI

                               

The  Dewaki  and  Basudev  were  prisoner's of Kans in Mathura. Dewaki  Was the sister of Kans. Kans was afraid of with the eighth son of Dewaki.Inspite of son  a  baby  (girl) was  born  in  place  of  son. Kans  would  have  to kill him. Unfortunately  baby  slipped  from  the  hand of Kans and flew in the sky and ulti mated to  Kans  about  loss  o f his  kingdom. In  future this baby became famous as  Goddess  Asthbhuja  Devi. She  situated  at the top of the Vindhaya Mountain in Vindhayachal.         

 

           SHIVPUR

                               

According to the tradition of Hindu Methology Bhagwan Sri Ram Chandra had   done  the  shardh  of   his  father  king  Dasrath   asper  direction  of  Rishi Basistha in Vindhaya area.First of all Bhagwan Sri Ramchandra worshiped lord Shiva  and  paid  his  dedication  to  Goddess Vindhayavasini Devi. After that he established  a  idol   of  lord  Shiva  in  the west, which is famous with the name of Rameshwar so it is called Shivpur. 

       

           SITA KUND

                              

Sita ji  dug  a   kund  in  the  west of  Astbhuja b Devi  temple  called  Sita kund. Near the kund  sita  ji  established  lord shiva which became famous with the  name siteshwar, in the west of Sita Kund Bhagwan Sri Ram Chandra dug a kund which  named is Ram Kund.In Shivpur Laxaman Ji Established a Shivling near Rameshwar which is famous as Laxmaneshwar.    

   

           KANTIT SHARIF

                                        

The  mausoleum  of   khavaja   Esmile  Chisti  is Situated  in  the ward of Kantit sharif . Annually  ursh  fair celebrated  by Hindu and Muslim both. Near the   mausoleum  there  is  shrine of  Mugal  Kal , which  is very long so called people  were  tall  in the mugal kal. The  shrine  is  known as  Longia Pahalwan shrine.         

                               

           NATURAL SITES

                                

Around   Mirzapur  city  there  is  so  many  natural  and  religious sites.The Tanda water  fall is  about  seven miles away from the city . Away from the Tanda  water fall there is Khajuri  Dam and Vindham fall. Vindham fall is main tained  by forest department and  developed  as tourism place. The park and Ban Vihar   constructed   at  fall,  a   care  have   been  taken   for  the   protection  of Forest  animals . Now   a  days   Vindham   fall  is  a  attractive place for tourist. Inspite  of  the  place  in  trikon   parikrama   thereare  so  many  places  which is Important  for  both  pilgrimage   and   tourism .The  natural  sites of nature may seen  from  the  top  of  Astabhuja  Devi. In  spring  season  the sight of nature is really  very  attractive  which  may  be  remember  up to a long period which may not be forget . The  Sita  Kund , Bhairav  kund ,Motia  Talab ,Geruaa Talab  Kali khoh , amwshwar, Ramshila  are religious  places  and  have  a  great importance for health.

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