Jaunpur at a Glance

The History of Jaunpur

         Well-known for its past and the glory of learning Jaunpur holds its own important historical, social and political status. Studying its past on the basis of panic accounts, rock edicts, archaeological remains and other available facts, the continuous existence of Jaunpur district is seen, in some form of the other, till the Late Vedic Period. The glory of the city on the Adi Ganga Gomti and its peaceful shores was a major pious ground for the meditations and contemplations of sages, Rishis and Maharshis from where the sounds of the vedmantras emanated. Even today, the Deva Vanees are echoing in temples along the banks of the Gomti in Jaunpur city. In the field of education, this district has held an important position. Students from other countries have been coming here to learn Arabic and Persian. Sher Shah Suri too was educated here. Sufism too sprouted and flowered here. During the Sharki period this area showed the way via a unique Hindu-Muslim communal harmony whose legacy is still present here. Maharshi Yamadagni, upon some disagreement with Sahastrarjuna, the king of Punjab, the land of seven rivers, headed south and got captivated by the praiseworthy Nature of Gomti's pristine aims. Maharshi Yamdagni established his ashram on the right banks of the Gomti between Zafrabad and Jaunpur. To the present day, there is an ancient temple at this spot. This temple is called the temple of Maharishi Yamdagni. This place is in Jamaitha village. Yamadagni started to live here alongwith his son Parashuram. This area was in the domain of the king of Ayodhya at the time and is called Ayodhyapuram. On account of the old enmity, king Sahastrarjun attacked the ashram and killed Maharishi Yamadagni. Enraged at the slaying of his father, the valorous Parashuram went to war and slaged his father's assassious in battle. The first arrival in the district of Jaunpur was of Raghuvanshi Kshattriyas. The king of Benares got his daughter married to the king of Ayodhya, Devakumar and gave away some part of his dominion as dowry in which the Raghuvanshis of Dobhi area settled themselves. Right after this occurred the arrival of Vatyagotri, Durgvanshi and Vyas Kshattriyas in this district. In this district the Bharas and Soiriyas held away. The Kshattriyas began to have conflicts with them. The Gaharwar Kshattriyas completely finished the domination of Bharas and Soiriyas. In the eleventh century the Gaharwar rajputs of Kannauj started making Jafrabad and Yaunapur (Jaunpur) rich and powerful. Vijaychand came here from Kannauj and got several mansions and forts built. Even today, the ruins of the fort south of Jafrabad can be seen. In 1194 A.D., Qutubuddin Aibak attacked Mandev or Mandeya (present day Jafrabad). After defeating the then king Udaypal, he entrusted power to Dewanjeet Singh and headed towards Banares. In 1389 A.D., Mahmood Shah, the son of Feroze Shah ascended the throne. He made Sarbar Khwaja a minister and, later in 1393 A.D. gave him the little of Malik-ul-Sharq and entrusted him with the area from Kannauj to Bihar. Malik-ul-sharq made Jaunpur his capital and established his reign from Etawah to Bengal and Vindhyachal to Nepal. The founder of the Sharqi Dynasty, Malik-ul-sharq, died in 1398 A.D. Whereupon, his foster son Saayed Murakshah ascended the throne of Jaunpur. His younger brother Ibrahimshah succeeded him to the thorne. Ibrahimshah proved to be an accomplished and able ruler. He implemented the policy of good will with the Hindus. During the Sharqi period, many grand buildings, mosques and mausoleums were built. Ferozeshah had lain the foundations of the Atala Mosque in 1393 A.D. but it was completed by Ibrahim shah in 1408 A.D. Ibrahimshah got started the construction of Jama Masjid and Bari Masjid which were completed by Husainshah. The unique aspect of Hindu-Muslim communal harmony which had been present during the Sharqi Parishad in Jaunpur district- which has held an important position in the fields of Education, Culture, Music, Arts and Literature- its fragrance exists even today. The Lodhy Dynasty held the reins of power on the throne of Jaunpur from 1484 A.D. to 1525 A.D. In 1526 A.D. Babar attached Delhi and defeated and killed Ibrahim Lodhi in the battle of Panipat. To conquer Jaunpur, Babar sent his son Humayun, who defeated the ruler of Jaunpur. Upon the death of Humayun in 1556 A.D. his 18 years old son Jalaluddin Akbar ascended to throne. In 1567 A.D. when Ali Kuli Khan rebelled, then Akbar himself attacked and Ali Kuli Khan was killed in the battle. Akbar stayed for several days at Jaunpur. Thereafter, he went back after appointing Sardar Muneem Khan as the ruler. It was during the reign of Akbar that the Shahi Pul (Jaunpur) was built. After the Pranic period, scholars link Jaunpur with thr eign of Chandragupta Vikramadigtya upto Manyeech and the fact that this place had been influenced by Buddhist thoughts also. The Bhars and Koiree Gujjar, Pratiharas and Gaharwars too have held power here. After the displacement of Mahmmad Gajnabi from here (11th cent.) the victory of Gauri and the Mohammad Gauri Gyanchand conflict and the subsequent transfer of the royal treasure to Arabi; the appointment in Jaunpur of Zafar Khan Tughlaq by his father Gayasuddin Tughlaq- all lead to the building of the present day city. In 1722 A.D. after being a part of the Mughal Sultanat for a century and a half, Jaunpur was entrusted to the Nawab of Awadh. Later in 1775 A.D. Jaunpur too, alongwith Benares went into the hands of the English from the king of Benares, Mansaram. From 1775 to 1788 A.D. Jaunpur was under the dominion of Benares and then it was in the hands of the Regiment Dekana. For the first time in 1818 A.D. the Deputy Collectorateship was established and later it became a separate district. In 1820 A.D., Azamgarh district was also brought under Jaunpur but some part of Azamgar in 1822 and the whole of Azamgarh in 1830 A.D. was separated from Jaunpur.


         Jaunpur of the British period has been a witness to rebellion against the power of the state. A tormenting desire to take part in the revolution of 1857 and secure Independence for India was seen in its every nook and cranny. For the 1857 revolution, posters had been put up everywhere on 31st May. Instructions had been issued to the native soldiers to deposit their arms. The news of the rebellion reached Jaunpur from Benares on the 5th of June, 1857. On September 8, the Gorkha forces arrived inJaunpur from Azamgarh. On account of this, all the civilian officers who had fled to Benares returned to Jaunpur. The northwest part of Jaunpur was in the flames of the rebellion. The confrontation of the freedom fighters under the leadership of Mata Badal Chauhan with the English Forces took place but fate did not favour them. The English hanged Mata Badal Chauhan and his 13 confederates. In this conflict, these braves killed one Sergeant Brigade, a legal officer. Thakur Sangram Singh of Nevadhiya village became a Rebel and he defeated the English several times. The English could not cow down the Babu Saltanat Bahadur Singh, the Zamindar of Badlapur. Saltanat Bahadur Singh's son Sangram Singh took on the English on several occasions. Later on, the English tied him to a tree and shot him. Amar Singh, Alongwith his 4 sons, attacked the Indigo Godown of Karanja and plundered it. The English attacked his village Adampur during which he was killed fradulently. The Raghuvanshi Rajputs of Dobhi along the Varanasi-Dobhi-Azamgarh highway had never acquiesed to anybody's suzerainity. During the advance towards Benares, they came face-to-face with the Sikh Army of Taylor. The Rajputs of Dobhi killed the englishmen of the Peshwa's Indigo Godwn. In Senapur village at midnight the English hanged 23 people, while they were asleep, from tree. The English hanged Haripal Singh, Bhikha Singh and Jagat Singh et. al. after a charade of a trial by a kangaroo court. Ram Sundar Pathak too was known for his velour amongst the freedom fighters. Before the arrival of Gandhiji in India, Pathakji was an associate of Gandhiji in South Africa in Gandhiji's non co-operation movement against the white people there. Later, he too came over here and joined the freedom struggle. In Itaha village of Machhalishahar, the famouns freedom fighter was the elder brother of Pt. Shiva Varna Sharma. It is believed that, in the turmoil 1857 A.D., about ten thousand people of Jaunpur were martyred. In 1885, the Indian National Congress was established. A decade later, the first meeting of the Congress in the city was held in Urdu Mohalla. Several people from Jaunpur too attended the 1909 Annual convention of the Congress in Varanasi. During the First World War, a revolutionary from Jaunpur. Mujtaba Hussain, left for America to learn the technique of bomb making. Later he was arrested by the English through treachery. After the establishment of the Home Rule League in 1916, this institution started working in Jaunpur. In the non-cooperation movement of Gandhiji in 1920, Jaunpur took part with verse and zeal. During this period Motilal Nehru, Smt. Sarojini Naidu, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Madan Mohan Malviya, Shauqat Ali too toured the district and held meetings. In October 1929, Mahatma Gandhi too toured Jaunpur. In 1932, the Congress Flag was unfurled on the Municipal Board and Zila Parishad buildings. On this account, 72 people were put on trial and sentenced. Rebellion under the Quit India Movement started in the district on the 10th of August, 1942. On the 11th of Auct, 1942, several leaders of congress, students, youth and shopkeepers took out a Rally in Jaunpur city and at noon, a massive crowd entered the Collectorate premises and tried to unfurl the Tricolour Flag. The police opened fire to disperse the crowd. In the various parts of the district, the revolutionaries expressed their anger through different media. Sujanganj's Police station was burnt down. Telephone lines of Shahganj, Sarai Khwaja, Jalalganj were snapped. The Railway stations of Madiyahun, Bilawai, Badshahpur and Dobhi were damaged. At several places, the roads were cut. On 16th of August, 1942 while demolishing the Dhaniyamau Bridge, conflict raged between the police and the revolutionaries in the course of which to students of Singramau Jamindar Singh & Ram Adhar Singh alongwith Ram Padarath Chauhan and Ram Nihore Kahar became the victims of police bullets. A fair is held in Dhaniyamau at the Shahid Smarak on the 16th August every year in their memory. In Machhalishahar and Uchaura, 11 people died and 17 were injured by Army's firings. Alongwith Hargovind Singh, Deep Narain VErma, Mujtaba Hussain and other important leaders, 196 people were arrested and sent to jails. Ramanand and Raghuraee were beaten barbarically by the police. On 23rd August, 1942, they were hanged from trees in Agraura village and shot. Their corpses kept hanging from the trees for three days.


         There are many historical sites and worth-seeing sights in the district, amongst which buildings of the Sharki period; Shahi Bridge built by Akbar; and Sheetla Chaukia Dham are the chief attractions of tourists. All the historic & worth-seeing spots have their own special importance. The main ones among these are:


        Situated in the heart of the city on the left bank of the Gomti, Shahi Qila was built by Freoze Shah in 1362 A.D. The inner gate of this fort is 26.5 ft. high and 16 ft. wide. The central gate is 36 ft. high. A top this there is a huge dome. At present only its eastern gate and, within, some arches etc. remain which narrate the tale of its ancient splendor. Muneer Khan had got its majestic front gate built with a view to security and it was decorated with blue and yellow stones. Inside, there is a bath in the Turkish style ad a Mosque too. From this fort, an enchanting view of the Gomti river and the city can be seen. The mosque, built by Ibrahim Banbank, carries the imprints of Hindu and Buddhist architectural styles.


        Om 1408 A.D., Ibrahim Shah Sharki built the Atala Masjid which came to be considered as the ideal for the construction of the other mosques of Jaunpur. In this mosque, beautiful galleries were built by surrounding it with artistic walls. Its height is more than 100 ft. There are three huge gateways for entrance. The total perimeter of the mosque is 248 ft. Its construction was begun by Feorze Shah in 1393 A.D.


        This mosque is in the Sipah locality of Jaunpur on the northern bank of the Gomti. This was built by Ibrahim Sharki at the time of the construction of Atala and Khalis mosques as this locality was settled-in by Ibrahim Sharki himself. The army used to keep its elephants, camels, horses and mules here. It was the place of saints and pandits. Within this mosque there are extremely beautiful "jhanjhariyas" of archdes. Sikandar Lodhi had got this mosque demolished but, looking at the still remaining central arch and compared to the Atala Masjid and the Jama Masjid with their great length and breadth, this mosque appears to be extremely beautiful. It has been dealt great damage by floods. This arch is 35 ft. high and 32 ft. wide. Despite being relatively small, this mosque is extremely beautiful. After the demolition by Sikandar Lodhi, quite a lot of stones from here have been used in the Shahi bridge. This mosque is a very beautiful example of early architecture.


        This mosque has been built by V.V.Raje, wife of Sultan Mahamud Shah Sharki in 1455 A.D. at Begumganj, a mile north of the city. Its outer area is 212 x 188 sq.ft. It has three gateways and a courtyard. On two of its pillars some inscriptions in Sanskrit and Pali are there which do not shed much light except for the samvat year and the names of some kings of Kannauj.


        With a height of more than 200 ft. this mosque near Purani Bazar on the Shahganj road is an important monument of the Sharki period. Its foundation has been laid at the time of Ibrahim Shah's rule and its construction was completed in various phases. It was finished during the reign of Hussain Shah. This mosque is quite extensive, artistic and attractive and there are 27 steps to the top. Its southern gateway is 20 ft. above ground level. Its inner premises extend to 219 x 217 feet and has a gateway at each of the 4 cardinal points. The eastern gateway was destroyed by Sikander Lodhi. The outer boundary of the mosque is 320 ft. on the East-West and 307 ft. on the North-south side. The decorations, its engravings in the Egyptian style, the curves of its arches, the uniqueness of the Lotus, sunflower and rose motifs, its screens etc. are worth seeing.


        This famous bridge of Jaunpur was built by Munyeen Khankhana in 1564 on the orders of Akbar during his reign. This is a one of its kind bridge in India and its carriageway is at ground level. The width of the bridge is 26 ft. with 2 ft. 3 inch wide kerfs on both sides. At each junction of adjacent spouse, pillboxes have been constructed. Earlier shops used to be set up in these pillboxes (gumtees). On a square platform in the middle of the bridge, there is a large sculpture of a lion with an elephant underneath its forepaws. It had formerly been installed in some Buddhist monastery from where it was brought and installed at the bridge. There is a mosque in front of this and there are 10 spans of the bridge to its north and 5 spans to the south which rest on octagonal pylons. It is spot worth seeing.


        This ancient mosque was constructed during the reign of Hussain Shah Sharki. There is a surfeit of simplicity in it. There are no arches in this mosque. Earlier there was a rock inscription here with has been destroyed now.


        Besides the above mentioned monuments, there is a Munyeem Khan-built Sher-ki-masjid at Shahi Pul & Idgah on the Allahabad road; Sadar Imambara built during Muhammad Shah's time; Jalalpur bridge; Jama Masjid at Madiyahun; Shiv Temple built by the king Sri Krishnadutta at Dharmapur; Hindi Bhavan in the city; Kali Temple in Kerakat; Shivlinga of Harshvardhan era; Gomteshwar Mahadev (Kerakat); Van Vihar; Paramhansa's Samidhi (Village Aunka, Dhaniyamau), Gasuri Shankar temple (Sujanganj); Gurudwara (Rasmadal); Hanuman Temple (Rasmadal); Sharda Temple (Parmanatpur); Vijethua Mahavir; Kabir Math (Basetha Village, Machhalishahar) etc. which are of note.


        Two moles west of Kheta Sarai is the well-known Gujartal in which pisciculture is being done these days. The ambience of the lake is scenic and close-to-nature. The Van Vihar situated on the T.D.College Kuddupur Road also attracts the tourists.


        The temple of Ma Sheetla Chaukiya Devi is quite old. The worship of Shiv and Shakti has been going on since times immemorial. History states that, during the era of Hindu kings, the governance of Jaunpur was in the hands of Ahir rulers. Heerchand Yadav is considered the first Aheer ruler of Jaunpur. The descendants of this clan used to surname 'Ahir'. These people built forts at Chandvak and Gopalpur. It is believed that the temple of Chaukiya Devi was built in the glory of their clan-deity either by the Yadavs or the Bhars- but in view of the predilections of the Bhars, it seems more logical to conclude that this temple was built by the Bhars. The Bhars were non-Aryans. The worship of Shiv and Shakti was prevalent in the non-Armyans. The Bhars held power in Jaunpur. At first, the Devi must have been installed on a praised platform or 'chaukiya' and probably because of this she was referred to as Chaukia Devi. Devu Sheetla is the representative blissful aspect of the Divine Mother: hence she was called Sheetla. On Mondays and Fridays, worshippers come here in quite large numbers. Huge crowds gather here during the Navratris.


        The district of Jaunpur is situated in the North-West part of Varanasi Division. Its land area extends from 24.240N to 26.120N latitude and between 82.70E and 83.50E longitudes. Its attitude varies from 261 ft to 290 ft. above M.S.L. (Mean Sea Level). The topography of the district is mainly a flat plain with shallow river-balleys. Gomti and Sai are its main parental rivers. Besides these, Varuna, Basuhi, Pili. Mamur and Gangi are the smaller rivers here. The rivers Gomti and Basuhi divide the district into nearly four equal landmasses. The soils are mainly sandy, loamy and clayey. Jaunpur district is often affected by the disaster of floods. There is a paucity of minerals. Excavations at some places yield to some rocks which are burnt to make lime. The lime obtained from sand and gravel is used in buildings construction work. The temperatures of the district of Jaunpur lie between a minimum of 4.30C and a maximum of 44.60C. Average annual rainfall is 987 mm. The geographical area of the district is 4038 sq.km. The economic development of the district is mainly dependent on agriculture. The chief cause of this is the absence of heavy industry in the district. Several industries are coming up along the Varanasi Jaunpur highway. A cotton mill is operational near Karanja Kala. At Satahariya too, about 85 industrial units like M/s Raja Flour Mill, Pepsico India Holdings, Howkins Cookers Limited, Amit Oil & Vegetablle, Chaudharana Steel Limit, Saurya Aluminium are running. The Animal Husbandry, a dairy unit is established. Three fourths of the population of the district of Jaunpur is dependent on agriculture. According to the 2001 census, the total population of the district is 39,11,305 in which there are 19,75,729 women and 19,35,516 are men. Thus the male to female ratio is 1:1.02. From the point of view of the female population, this district can be called a developed district. The number of women is 1020 to every 900 men. From the administrative point of view, this district has been divided into 6 tehsils (viz. Sadar, Madiyahun, Machhalishahar, Kerakat, Shahganj and Badlapur) in order to maintain law and order and speedily implement the developmental works. Similarly, the district has been divided into 21 Development Blocks, viz: Sondhi (Shahganj), Suithakala, Khutahan, Karanja Kala, Badlapur, Maharajganj, Sujanganj, Baksha, Mungrabadshahpur, Machhalishahar, Madiyahun, Barsathi, Rampur, Ramnagar, Jalalpur, Kerakat, Dobhi, Muftiganj, Dharmapur, Sikrara and Sirkoni. With a view to law enforcement, the district has been divided into 27 thanas, viz. Kotwali, Sadar, Line Bazar, Jafrabad, Khetasarai, Shahganj, Sarpatahan, Kerakat, Chandwak, Jalalpur, Sarai Khwaja, Gaurabadshahpur, Badlapur, Khutahan, Singramau, Baksha, Sujanganj, Maharajganj, Mungrabadshahpur, Pawara, Machhalishahar, Mirganj, Sikrara, Madiyahun, Rampur, Barsathi, Nevadhiya and Sureri.