In the city of Munger, the eastern region of city on the bank of river Ganga, among the Vindhya Mountain in a cave, Shakti Peeth Maa Chandika Sthan is situated with a historical importance.
Munger’s signature is undoubtedly the imposing 222-acre fort standing on a rocky eminence protruding towards the Ganga to its north, thereby forming a natural protection on these sides while a 175-ft-wide moat buffers its ramparts from the other sides.
The fort’s 30-ft-thick rampart is itself two layered; a 14-inch-thick earth-filling is sandwiched between its four-ft-thick inner wall and 12-ft-thick outer wall.
Of the four gates, one on each side, only the northern Lal Darwaza with carved stones is preserved. The rampart is further buttressed with octagonal bastions to hols battlements.
Two hillocks stand out within the fort area. One of them, known as Karnacaura, is believed to be associated with Raja Karna, the famous king of Anga during the Mahabharata period, who is said to have built a house on this hillock. British troops occupied its ruins before a new bungalow was built on the site by one General Goddard as the commanding officer’s redicence.
The other hillock, on the other side of the tanks, is an artificial rectangular mound that probably formed the citadel of the fort once. It is said that the British demolished an old building by the name Damdama Kothi, which stood on this site, to make way for the collector’s bungalow.
The demolition of Damdama Kothi revealed the strength of its masonry; it had to be blown up by gun powder, bit by bit, since the ordinary methods of demolition could make no dent on it. Numerous holes were discovered while remcing the debris from this site, showing the former existence of underground rooms.
Inside a well in the compound, just above the water level, two arched passages were found; aone leading towards the house and the other in the opposite direction, towards the ground now occupied by a jail.
Jamia Rahmani :
This renowned institution was also istablished by Maulana Mohammed Ali Mungeri, in 1927. After his death his son Maulana Minnatullah Rahhmani, the founder general secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, took over the command and brought multi-dimensional progress to the fold.
In this religious academic institution, students are taught Islamic theology comprising of Hadis, Fiqquah, Tafasser-Quran, Hifz, querat et al up to the postgraduate level. They are also equipped with Islamic discipline and culture in this residential institution.
Jamia Rahmani has a magnificent library known as Kutub Khana Rahmani with a sizeable collection of valuable books, including rare manuscripts.
Established in 1901 by the eminent Sufi Maulana Mohammed Ali Mungeri, this shrine was a hub of the freedom movement and its visitors included Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Mohammed Ali Jauhar. The Khanqah also gave shelter to SK Sinha, the first chief minister of Bihar, during the struggle for independence. Some other prominent visitors to this place include Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Indira Gandhi.
After the death of Hazrat Mungeri, his son Hazrat Maulana Minnatullah Rahmani became the Sajjada Nasheen and led the flame of Freedom struggle. He was also jailed by the British rulers.
Palace of Shah Shuja :
One of the finest sites within the fort, the palace – popularity ascribed to Shah Ahuja though some conceder it to be the work of Qasim Ali – now serves as the local jail.
The building is enclosed by a high wall on three sides and by the river on the fourth (western) side. The Khas mahal or zenana palace is now used as the undertrial ward, the diwane-e-aam or public audience hall is now a school for prisoners while the tope-khana or armoury, with 10 to 15 feet-thick walls has been made the prison’s dormitory.
There used to a small mosque adjacent to this palace. A flat-roof building housing the jail’s ration godown now stands there.
To the west of the hailor’s office is a roofless hamam or Turkish bath, consisting of a bathroom and a dressing room, to the west of hamam , outside the palace, is a large well, now bricked up, which was linked with the river by a door.
Pir Shah Nafa Dargah Shareef :
This sacred place inside the fort, near its southern gate, is the tomb of Sufi saint Per Shah Nafa. Originally from Persia, he is said to have been sent to Munger from Ajmer by Hazrat Khwaja Moinud-din Chisti (1143-1234) afer living in Munger for many years, he died here, it is believed , in 1177 CE and buried in a place near the ramparts.
The Pir’s mazaar was located in 1497 when the ramparts were being renovated by Prince Danyal, who ordered the construction of a mosque at the site.
Legends say that Prince got a divine dream about the exact location of the darga of Shah Nafa. A hint was given to him that the dargah existed where the earth gave out the fragrance of nafa or musk.
Over th gateway there is on inscription set up by Prince Danyal. The building of the tomb consists of a domed tomb chamber, 16 square feet inside, with a prayer room or mosque and a rest room attached to it. At the dome are circular turrets. All around the tomb are the graves belonging to the family of the Mujawirs.
A few carved stones, apparently representing ruins of some Hindu shrine, are to be seen embedded in the low platform to the south of the tomb.
The dargah is said to be the protector of the town and a place of wish-fulfilment, and it attracts not only the Muslims but also the Hindus of the town. Offering chaadar and holding musical soirees has become an annual feature, with the frenzy reaching its peak on the 1st of January every year.
Sri Krishna Sewa Sadan :
This institution at Munger commemorates the diamond jubilee of Sri Krishna Sinha, the first chief minister of Bihar, who hailed from Munger. The foundation stone of the building was laid on December 21, 1947, by Jairam Das Daulatram, the then governor of Bihar. The institution has also published a book, Sri Krishna Abhinandan Granth, which was presented to S K Sinha by Purushottam Das Tandan in 1949. A large collect of books was donated by Raghubar Narain Singha in the same year.
The building was complete in 1953 and the institution was formally inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on October 31, that same year.
S K Sinha had donated his personal collection of 17,000 books to the institution in 1959 and by the end of that year, there were 41,000 books in the library and the average daily issue of books was 106. As per records of 1983 there were a total of 69,307 books in the library, which consisted of 26,178 Hindi, 31,865 English, 679 Bangla, and 1,387 Urdu, Persian and Arabic books.
The Kashtaharini Ghat :
The Ganga bends at Munger, from where it moves northwards and is hence known as Uttara Vahini. The spot is held sacred by Hindus.
An inscription of theGahadwala king, Govind Chandra of Kanauj, records a grant made by the king after bathing in the Ganga at Mudgagiri on the occasion of Akhshaya Tritiya festival.
On the wall of the gateway near the ghat is an inscription of around c, 10th century CE, which mentions about king Bhagiratha and the construction of a Shiva temple.
Numerous carvings and sculptures have been discovered from this area by Bloch in 1903. An inscribed image of the Buddha in meditation is now in the Indian Museum, Kolkata.
Tomb of Mullah Mohammed Said :
Mullah Mohammed Said, a Persian poet, came from Mazandran near the Caspian Sea during Aurangzeb’s reign and found employment as his daughter Zaibunnisa’s tutor.
After his stint in the Mughal court, the poet is said to have found engagement at Munger from Aurangzeb’s grandson Azim Shah, the governor of Bihar.
The Mullah died in 1704 CE and his tomb existed on the bastion at the southwest of the fort till the early years of the 20th century, when it was demolished and the grave removed.
Bhimbandh is a village in the Kharagpur subdivision , within the Kharagpur police station, with an area of 4,137 acres. It is situated about 20 km southwest of Kharagpur and six km north of Guddih. Close to the village are some hot springs, called tatal-pani mianing tapta pani or boiling water, with are bh far the finest in the district.
The District Gazetteer of Monghyr (now Munger) published on 1926 gives a lucid description of these hot springs of Bhimbandh. According to the Gazetteer the first spring was situated about 300 yards to the north of the village, immediately under a small detached hill named Mahadeva from whose base the water issued in a fine stream at a temperature of 147`F.
A few hundred yards farther north at the foot of the hornstone hill Damadama, there was another region of hot springs. Of which there were eight or ten, had uniform temperature of 145`F , all rising within a space of about 300 yards square.
Across these hot streams were many footpaths used by the nearby cultivators, but nowhere at the point of crossing did the water temperature cross 120`F and even this temperature made the men and woman hurry their pace when fording from bank to bank.
Luxuriant rice fields could be seen, cultivated by the hot streams, but at a reduced temperature by leading them in devious and extended courses to their destination.