TOMB OF BAHADUR SHAH ZAFAR

To read about my visit to the Bahadur Shah Zafar Tomb, visit the blog here: The Mysterious Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

For all the high-resolution photos from Bahadur Shah Zafar Tomb: Click Here

Entrance Fee: Free to enter

Visiting Hours: It is best to visit the Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar during the day, from morning prayers until evening prayers. If you come at prayer times you can watch the Indian-Muslim tradition.

Location: The tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar is located south of the Shwedagon Pagoda and Maha Wizaya Pagoda on Zi Wa Ka Street off of U Wizara Road in Yangon, Myanmar.

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

The Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar represents a fascinating bit of Asian history and is located just south of the mighty Shwedagon Pagoda. The mausoleum is a half-mosque half-tomb which pays tribute to the last Mughal Emperor of India. Zafar was exiled to what was then Rangoon after supporting the Sepoy Rebellion in Delhi (Indian Rebellion of 1857) against the British East India Company. The might of the Mughals had already been severely injured beforehand and British Colonial Rule began shortly thereafter with the Government of India Act 1858 which established the British Raj.

The Mughal (also known as Mogul) Dynasty was a Turco-Mongol lineage consisting of a “Classic Period” from 1556 with Akbar the Great, his son Jahangir, Shah Jahan and more all holding the throne. Mirza Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar, to give his full name,  had a reputation as a talented Urdu poet and held the throne from 1837-1857. He died in 1862 and chronicler William Dalrymple wrote of how his shrouded corpse was quickly buried in an anonymous grave inside his prison enclosure so that, as the British Commissioner in charge of Zafar insisted, “No vestige should remain to distinguish where the last of the Great Mughals rests.”

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

A mausoleum was later built on the location of the prison yet the grave itself remained a mystery until the year 1991 when workmen discovered his remains three and a half feet underground during excavations for a new structure at the site. Today his grave is covered in silks and strewn with sweet-smelling petals. The tomb now serves as a place of pilgrimage for Indians, Muslims and others interested in the history of the Raj. The mausoleum still functions as a mosque and is home to the remains of his wife and children. (Hat tip to LonelyPlanet).

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Zinat Mahal, Zafar’s wife, died in 1882 when the location of Zafar’s grave had already been forgotten and apparently “could not be located.” She was buried in a roughly similar position near a tree where his grave was assumed to be. His son Mirza Jawan Bakht died two years later and was also buried at the same site.

Controversy over Zafar’s tomb erupted in the early 1900s, as a group of visitors came from India to pay tribute to Zafar at his burial place, however the exact location of his and his wife’s graves had already been forgotten. Local guides pointed out the sight of a withered lotus tree and shortly thereafter the Muslims of Rangoon protested and demanded that there should be some measure to demarcate Zafar’s grave because “…As a man or as a king, Bahadur Shah was not to be admired, but he should be remembered.” They wanted the government to buy a “strip of land enclosing the grave in question, of sufficient area to permit a monument worthy of Bahadur Shah erected over it.”

 

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

The request was rejected by the British authorities in Calcutta, India, citing the spot may become a place of unwanted pilgrimage. Demonstrations and a “long series of newspaper articles” by which the British agreed in 1907 to erect a single stone slab in which it was engraved “Bahadur Shah, ex-King of Delhi died at Rangoon November 7th, 1862 and was buried near this spot.” Later that year, a memorial stone devoted to Zinat Mahal was added. Zafar’s granddaughter, Raunaq Zamani, was also buried nearby. Though the spot was lost, people knew that Zafar was buried somewhat south of Shwedagon Pagoda, where the grave now sits.

Inside the two-story mausoleum are separate prayer rooms for men and women. The walls are adorned with engraved marble plaques. There are 9 steps to the crypt where people play drums and read the Koran. The dargah is often visited by politicians and dignitaries from South Asia.

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar
The Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh signing the visitor’’s book during his visit to the Mazar of Bahadur Shah Zafar in Yangon, Myanmar on May 29, 2012

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

To read about my visit to the Bahadur Shah Zafar Tomb, visit the blog here: The Mysterious Tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar

For all the high-resolution photos from Bahadur Shah Zafar Tomb: Click Here

Resources:

MM Times

Two Circles

Phillip Harbor

Author, blogger, photographer, all-around world traveler

Israeli Abroad

IsraeliAbroad (formerly SidepieceDiplomat) was started as a passion project by amateur photographer Phillip Harbor as he travels from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Yangon, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and throughout the world. Named for the adventure, the photoblog seeks to give followers a unique insight into life from a nation that was until recently closed off from the rest of the world for more than half a century. This blog is half photo-half information-half experience-driven. Yes that’s more than a whole… and yes that makes about as much sense as anything else you can find on this half of the globe! Feel free to follow us on social media and right here on the blog as we explore the incredible wonders of Myanmar. Updates will come as regularly as possible and don’t forget to share with your friends!

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Wiloke

IsraeliAbroad was started as a passion project by photographer Phillip Harbor as he travels from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Yangon, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and throughout the world. Named for the adventure, the photoblog seeks to give followers a unique insight into life from a nation that was until recently closed off from the rest of the world for more than half a century. This blog is half photo-half information-half experience-driven. Yes that’s more than a whole… and yes that makes about as much sense as anything else you can find on this half of the globe! Feel free to follow us on social media and right here on the blog as we explore the incredible wonders of Myanmar. Updates will come as regularly as possible and don’t forget to share with your friends!