A Walk Through Time: Exploring The Historical City Of Burhanpur In Madhya Pradesh

From its history to major attractions, local food and much more, find out all you need to know about the historical city of Burhanpur
A view of the Dargah-e-Hakimi of Burhanpur
A view of the Dargah-e-Hakimi of BurhanpurShutterstock

Nestled alongside the banks of the Tapti River, Burhanpur is a city known for its rich history and culture. This Madhya Pradesh gem is adorned with a reservoir of historical events, architectural wonders, and vibrant traditions. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or a foodie, Burhanpur has something to offer everyone. Let's take a closer look at this captivating city.


The Tomb of Shah Nawaz Khan also called as Black Taj Mahal
The Tomb of Shah Nawaz Khan also called as Black Taj MahalShutterstock

Burhanpur has a rich historical background that dates back to the Rashtrakuta dynasty. It flourished as a town and rose to prominence during the medieval era under the Faruqi dynasty, which Malik Ahmad established in the late 14th century. His cultural and spiritual teachings greatly influenced the city, named after the Sufi saint Burhan-ud-Din. Burhanpur reached its peak during the Mughal era and became a crucial stronghold controlling the Deccan region. Emperor Akbar's capture of Burhanpur in 1601 emphasised its strategic significance, and during Shah Jahan's reign, the city saw the development of the plans for the Taj Mahal after his wife Mumtaz Mahal's passing. In the 18th century, Burhanpur came under Maratha rule and later became a part of the British Central Provinces. Each of these periods left a lasting impact on the city's cultural and architectural heritage.

Art and Architecture

The opulent ceiling inside Shahi Qila, Burhanpur
The opulent ceiling inside Shahi Qila, BurhanpurShutterstock

Burhanpur boasts an impressive collection of Mughal architectural masterpieces that effortlessly blend Persian, Mughal, and indigenous Indian styles. One of its most notable landmarks is the Shahi Qila, or Royal Fort, which was originally built by the Faruqi rulers and later expanded by the Mughals. This grand structure includes palatial buildings, majestic halls, and ornate mosques with intricate carvings, all set amidst expansive courtyards that offer stunning views of the Tapti River. Another architectural gem is the Jama Masjid, commissioned by Emperor Akbar.

Raja Jai Singh Ki Chhatri displays Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles
Raja Jai Singh Ki Chhatri displays Rajasthani and Mughal architectural stylesShutterstock

It is famous for its imposing facade, elaborate minarets, and spacious prayer hall, which serve as a focal point for Islamic worship and cultural heritage in the area. The city also features numerous tombs and mausoleums, such as the exquisite tomb of Shah Nawaz Khan, known for its detailed stone carvings and serene gardens, and the Bibi ka Maqbara, which was once the final resting place of Mumtaz Mahal before she was buried in Agra. Each of these structures adds to Burhanpur's charm as a bastion of Mughal splendour.

Places to Visit


A view of Ahukhana
A view of AhukhanaShutterstock

The Taj Mahal symbolises the eternal love of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and Empress Mumtaz Mahal. Few know that Mumtaz Mahal's original resting place lies in Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh, away from Taj's splendour. During his Deccan campaign, the serene Tapti River was the backdrop for Shah Jahan's residence in Burhanpur's Shahi Quila. Mumtaz's final moments led to her request for a paradisiacal mausoleum, fulfilled years later by the Taj Mahal's completion. The Ahukhana, once a vibrant retreat for the Mughals, now stands forgotten, reclaimed by nature's embrace, a silent witness to history's passage.

Timings: 9 am to 6 pm


The details of Dargah-e-Hakimi
The details of Dargah-e-HakimiShutterstock

Dargah-e-Hakimi is a sacred sanctuary for Dawoodi Bohra Muslims in Madhya Pradesh, honouring the revered Saint Syedi Abdulqadir Hakimuddin Mola. The word "hakim," which means healer, resonates throughout this site, drawing thousands of devotees seeking solace and healing for body and soul. Crafted in pure white marble, this Mughal architectural marvel encompasses mausoleums, a mosque, and lush gardens, offering a serene retreat for spiritual reflection. Within the complex lies the initial grave of Syedi Abdulqadir Hakimuddin, shrouded in a tale of divine preservation and reverence. Annually, pilgrims flock to Burhanpur to pay homage and receive blessings, finding comfort in the vast accommodation facilities provided, ensuring their spiritual journey is met with comfort and peace.

Timings: 6 am to 9 pm

Asirgarh Fort

The cloisters of Asirgarh Fort
The cloisters of Asirgarh FortShutterstock

Asirgarh Fort, nestled in the Satpura Ranges, dates back to the early 15th century and is credited to King Asa Ahir. Throughout its history, it has witnessed the rule of many different leaders. In 1601, Mughal Emperor Akbar's conquest marked a significant chapter, followed by Maratha and British control. The fort is infamous for imprisoning Prince Khusraw and witnessing the tragic demise of Mumtaz Mahal. It has also served as Emperor Aurangzeb's Deccan campaign headquarters. The fort spreads across 60 acres, and its architecture blends Islamic, Persian, Turkish, and Indian styles. It comprises three distinct forts: Asirgarh, Karmargarh, and Malaygarh. Situated at an altitude of 701 metres, the fort guarded a crucial pass between the Narmada and Tapti rivers, earning the moniker "key to the Deccan." Within its walls lies the Gupteshwar Mahadev Mandir, a revered Hindu temple, alongside ruins reflecting Hindu, Muslim, and British influences. Asirgarh's vantage point offers panoramic views, echoing tales of valour and heritage spanning centuries.

Timings: 10 am to 5 pm

Jama Masjid

The Jama Masjid of Burhanpur
The Jama Masjid of BurhanpurShutterstock

The Jama Masjid in Burhanpur is a historical monument that reflects the Faroqui rule. It was initially built in 1421 CE as Bibi Ki Masjid by Azam Humayun and later rebuilt by Adil Shah. Construction commenced in 1590 and was completed five years later. The mosque features Islamic architecture with a roofless design, towering minarets, and 17 Mihrab niches facing Mecca. It is made from black stone sourced from Mandu and showcases rare bilingual inscriptions in Sanskrit and Arabic, making it the only mosque in India with such linguistic diversity.

Timings: 5 am to 9 pm

Local Food to Try

A traditional platter of Daal Bafla
A traditional platter of Daal BaflaShutterstock

Burhanpur Jalebi is a unique version of the popular Indian sweet. It is known for its distinctive preparation method, resulting in a thicker, crunchier texture. Daal Bafla is similar to Rajasthan's Dal Baati and consists of wheat balls (bafla) served with spiced dal, generously infused with ghee for a traditional indulgence. On the other hand, Roghan Josh, a fragrant Mughal delicacy, features tender meat in a rich, aromatic gravy filled with spices, providing a compelling culinary experience.

Places to Stay

Some of the places that you can check out for lodgings in Burhanpur are MPT Tapti Retreat (starting INR 1,844 per night), Hotel High Rise Regency (starting INR 2,667 per night), or Hotel Shree Maya (starting INR 1000 per night).

Getting There

Air: The nearest airport to Burhanpur is the Indore city airport at 210 km.

Rail: Burhanpur has direct train connectivity with important tourist destinations and cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Gwalior, Katni, Jabalpur, Pipariya, Jhansi, Bhopal.

Road: It is close to the Maharashtra state border and has good road accessibility to Bhusawal, Jalgaon, and Aurangabad. The road from Indore is in good condition, and bus services are available to Burhanpur.

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