Created with flickr slideshow.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Haveli of Bhumman Shah

Few months back, I saw a picture of fort like architecture. It was so splendorous view that I was totally spell bound. The only question revolving in my mind was that why I never know anything before about this marvelous architecture? I wished to visit this place but was unable to find the exact location of it at that time.

That view is of shrine of Bhumman Shah. The shrine is built in the style of a big fort and inside this fort-like structure the Gurdwara of Baba Sri Chand, residence of Baba Bhuman Shah , the Samadh of various Mahants are located alongwith hundreds of rooms for visitors, langarkhana and the tank.

This village called Bhuman Shah is in the Jurisdiction of P.S. and Tehsil Dipalpur of district Okara. It is located at a distance of 24 kilometers from Dipalpur on Dipalpur-Haveli Lakha road. According to Bhai Kahan Singh Ji, Dashmesh Ji had given blessing to Bhai Bhuman, Shah that his langar would continue serving.

There are four big gates to enter this shrine and the walls are decorated with colourful pictures the sayings of Gurus. More than 1000 Ghumaon of agricultural land is endowed to shrine. This building is now in charge of the Evacuee Waqf Board. The present condition of the building is miserable, the walls have developed cracks and the roofs have collapsed. In case this building collapses in the time to come an invaluable treasure of art will also be destroyed with it.

Baba Bhumman Shah, (also known as Baba Bhuman Shah, born Bhumia Hassa) is counted among the top Udasi saints of India. He was born on April 14, 1687 CE at Behlolpur village, Deepalpur TehsilOkara DistrictPunjab (Pakistan), in a family reportedly coming of Kamboj lineage. His father Chaudhury Hassa Ram was a Numbardar and a well-known landlord of Behlolpur. Hassa Ram and his wife Mata Rajo Bai were known to be deeply religious and devotees of Guru Nanak as well as of Baba Sri Chand, the founder of the Udasi Panth.

There are several legends and myths connected with Bhumia's early childhood. The story goes that once as a kid, when he was sleeping in his cradle, a cobra came and sat over his chest with his hood spread wide-apart. Mother Rajo was stunned at the scene but as she dared to approach the cradle, the cobra disappeared slowly with no harm to the sleeping kid. Another myth relates to the revival of the dead sparrows; and yet another one deals with restoring to health the lost crops of a poor forth and so on. These were taken to be miracles and the peoples from far and wide started to crowd at Bhumia house to have his darshan.

Bhumia went for his schooling at the age of seven. He was very sharp and intelligent student and imbibed the essentials HinduismSikhism and Islam at a very young age. Besides attending to his religious lessons, Bhumia also performed the worldly chores like grazing cows in the company of other boys of his village. He would take his cows to the forest where he would also carry plenty of food and Jal (water) to run a free-kitchen (Langar) for the passers-by including the ascetics, saints, the poor and the orphans.

Little later, the family would move from Behlolpur to Deepalpur.jai jai baba bhuman shah ji

By the age of fifteen, Bhumia had developed a strong aspiration to become a monk. With the permission of his parents he approached Baba Pritam Das of Pakpattan, the prominent Saint of Udasin Panth who initiated him into a Guru-mantra. On being formally initiated and baptized by Baba Pritam Dass, Bhumia himself became Baba Bhumman Shah. Soon afterwards, he started to preach the religious messages which were always accompanied by Kirtan and free-kitchen (Langar).

It is stated that Chaudhury Lakha Wattu, a Muslim Rajput landlord of village Kutub Kot had been arrested for some reasons and was put behind the bars at Lahore by the orders of the Governor of Punjab. Bibi Bakhtawar, Lakha's mother, was a staunch devotee of the Baba. She solicited Baba's blessings for the release of her son and it so happened that Chaudhury Lakha was released from the jail within couple of days. As a result, Lakha and his numerous Muslim relatives from the Wattu tribe also became devoted followers of the Baba. In addition, the tribe also surrendered a village named Kutub-Kot to the Baba which the latter made the centre of his religious activities. dhan baba bhuman shah ji

Baba Bhumman Shah travelled from village to village to preach his message of love, peaceful coexistence, universal brotherhood, religious-tolerance and equality. He had followers from many denominations including HindusSikhs and Muslems.

Baba also visited the Dargah of Sufi Saint BabaFaridGolden Temple at Amritsar, and numerous other Sikh and Hindu shrines during his religious itineraries. At village Kutub-Kot, which later became renowned as Dera Baba Bhumman Shah, Baba permanently established the maryada of Kirtan and free kitchen (Langar).

Baba was also a very dedicated Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh. It is told that once, Dashmesh Guru and his Sikh followers were going to Nili Bar when they visited Baba Bhumman Shah and took Langar at the Dera; pleased with Shah's noble mission, Gobind Singh blessed him that his Langar would continue to grow with no shortage of any kind

After carrying out his religious mission for well over 50 years, Baba died in 1762 CE. He was succeeded by Mahant Nirmal Chand who continued his work.

During the times of sixth Mahant Baba Darshan Dass, a British Divisional Commissioner visited the Dera. Impressed by Mahant's personality as well as the Dera-complex and the free-kitchen service (Langar), the Commissioner attached 3000 acres (12 km²) of agricultural land as fief to the shrine (Baba Bhuman Shah by Sant Chandra Swami).

Total landed property in the name of Shrine grew well over 18,000 acres (73 km²) of agricultural land (cf: 18700 acres (76 km²) in the name of Gurudwara Sri Nankana Sahib in Sheikhupura). Besides landed property, there was other moveable/immoveable property in the name of the Dera.

After partition, due to compulsions of politics, Mahant Girdhari Dass, the Mukh Sewadar of the Dera, shifted his religious headquarters from Pakistan to India. A new Shrine and Dera was established in Sangar Sadan in Sirsa District in Haryana. The total land transferred to the Dera from Pakistan was a meagre 1600 acres (6.5 km²) compared to over 18000 acres (73 km²) in Montgomery. After Mahant Girdhari Dass's death, Baba Mahant Amar Nath Bawa was the mahant of the shrine in Sangar Sadan. At present Baba Braham Dass is the mahant (Gaddinasheen). Mahant Baba Braham Dass Ji is the 12th Mahant of Dera Baba Bhuman Shah Ji Sangar Sarista (Sirsa).

Besides Sangar Sadan, the Hindu devotees of the Baba have also built several temples in his memory in a number of states of northern India as well, where daily worship unto Babaji is offered with faith and love (Baba Bhuman Shah by Sant Chandra Swami).

In Pakistan, this Dera was considered the richest with huge property attached to it in pre-partition times.

The spiritual and pragmatic teachings of Baba Bhuman Shah have been presented in the form of aphorisms in a booklet by his ardent devotee, Sage Chandra Swami, with a focus on true goal of life as well as the right means for its achievement. These teachings are in complete concordance with Baba's own divine life.

Sunday, 11 December 2016


Monastery of Lal Jas Raj is located in north-east part of Depalpur fort city having coordinates 30°39'52.48"N, 73°39'18.71"E. Besides doors with decorated latches, Jharokhasbay windows and cut brick works, the most noticeable feature inside old Dipalpur is the monastery of Lal Jas Raj, a guru much venerated by the local people. Initially it was not in our plan to visit this place; in fact we never heard or know anything about this monastery. Thanks to our friend Adnan Tariq a local from Depalpur city who shown us gem of architecture.

There are different theories about the foundation of this city, which ascribed this to Raja Deva Pala, of whom nothing is known. Its antiquity, however, is undoubted, as the interior surface on which the houses are now built is on a level with the terreplein of the ramparts. The old coins, also, which are found there in great numbers, show that Depalpur was in existence as early as the time of the Indo-Scythians. Depalpur is first mentioned in the campaign of Muhammad-bin-Qasim, who in A.D. 714, after the capture of Multan advanced by Depalpur towards Kashmir. But the coins show that it had existed for many centuries previously

According to another source Raja Dipa Chand was the founder of Dipalpur.  Lal Jas Raj was the young son of Raja Dipa Chand, the founder of Dipalpur. He sank into the earth due to a curse by his stepmother Rani Dholran.  Raja Dipa Chand constructed this monastery in the memory of his son. Today, the chamber is dilapidated, the doors are jammed and a stairway is used for storage. The structure itself is crumbling. According to local residents, there used to be a grand annual "mela" held here. It was also used by Hindus as a place to perform the Sardukahr until the partition, but "nobody comes anymore.

Sources, Archaeological Survey of India, Report for the Year 1872-73 by Alexander Cunningham (1814 1893) (Director General of archaeological survey of India)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Depalpur the Fort City

In the past, Dipalpur was surrounded by a fortified wall, rising to the height of 25 feet and strengthened by a deep trench. When and by whom this wall was constructed is not known, but it was renovated, repaired and improved during the rule of Firoz Shah Tughluq and later by Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khanan, who was the governor during the time of Akbar. Firoz Shah Tughluq constructed a grand mosque and palaces. He also excavated a canal from the river Sutlej to irrigate gardens around the town.

Wide and airy tunnels linked the royal residential quarters inside the fort to the adjoining gardens outside. There were 24 burgs (musketry holes) on the fortification wall, 24 mosques, 24 bavlis (ponds) and 24 wells at the town's peak. The trench, ponds and tunnels have been filled in, but in some places the location of the trench can still be defined. Most of the wall has been razed. Two of the four massive gateways with pointed arches also exist though they are badly damaged and their wooden doors have vanished. Later coats of cement have marred the original architecture of the gateways