Bijay Mandal: A tower of victory in Jahanpanah [PHOTO STORY]

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Bijay Mandal is a tower like terraced structure located within the enclosed walls of Jahanpanah. It is from Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s reign.

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Site plan of Bijay Mandal (Pic from Tughlaq: Master Builders of the Delhi Sultanate - by Anthony Welch and Howard Crane)
Site plan of Bijay Mandal complex (Tower, Hazar Sathun, Saint Taher Tomb) (Pic from Tughlaq: Master Builders of the Delhi Sultanate- by Anthony Welch and Howard Crane)

Bijay Mandal means Wonderful Mansion. It is also called Bedi or Badi Mandal.[Bedi– Huge; Mandal-Bastion] It lies to the north of Begumpur Mosque.

Jahanpanah (link) city- location of Bedi Mandal to the north of Begumpur Mosque
Jahanpanah city – location of Bedi Mandal to the north of Begumpur Mosque

In the same fashion to Begumpur Mosque, this is also built in rubble masonry.

Begumpur Mosque
Begumpur Mosque

The tower is a massive octagonal structure on a raised platform. The platform measures approximately 74x 82m.

Octagonal structure on raised platform
Octagonal structure on raised platform
True arched opening to the platform
True arched opening to the platform
Interior of the platform
Interior of the platform

It has battered sloping walls on East, West & South; unquestionably it is a typical Tughlaqi architectural feature.

[Battered Sloping walls are first introduced at Tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq].

Octagonal structure- opposite side
Octagonal structure- opposite side

Each cardinal point has a doorway. From the west, a steep flight of stairs rises to the top of the platform.

Bijay Mandal- the ruins
Bijay Mandal – the ruins

HAZAR SATHUN- A Thousand Pillared Palace

The remains of Hazar Sathun (Palace of Thousand Pillars) are supposed to be at Bijay Mandal. But Ibn Battuta mentions this thousand pillared palace at Adilabad Fort.

Hazar Sathun
Hazar Sathun
Hazar Sathun- posterior view
Hazar Sathun – posterior view

John Burton in his Indian Islamic Architecture (Forms and Typologies, Sites and Monuments- 2008) says that Hazir Satun is the first example of intersecting vaulting in India.

It is not clear who built this Hazar Sathun. Either by Alauddin Khalji or by Muhammad bin Tughlaq. A plausible hypothesis- the stone hall of the palace is by Alauddin Khalji. Where as, the tower adjoining the stone buildings is by Muhammad bin Tughlaq.

A dilapidated true arch at Hazar Sathun
A dilapidated true arch at Hazar Sathun

At this Hazar Sathun, Ibn Battuta met Muhammad bin Tughlaq. He says, the pillars of Hazar Sathun are of wood.

Wood being perishable, they doesn’t exist anymore. To the west, only a long vaulted hall with a single room in second storey exist today.

the long vaulted hall of Hazar sathun
The long vaulted hall of Hazar sathun

The room now in existence has four doors. Even though, it is made of rubble masonry, its corners are protected with red sandstone. It has battered sloping walls of 20 feet high- a typical Tughlaqi feature.

Existing room at Hazar Sathun
Existing room at Hazar Sathun
Battered Sloping walls of the existing room at Hazar Sathun invariably a Tughlaqi feature
Battered Sloping walls of the existing room at Hazar Sathun invariably a Tughlaqi feature

Today, this Hazar Sathun is in dilapidated state. Even though, it is a monument under ASI protection, it is in gross neglect.

Read about Hazar Sathun also at Jahanpanah.

TOMB OF SUFI SAINT SHAIK HASAN TAHER

Adjacent, to Bijay Mandal, to the east, lays an arcaded residential building.

It is mausoleum of a Sufi saint, Shaik Hasan Taher.  According to “Akhbar-ul-Akhiara History of Muhammadan Saints”– by Abdul Haq Muhaddis (philosopher in the reigns of Akbar and Jahangir) the saint visited Delhi during the reign of Sikander Lodi.

Tomb of Sufi Saint Saink Hasan Taher
Tomb of Sufi Saint Saink Hasan Taher

He resided at Bijay Mandal as per Sultan Sikander Lodi’s order. He died in 909AH (1503 AD). His tomb is made adjacent to this tower. The group of graves in its neighborhood belongs to his family members.

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PURPOSE OF BIJAY MANDAL:

It’s not clear whether it was a bastion or a watch tower.

To begin with, according to the majority, it is a bastion of Jahanpanah- ‘Badi Mandal’or ‘Bedi Mandal’.

On the other hand, it is a watch tower  to Y.D.Sharma. Sultan Muhmmad bin Tughlaq used this for reviewing his troops. [Delhi and Its Neighborhood- 1964].

For, Syed Ahmed Khan it is a royal stand on gala occasions. [Asar-ul-Sanadid]

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According to Gordon Hearn [The Seven Cities of Dehli- 1928] many Mongol lives are laid off, for this building’s foundation. Thus, it has been a tower of Victory. Without a doubt, Bijaya or Vijaya (Sanskrit word) means Victory.

A colony nearby using the name Vijay Mandal
A colony nearby using the name Vijay Mandal

Surprisingly, some villagers attribute this Bijay Mandal to Prithvi Raja Chauhan. Neither the chronicles nor the architecture support this view.

"Ruins

Excavations at Bijay Mandal in 1931:

This excavations, revealed South Indian gold coins of Sultan Alauddin’s reign. First time, South Indian gold coins are found in North India. [Reference- Romancing Delhi from Lal-Kot to Shahjahanabad (2016) by Urmila Varma]

Foliage around the complex- surprisingly it is a protected monument of ASI
Foliage around the complex- surprisingly it is a protected monument of ASI
A ruined ASI board- clearly deserves an attention
A ruined ASI board – clearly deserves an attention
A Poem on Bijay Mandal

Badr-i- Chach was a court poet of Emperor Muhammad bin Tughlaq. In his Qasidah [Odes or a satiric poem] he refers Bijay Mandal as Khurramabad. He mentions the competition of Khurramabad in Muharram 744 (June 1343).

Author Dr K Sharmila Reddy at the victory tower
Author Dr K Sharmila Reddy at the victory tower

Badr-i Chach’s Ode on Khurramabad (i.e. Bijay Mandal)

If the palace of a thousand pillars were not like Paradise,
Why should rewards and punishments be distributed there like as on the Day of Judgment?
Certainly, this abode of happiness, Khurramabad is chosen as a royal residence,
Because there the king,
By execution of the laws, acknowledges his subservience to the Kalifa of the world.”

[Reference- Tughlaq: Master Builders of the Delhi Sultanate– by Anthony Welch and Howard Crane]

To emphasize the neglected ruins of Bijay Mandal
To emphasize the neglected ruins of Bijay Mandal

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