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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Akbar visits Ajmer | Ist time gets married to MUZ | also after Salim's birth

Hi all,

This post talks of two important events in the life of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Both of them are related to Akbar's visit to Ajmer Sharif. And, both of them are related to the date today - 20th January.!

1st - 453 years Back...

The main incident i am going to talk about is of 20th  January 1562. Here's the background. It was the first time Akbar visited Ajmer. It so happened that one night, Akbar was hunting near Agra in a village called Mandarkar. There, he heard praises of the Sufi saint Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti from some Indian minstrels and made up his mind to visit the Dargah/Shrine. Despite the fact that it was not safe for him to visit Ajmer at that time of the year, Akbar showed an inward inclination to visit Ajmer. 

Says Abul Fazl - "...he showed a desire for enlighten­ment, conceived a strong inclination to visit the Khwaja's shrine. The attraction of a pilgrimage thither seized his collar....though his followers urged that he should not go to remote places, and spoke of the dangers of them and the numbers of refractory persons there, he did not give heed to them, for his mind was set upon going, and only became more determined to make the expedi­tion..."

Akbar proceeded to Ajmer and the first thing which reached his ears was the trouble which Raja Bharmal was facing at the hands of Sharif-ud-din, Mughal Subedar. Chugtai Khan introduced Raja Bharmal to Akbar, and that historic meet took place on 20th January 1562.!. Acc. to Abul Fazl, the marriage of Akbar with the Princess of Amer was due to a divine vision he had at Ajmer Sharif.

{Acc. to Abu'l Fazl, Hamida Bano Begum's great grandfather was a great seer, and Hamida inherited the visionary blood from him, which was later inherited by Akbar.}

I will be soon posting a separate post about the marriage of Akbar with Harka Bai/MUZ .

2nd - 445 years Back..
The is about the details of Akbar's pilgrimage to Ajmer Sharif, which he started on 20th January 1570.

Akbar had vowed that if he is blessed with a son, he would walk to the shrine of the founder of the Sufi Chishti order, Sheikh Muin-ud-Din Chishti, at Ajmer to offer his prayers. Then, Salim was born on 30th August 1569 to his first Hindu wife, Mariam-Uz-Zamani. In order to fulfill his vow, he left Agra on 20th January 1570, and swiftly covered the 370 kilometers on foot, in 16 phases. He is depicted here in this painting, accompanied by servants carrying emblems of royalty.  


Abul Fazl, notes that whenever the emperor went out in a formal context, five standards would be carried next to him, as well as the qur, a collection of flags and other insignia. These were all wrapped in red cloth, the colour of royalty.

The aftabgir, a shade held over the emperor's head and seen here, was also on Abul Fazl's list of royal emblems. While in Ajmer, Akbar distributed alms at the shrine, visited other local sacred places, and ordered the construction of new mosques.

Painted in opaque water colour and gold on paper, Akbar is at the centre of the composition, dressed in white, walking across a landscape during his pilgrimage on foot to Ajmer in thanksgiving for the birth of Prince Salim. Servants follow him, bearing emblems of royalty including a sunshade. 

In the  Ain-i-Akbari, following details are given about the royal symbols:

1. The Aurang, or throne, is made of several forms; some are inlaid with precious stones, and others are made of gold, silver, &c. 

2. The Chatr, or umbrella, is adorned with the most precious jewels, of which there are never less than seven. 

3. The Saiban is of an oval form, a yard in length, and its handle, like that of the umbrella, is covered with brocade, and ornamented with precious stones. One of the attendants holds it, to keep off the rays of the sun. It is also called Aftabgir. {See the picture above}

4. The Kaukabah, of which several are hung up before the assembly hall. {it is a crook from which a steel ball was suspended}

5. The 'Alam. When the king rides out, not less than five of these are carried along with the Qur(collection of flags carried with the king where ever he goes), wrapped up in scarlet cloth bags. On days of festivity, and in battle, they are unfurled. 

6. The Chatrtoq, a kind of 'Alam, but smaller than it, is adorned with the tails of Tibetan yaks. 

7. The Tuman toq is like the Chatrtoq, but longer. Both insignia are flags of the highest dignity, and is bestowed upon great nobles only. 
We discussed in an old post that Akbar gave Tuman Toq to Khusrau, son of Salim.
Link: Khusrau - The Unfortunate Mughal Prince - Struggle for Power-I

Alam, Tuman Togh and Chatrtoq are similar(not same) looking standards.

8. The Jhanda is an Indian flag. The Qur necessarily contains a flag of each kind; but on great occasions many are displayed.

Akbar had also vowed to visit the Dargah of Ajmer if he wins Chitor War, and after winning it also he paid a visit there. I will update it in the Chittor War series only, when i post about it.

Till then, the blog has 2 parts on Chittor battle...
Preparation of Rajputs - Battle of Chittor | II -  Click HERE to Read  
Why did Akbar attack Chittor - I  Click HERE to Read

This article has been posted under the Mughals(Akbar) section of this history BLOG.

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  1. Posting Radhika's comment here...

    Abhay, a beautiful post! I was waiting for a long time for a post (from
    you) on Akbar's spiritual journey, which kick started from Ajmer, touched
    Sikri but ultimately became an internal quest for the true meaning of
    religion, spirituality and what we all seek to know, though few succeed.

    is incredible to see a man who was so ruthless in expanding his empire
    being so passionately devout too in his personal life. And yet later in
    his life, as he started becoming more tolerant and accepting of various
    faiths, he actually stopped going to the one place where his journey had
    really started.

    What I loved about this post is that he comes across as
    an ordinary guy who is so thankful to God for blessing him with a child
    after a long wait. At this point, there is nothing kingly about him.

    more touching is his vision of his soulmate even before he met her or
    thought of marrying her. It is moments like this which make one truly
    emotional and believe in true love surviving across births. Ajmer was so
    special to Akbar - it brought him his soulmate, his heir and even the
    symbol of his victory over Rajputana - the fort of Chittor.

    And January
    seems to have been the time he traditionally went for his pilgrimage to
    Ajmer. May be the weather suited him, may be there were less attacks
    during the cold months from the western borders, maybe it had something
    to do with the Islamic calendar or may be it was just a coincidence.

    I am so looking forward to reading about his trip to Ajmer with MUZ :))
    I can barely wait for the details :))

  2. abhay - beautiful content. garnished well. flow iz awesome. want 2 share interesting info i read. aftr marriage wid muz. akbar sent 4 some cooks 4rm sambhar/amer 4 mughal kitchen. i wondered if tat ws 4 muz ? she was vegetarian i feel.

  3. radhika - very beautiful post. always refreshing 2 read u dear.

  4. thanks 4 sharing iqra. plz keep sharing ur readings when ever u come across something new. :)

  5. Thanks Iqra for sharing this interesting information.

  6. Thanks so much for this lovely Post Abhay. Very interesting indeed.

  7. Abhay Interesting and timely post good to know the significance of the day in Akbar's life. religious belief and thanking God has been one of the principles

  8. Wow Abhay , I cant believe that the historical meet happened this day :):):)
    I could visualize some scenes of the serial here for the first incident , where CK introduces Bharmal to Akbar !!!! How historical it would have been today , in those years back ... I feel so overjoyous , that the impossible occured back then and now too we r reading it with atmost interest n love for them ( AK_HK) ... Thanks for the wonderful posts Abhay :):) I couldn't comment on those posts through mob , as i was in vaccation then .... Awesome work done on the posts of Khusrao n MP :D:D
    Kudos to ur hardwork n dedication to these posts n history abhay :):)

  9. Abhay, So Today is Memory Day, 20 jan, Akbar Visted,453 years Back, Azmer sharrif, This post shows, After listening,Praise, of Sufi, Sant Khwaza, Akbar Heart vibrated, or he Visted, Azmer.

    So He listened, here BM, also,Or Maybee destiny, changing, here Akbar Life, because, Jodha stars, were going, to bind with Akbar this visit, also became the reason of combining, TWo communities.History, of Mughal +Rajputs also , going to Start changing, here.Is it means, Akdha life was uniting from, with God blessings.

    Akbar was Ruthless King, but , some kindness, +Adopting, New things,he got God gifted, +internally,Thanksgining nature, he changed, himself too much, or he decided, if he will again visit, if he gets a Son, or He visted, By Foot,

    Jan month, too chilled Month, Agra, or Azmer Both places, How he visted, that time,Any info, But it means Akbar was confirm on his words.Its also a person dignity, Talk, or it clears How much Person Words Matters or important, if Rajputs were, confirm, cause of their VACHAN, so Akbar was also, Confirm cause of Words.

    so Akbar Two times choosed this Date,20 Jan,

    or you wrote 20 jan, Surprise Package, 20 jan,

    Thanks Abhay, 20 jan,

  10. Lovely.....Thank you for the post Abhay :)

  11. So, u hv at last started posting abt the most awaited incident,--The Ajmer trip! Thank u so much fr that, history-geek :) I felt the post is really short, n so many qustns remain to be answered in the next part :) Can't wait to read them.:)
    I am wondering how both ruthlessness n spirituality existed in Akbar side by side! As a Shehenshah he cud not afford to be spiritual on the battlefield. But as Radhika said, the quest fr the devine has lad him to the right place, at the right time n ultimately transforming him into a great benevelont king. The king, who ultimately had the "sakshatkar' that all religions say the same thing albeit in a different way.
    Awaiting ur next posts---

  12. You're welcome Sindhu. Nice to see you on blog after long. :)

  13. Well said Sunram. His religious views are a matter to study upon, which went a transformation with time & are as much debated as his greatness.:)

  14. Thank you Suganya. I can imagine your excitement on reading these posts. Believe me, i too go through the same stage while reading and writing about these legends. :)

  15. Ayushi,
    Yes this visit was a game changer in the life of Akbar. It was a new beginning. A new kind of story was going to be scripted. Thanks for telling me about the weather. Despite being cold, Akbar was adamant to go there.
    And, Incidentally, the date is 20th January for both the events. :D

  16. You're welcome buddy. And i am finding you here after VERY LONG. I hope everything is well and fine, and wish to see you more often on the blog. Glad you liked it. :)

  17. Geeta,
    Yes this post is short, i wanted to lay emphasis only on this date - 20th January. Because this day was important in life of Akbar. :)
    You caught a beautiful point. "Ruthlessness and Spirituality -" Yes, Akbar was ruthless at times and was spiritual as well. But, as we know, Kings can not be saints, and every king has to behave in a cold manner some times. This does not means i am endorsing any "ruthless" act of Akbar, but just giving a reason for such acts. I agree with all the points. :)

  18. YEah ofc Abhay , I get all " excited " when i got to know even little FActs of ' History' ... Such is ma interest in knowing abt them, who are the legends of our Indian soil :):) And abt the posts , i love reading it again n again !!!

  19. Abhay, Near my house, Temple, Jagarn happens in Navratras.

    They tell us a story,

    Akbar visted, Devi JAWALA JEE, when he was Ruthless, When he saw, Flams, Evergreen, Burning there. Because then he not belives, DEVI, Maa, He PUT BIG TAVA"S on Flame, so Flames,shut down, but flames, crossed, Big Tava's, Akbar got very angery, He ordered, servents, Lot of Water, Put on flames, flames should be shut down, But flames, not shut down. When Wather was going to put on flames. Akbar heart feel, Some natrual power is stoping him, or that movement, His Heart start, to belive, Hinduisim, Then he own gave market, buy a GOLDEN CHATRA, or he honoured, Devi JAWALA JEE, or he Bow his head, front of temple, or speaked sorry, or said, he did a big mistake, or he begged, for forgiveness.

    Is Akbarnama or any sources, you read this type of story.