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Feb 07,2024

Known as the gateway to North Bengal , the district of Malda boasts a rich legacy of history and culture Headquarted in Malda town on the western bank of the Mohanada River , the district is a tourists hotspot for its archaeological gems dating from the 11 th to 15 th  centuries . Most of these historic structure are consentrated in the town of Gaur and Pandua . Gaur the former capital and name of Bengal is situated south of Malda town , next to the India Bangladesh border , in a gentle rising terrain marked by endless mango orchads and enourmous tanks .  Up north lies Pandua , where the capital was shifted by the Afgans king in the 14th century . The drive to Gaur from Malda doesnt prepare u for the for the scale of what you are about to discover . The route cuts through a maze of mango orchards and ponds bursting with a bumper growth of waterlilies. The lakes get bigger , the bamboo groves more dense , the bamboo groves more dense , and just as u begin to wonder whether you have lost your way into a rural idyll , two squat sandstone pillar appear by the roadside . This is only but a sneak preview of the shape of things to come . The pillar herald the appearance of a series of awesome structures along the route mosques , gateways , the remains of a castle , ruins of a moat and so  on . Monument after monument from the heydays after monument from the heydays of Afgan and Mughal rule in Bengal pops into view . Gaur' s importance lies in this preservation of layers of Bengals history , and must be visited onece in your lifetime . Located midway between Gaur and Pandua , the charming town of Malda serves as an excellent base for visiting both the historic sites . Also known as English Bazaar after the English Bazaar after the English factory that was set up here in 1771 the town is popularly known as mango city . Equidistant from the town of Malda , the ruined cities of  Gaur  and Pandua served as the glorious capitals of Bengal at different points in history . 

Malda : Malda is famous as the gateway to north Bengal and for its sweet mangoes , as well as mango jams , squashes and pickles . It is located midway between Gaur (21km S) and Pandua (20km N ) and serves as the perfect base for visiting the impressive ruins in these historic capital cities of Bengal . There is a museum in Malda that exhibits sculptures recovered from this region , which date from the 8th to the 13th centuries CE . Maldagn of Sasanka was once the capital of ancient Bengal for several centuries . In the 12 th century AD and it is during the reign of Senas that Gour became known all over India as a seat of learning art & culture .  During the reign of Lakshaman Sen , Gour was invaded by Bhakhtiyar Khilji during early thirteenth centuary AD and after the conquest of Bengal by him , the fortunes of city was plundered by Sher Shah , the last independent Sultan of Bengal .

Gaur : The capital of Bengal from the 7th to 12th centuries CE (under the Pala and Sen dynasties ) and again from mid 15th to late 16th centuries under the Afgan kings and the and the Mughal dynasty is laid out like a period cinema set , with monument after monument popping into view . The importaint structures are Chamkti Mosque , Tantipara Mosque , Lottan Mosque , Kotwali Darwaza , Lukochuri Gate and Chamkan Mosque . Pandua was the capital from 1342 till 1565 . The main monument s to see here are the Badi Dargah , Qutb Shahi Mosque , Eklakhi Mausoleum and Adina Mosque . Baroduari Mosque constructed by Sultan Nasrat Shah in 1526 , th Baroduari Mosque serves as a perfect introduction to the archaeological splendour of Gaur . The name Baroduari , however , is a misnomer as there are only 11 doors and not 12 as the name suggests . Also known as Boro Sona Masjid or the great Golden Mosque for its once gilded domes and crowns , the mosque features a majestic arcade and a domed aisle running through the middle . It is built in Indo Arabic style and it is considered as the largest structure in Gaur .

Pandua : Shamsuddin lias Shah moved the bengal captical from Gaur to Pandua in 1342 . Pandua remained the capital till 1565 , when Sulaiman Karrani moved the capital to Tandra . Pandua was a centre  for Islamic spiritual stud a centre for Islamic spiritual studies led by dervishes Hazrat Shah Jalal , Hazrat Noor Qutbul Alam and Sheikh Raja Biyabani . Crested by a huge single dome this colossal mausoleum features carved , octagonal pillars and terracotta floral motifs . The mausoleum houses the tombs of Sultan Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah , his wife and son . The outer wall of the mausoleum tell a story of architectural flair , however the inner sanctum is rather austere . Three tombs in the centre of the square chamber are flanked by four alcoves in the corner . There are no windows and the only light that filters through is from the front entrance , adding to the chambers sombre atmosphere . Southwest of the Eklahi Mausoleum stands the grand Adina Masjid . The largest medival mosque in the Indian subcontinent , Adina served as the imperial religious quarters of the Sultanate of Bengal . Constructed by Sultan Sikander Shah between 1364 and 1374 this mosque was meant to rival  the ornate structures built by the Khalifas of Baghdad Cairo and Damascus . 

Where to stay : Only Malda has places to stay . Hotel Royal Park Hotel Kalinga and WBTDC tourists lodge are the best choices here . Hotel Gitanjali  situated on the third floor  of Netaji More Shopping complex , offers budget rooms and has a restaurant on the floor above . Malda Museum is a 10 min walk from the hotel . Another good option is Golden Park Hotel & Resort in Narayanpur . It has a resturant , bar , spa and wifi other descent choices include Silver Arcade Hotel in the Sunny Park . 

How to reach : Air : Kolkatas Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is served by international flights as well as by domestic carriers from all major metros and most big cities . Taxi fares depends on the distance and choice of vechile  . 

Rail : Malda Town Railway Station is served by the New Jalpaiguri Shatabdi Express ( 5 hrs) that runs daily from Monday to Saturday from Howrah Station . There are a number of passenger and express trains that make the same journey with the duration varying between 6 - 8 hrs . 

Road : From Kolkata follow the well maintained NH12 Bus State and private busses offer daily services between Kolkata and Malda . Monorama Travels offers several Volvo services .