Situated on the left bank of the Ghaghara River, Faizabad was once the capital of the Nawabs of Oudh. Its occupies a privileged place on the tourist map of India because of Ayodhya which is 6km to its west. Ayodhya is a famous pilgrim centre for the Hindus. Pilgrims and tourists visiting this holy place like to stay at Faizabad because it offers better accommodation.
In fact, Faizabad has a number of attractions and could easily stand on its own were it not overshadowed by the famous Ayodhya. Places you could visit in the town are Fort Calcutta, the Mausoleum of Bahu Begum and Gulab Bari.
¤ Historic Presopective
Shuja-ud-daulah, the third Nawab of Oudh, took an active part in the political convulsions that followed the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. He also became the wazir (prime minister) of the Mughal Empire. His son and successor, Asaf-ud-daulah, concluded the Treaty of Faizabad with the British.
The treaty took a heavy toll on the state’s exchequer.
The administration of Oudh became corrupt under him and continued to degenerate under his successor, Saddat Ali. The latter sought the help of the British to ascend the throne to which there was actually another claimant. This made the kingdom of Oudh dependent on the British Empire in India. Its veiled independence was done away with during the governor-generalship of Wellesly (1798-1805).
¤ Places of Interest
Fort Calcutta was constructed by Shuja-ud-daulah after he suffered defeat at the hands of the British, in the Battle of Buxer in 1764. The fort has massive clay ramparts. The Nawab lived here, and after his death on the 26th January, 1775, it continued to be the resident of his widow, Bahu Begum. After Shuja-ud-daulah, the fort declined in importance and Lucknow became the seat of power of the next Nawab, Asaf-ud-daulah.
Mausoleum of Bahu Begum
Built in 1816, the mausoleum of Bahu Begum is ‘the finest building of the kind in Oudh’. Built in white marble, it is 42m high.
The plan and chief features of this building are taken from Gulab Bari, another important monument at Faizabad. Bahu Begum, widow of Shuja-ud-daulah, fell prey to the conspiracy hatched by Asaf-ud-daulah in connivance with the British East India Company.
The role of Warren Hastings (1774-85), the first Governor General of Bengal, in the whole episode is not above reproach.
They tried to deprive the widow of the immense wealth which she had inherited from her husband.
Mausoleum of Shuja-ud-daulah or Gulab Bari
Situated 2.5km from the Mausoleum of Bahu Begum, the mausoleum of Shuja-ud-daulah was built in 1775. The ground floor contains three tombstones.
The tomb in the centre is that of Shuja-ud-daulah, while to its left lies the tomb of his mother. The third one is that of his father. The complex also houses a mosque and an imambara (tomb of a Shiite Muslim holy man). The imambara lies to the south of the tombs.
There exists a fine museum in the Guptar Park, near the Guptar Ghat. Within the park lies a temple, located at the place from where Rama is believed to have disappeared.
There are some beautiful temples at the Guptar Ghat such as Chakra Harji Vishnu Temple and Gupta Harji and Raja Mandir. Imprints believed to be of Rama’s feet have been found in the Chakra Harji Vishnu Temple.