Home Tourist attractions UP promotes tombs of Muslim Krishna worshipers for tourism

UP promotes tombs of Muslim Krishna worshipers for tourism

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Long forgotten, the state tourism department has redeveloped Raskhan Tombs and Taj Bibi into a tourist complex with an open-air theater

Long forgotten, the state tourism department has redeveloped Raskhan Tombs and Taj Bibi into a tourist complex with an open-air theater

Amid the wooded lanes of Gokul in Mathura lie the once forgotten tombs of Raskhan and Taj Bibi, arguably the two most famous Muslim worshipers of Lord Krishna. As the government of Uttar Pradesh has focused on establishing Krishna Janmabhoomi as a major tourist destination for pilgrims in the state, the redevelopment of these burial grounds has been prioritized. A 14-acre complex has been developed around the two hitherto neglected tombs.

A senior state tourism department official, who did not wish to be named, said The Hindu that the decision was made “keeping in mind the discussion around community friendship in the country these days”. “Here are two highly respected Muslim devotees of Krishna and renowned poets. We wanted them to be rediscovered,” the source said.

Raskhan or Syed Ibrahim Khan was a 16th century Sufi Muslim poet born in either Amroha or Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh. He became a disciple of Krishna and spent his life in Vrindavan.

Taj Bibi, also known as ‘Mughal Mirabai’, was the daughter of a Muslim nobleman, appointed by the Mughals to protect the Gokul region. According to state publication Braj Teerth Vikas Parishad: “Taj Bibi wrote poetry during Mughal times when the ruling class belonged to the Muslim religion. She had shown great courage in renouncing the recitation of the Koran of Kalma and announcing that she was a devout Hindu.

The official said that the burial complex had been proposed to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, as one of the first pilgrimage tourist sites to be developed in Braj (Mathura-Vrindavan) region, and that the CM was “excited” about the project, for which funds were released immediately.

Mr Adityanath visited the site after its completion, as did Mathura MP Hema Malini.

The complex includes an outdoor theatre, cinema center and food court. The open-air theatre, which seats around 500 people, offers performances on the life and works of Raskhan and Taj Bibi. The film studio has the capacity to accommodate 50 visitors.

The administration screens a special documentary on Ras Khan six to seven times a day. The complex receives around 2,000 to 3,000 visitors every day.

“The total cost of the project was around ₹10 crore,” said Pankaj Verma, Deputy Managing Director, Braj Teerth Vikas Parishad. The Parishad is dedicated to the redevelopment of the Braj region as a destination for pilgrimage.

According to local officials, in addition to increased tourist numbers, the area itself has been resurrected as it has become a haven for drug addicts and petty criminals. The mausoleum of Taj Bibi, which was in a state of complete ruin, had been encroached upon.

Officials said there could be many more historically significant sites in Braj, which need to be revamped by providing better infrastructure for tourists.

“In the Mathura-Vrindavan region, the Banke-Bihari temple alone sees a tourist attendance of around 2.72 million pilgrims every year. If we provide the necessary infrastructure for visitors, we can encourage them to stay for overnight stops as well. It would be a big boost for the local economy and job creation,” said Shailja Kant Mishra, Vice President of Braj Teerth Vikas Parishad.