THE MEMOIRS OF ABDUR RAHEEM KHAN KHANAN MAASER I RAHEEMI;
MULLA WAISHI YAZDI TALKS OF USTAD HERAWI AS ARCHITECT OF KHAN:
MORE SPECIFICALLY MULLA ABDUL BAQI NAHAVANDI REVEALS NAME,
OF MUHAMMED ALI MIMAR GARAG, HAMMAMI AS ARCHITECT WORKS.
Islamic civilization talked of cleanliness as being half of faith itself. That is why they spread the concept all over the world. Europe was without soap for a thousand years. In fact, bathing was considered injurious to health. The cleaning practice in Hindustan was much to the desired, and it is legendary that the “Gudawi” that is a small vessel; provided all the water for morning cleanliness here. The arrival of the Muslims brought in different standards of cleanliness, and one finds the introduction of Public and Shahi hammams all over Indian region.
If we study the early hammams it is based on the concept of flowing water, rather than stagnated water. A look at the intricate hammam of Jaunpur Sultans tells us everything. Ventilation, hot and cold water, place for massage, bathing tubs and pools, toilet recluse, literally all the things that modern bath rooms are made off. All this in a separate enclosure for men and women, and interspersed with beautiful naqashi designs on the walls.
Abdur Raheem Khan Khanan was brilliant with all things which make a scholar, or a man of wisdom. He was Governor of Burhanpur and made lot of facilities for the city. One such facility was an intricate water system for the city. It was eighty feet deep and there were 111 kundis (narrow wells) all over the city. The flow was masterminded by the slope of water through gravity, and the air from towers built for the purpose. By use of special stones and filter elements, the water was more pure than mineral water. And the interesting part is that even today it is a working system and people come from all over the world come to go down in small lift to see the flow of water. A miracle of that age. Impossible for claustrophobic to go down but imagine the people who worked eighty feet deep all over the city and made it possible by joining 111 holes. And on top of line is the Janta Hammam for the public, and on the other Shahi Hammam for Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. A feat unparalleled in Hindustan. It is called KUNDI BHANDARAN, a derivative from Khooni Bhandaran, when initially the water flowing was of red colour.
Researchers could only come up with the name of USTAD HERAWI as the architect of Abdur Raheem Khan Khanan. What was missing was the actual name mentioned in the Memoirs of Abdur Raheem Khan Khanan. His name was Muhammed Ali, and his famous name was GARAG (that is Wolf), and he was famous as HAMMAMI, that a reflection of his proficiency in same. We translate the actual paragraph about him from the memoirs. An engineering feat of exceptional work. Happy reading!
In praise of hammamBecause in Hindustan initially there was governance of Kafirs and Hindus that was the reason that in their cities there were no hammams and the Muslim umma were deprivated from this blessing and the Muslims here due to lack of Hammams were in great difficulty. That is why when construction went into the hands of Iranian people then the Governor gave the order for construction of a public hammam in an open ground and in short time the architects of the government concentrated and that is why Mohammed Ali who was famous as Garag (wolf ) and who came from Khurasan (being Herat), he built a very clean and scruplous hammam and the residents and travelers took advantage of it and prayed for the government. The fair thing to say is that Hammam was comparable to heavenly. This design was very much an innovation of his own mind and he dedicated it as charity making it a waqf and was completed in date by the fifteenth and today the whole city’s needs are being fulfilled by it.
It can be presumed that Ustad Muhmmed Ali was responsible for the Janta Hammam, Shahi Hammam and for the construction of Kundi Bhandaran too. For all three are interlinked with each other.
An addition to our knowledge is the name of a geologist by the name of Tabkutul Arz (also referred as Arkbul Arzin, who guided Abdur Raheem Khan Khanan on the feasibility of this project in 1615 AD. We know that Arzin is a small village in Iran, in Taragavar, West Azerbaijan, and it seems to be proficient in Turkish knowledge of geology. Naturally a full team of architects were responsible for putting this project into motion, and Ustad Muhammed Ali must have supervised it all.