Nurjahan Ki Sarai

Nurjahan Ki Sarai

 

It is situated on the northern extreme end of the eastern (left) bank of the Jamuna, just between the Battis-Khambha and the Bagh-i-Gul Afshan of Babur which was renovated and renamed Bagh-i-Nur Afshan by Jehangir (c. 1615-19). This area was granted by him to Nurjehan in jagir (personal estate) about 1612 A.D. and it was about the same time that the wise lady, realizing its extremely important need, built this sarai. She was entitled to collect duties on all goods before they could be shipped across the river, and it was for the use of the traders that this sarai was built on the river-bank, exclusively for the riverine traffic. Accounts of foreign travellers who visited it in the 17th century show that it was a single-storeyed pucca masonry sarai which was spacious enough to accommodate 500 horses and 2000-3000 travellers with their retinue.

At present, it is lying in an extremely ruined condition. It is rectangular in plan laid out on an east-west axis, with the main gate being on the eastern side. There is another though smaller gateway on the river-side, where there originally was a spacious ghat (quay). Its river-side tower and chhatri have survived. Series of single-storeyed rooms were disposed on two oblong, northern and southern sides, leaving the middle space wide open for traffic. Each room had a vaulted ceiling, and a dalan (verandah) on its front which was protected by a chhajja. All openings were arched.

Brick masonry was duly plastered over. Chhajja slabs have now been pillaged and only their brackets have remained in-situ. Except for these tastefully moulded stone brackets and bare brick masonry skeleton, everything of this once beautiful sarai of Nur Jehan has been destroyed, owing, obviously, to the lack of awareness of their heritage on the part of the people, and total neglect by the conservation agencies.