I had every chance of completing my visit to Maner Sharif yesterday. First I got delayed at Kumrahar at my own will. Then I sat down at an Internet cafe for three hours. I had lunch. When I left Patna later in the day, the traffic on the roads made the journey slow. I didn’t get a direct bus to Maner Sharif. I took a bus to Bihta, where I am supposed to change. The bus got held up at a railway crossing for an hour. When I reached Bihta, I was told there is little chance of finding rooms at Maner Sharif. So I took a room at Bihta, a place that seems to have only one lodge, Amit Lodge.
The lodge has a nice and clean restaurant. I had rotis and mixed vegetable. The dish has too much paneer in it. It was very rich. The roti was not cooked to my satisfaction. The result is that today I am feeling heavy in the stomach. I want to eat light. Expensive restaurants don’t necessarily serve good food, only rich and rajasik food.
At Maner Sharif is the tomb of a famous saint. I ask to be dropped off at Chotti Dargah. I am dropped off at a small tomb alongside the main road. It is too small to be of any interest. I walk back about 200 m and find a turning to the tombs I want to see. What I see impresses me.
I expected something small and never this big. It is a huge monument at the northern side of a large polluted tank. The tank has nice pillared kiosks on the eastern and western ends. Two men sit patiently with a line. I am not sure I want to eat fish that comes from this polluted water. The monument is reflected beautifully on this placid lake. The sunlit is diffused by the mist that stills hangs lightly.
The main entrance to the monument is on the northern side but I enter it on the southern side as I leave the tank. It is an impressive structure that stands within a garden. Access is from all four sides by walkways, something along the concept of a char bagh. At the corners of the garden are octogonal towers. On the western wall is a mosque with three arches. The arches are framed with beautiful chinikana designs.
The main monument has lots of interesting things to study. The corridor on the outside is a mixture of pointed arches and trabeated columns. The ceilings are exquisitely carved with arabesque designs. Chinikana and stone jali work fill the walls.
On the outside, the main dome is surrounded by smaller domes. The parapet walls that surround these domes contain small turrets with finials. Since the domes touch these parapet walls, sometimes these turrets are fused to the domes. It is something I have seen nowhere else.
It would be more interesting to quote some facts – who built this mausoleum, who was the saint, when was it built. I read these things on an information board but the details escape me at the present moment. I was more mesmerized by the architecture and the details of art here.