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Founded in 1400 AD on the banks of the Tapti river in Madhya Pradesh, the city of Burhanpur was the second Mughal capital and the place where Emperor Shah Jahan's beloved Begum Mumtaz Mahal died. Although the Taj Mahal is her more famous final resting place, it was not her first; and had it not been for the lack of white marble in the region, Burhanpur could have been the location for this world famous monument to love. Under the rule of Shah Jahan, Burhanpur became a beautiful city and an important Mughal outpost.

This ancient city has several historical sites, including mosques, tombs and palaces which are today rather neglected but historically interesting. Arguably Burhanpur’s most impressive site is the Asirgarh Fort, situated 20km north of Burhanpur – a mighty structure on what was one of the most important routes from northern India to the Deccan, thus it was known as the "key to the Deccan". Another important site is Shahi Qila – now largely in ruins, it was once a majestic palace which still displays some exquisite sculptures and carvings, and houses a hamam that was built for Shah Jahan's wife and was supposedly where she died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. 

Another fascinating feature of Burhanpur is the Khooni Bhandara, an ancient and elaborate water supply system constructed by Mughal Subedar Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana of Emperor Jehangir's regime in 1615. It demonstrates the unparalleled skill and ingenuity of Mughal engineering.

Burhanpur, North India Burhanpur, North India
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Bill Bryson

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