Bandhavgarh The Land of Kabir and Tansen

The famous enlightened saint of 16th century. Why did he chose Bandhavgarh fort of all the places to stay and meditate in the ancient caves of Bandhavgarh Fort, no concrete answers on it yet, but there has to be something special about Bandhavgarh Fort, and the forest here. One can see the inscriptions on the walls of the caves which are in Pali language a language spoken and written about 2000 years earliar. Today there is a Kabir Temple, up at the fort, where Kabir had spent time, and used to meditate and take discourses for some very close disciples of his. Kabir's first disciple was initiated at Bandhavgarh Fort, his name was Dharam Das Naam Sahib. Kabir gave a salutation in entire central India. How it came about is also an interesting story. The then maharaja of Rewa, heard about Kabir the famous Saint's arrival in his Kingdom. As Kabir was not a Brahim by birth, hence the Maharaja could not have touched his feet, hence Kabit solved his problem by saying Salaam Sahib, and he reciprocated, and ever since this has become a very famous and common way to exchange greetings.

Though no records remain to show when the fort was constructed, it is believed to be about 2000-years-old and there are references to it in the ancient books, the Narad-Panch Ratra and the Siva Purana, with several dynasties ruling the fort - the Maghas from the 1st century AD, Vakatakas from the 3rd century; the Sengars from the 5th century and the Kalachuris from the 10th century. In the 13th century AD, the Baghels took over, ruling from Bandhavgarh until 1617, when Maharajah Vikramaditya Singh moved his capital to Rewa. The last inhabitants deserted the fort in 1935.

The oldest signs of habitation are the caves dug into the sandstone, near the fort. Several of these contain Brahmi inscriptions dating from the 1st century BC. Prior to becoming a National Park, the forest range around the region had been maintained as a Shikargarh or game preserve of the Maharajahs of Rewa

Tansen later joined the court of Raja Ramachandra Baghela of Bandhavgarh. As his fame spread, the great Mughal emperor Akbar invited him to Delhi and Tansen joined his court in 1552.

Then in 1552-58 Tansen came in contact with BANDHAVGARH MAHARAJA RAMCHANDRA, Judev of Rewa state, in the dress of FAKIR. But the king accepted hum as intimate friend of him. Once again, the glory of Tansen started spreading.

Infact it is believed that Akbar's mother when she was carrying Akbar had hidden in Bandhavgarh Fort as Sher Shah Suri an Afghan ruler had invaded India and then then Emperor of the Delhi throne "Humayun", sent his pregnant wife to Bandhavgarh, as it was in central India and a very secure fort. Incidentally Akbar was born in Kalinjar Fort which is north of Bandhavgarh. Therefore Akbar also had some fond memories of Bandhavgarh, and he kept a close watch on developments in this area. So once he heard of Tansen he sent Birbal, one of his 9 Gems, commonly known in India as "Navrattnas" of Akbar to go and get Tansen. Birbal was welcomed by the Maharaja and he liked the place so much that he ended up staying here for sometime. Today there is a Palace inside the Fort named after Birbal and is called the "Birbal Bhawan"

Akbar sent army to win Rewa state but Tansen, himself, negotiated and defused the tension and shifted to Agra. According to Abul Fazal Tansen glorified Agra, the court of Akbar in Fatehpur in 1562 as a crest jewel, up to his last breath, as revealed in AIN-E-AKBARI, after his demise, the body oh Mian Tansen was taken to Gwalior and then buried near his religious guide Mohammad Gaus, at present TANSEN TOMB, GWALIOR.

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