Barabanki

About Barabanki

Dewa Sharif Dargah Barabanki UP

District Barabanki is situated about 29 Kms. in the East direction of Lucknow, the Capital of Uttar Pradesh. This district being one of the four districts of Faizabad division, is located in the heart of Awadh region and it lies between Latitudes 26° 30' North and 27° 19' North and Longitudes 80° 58' East and 81° 55' East.

District Barabanki is surrounded by district Faizabad in the East, districts Gonda and Bahraich in the North East, district Sitapur in the North West, district Lucknow in the West, district Rae Bareli in the South and district Sultanpur in the South East. The river Ghaghra forms the North Eastern Boundary separating Barabanki from Bahraich and Gonda. It is easily accessible from Lucknow.

History of Barabanki

The district of Barabanki also known as the Entrance to Poorvanchal, has the privilege of being the penance ground to numerous saints and ascetics. This is a place of great antiquity.

There are several ancient sayings to the naming of this district. It was known before the Muslim conquest as Jasnaul, from Jas, a raja of the Bhar tribe, who is said to have founded it before 1000 AD. With a change of proprietors came a change of name. The Muslim owners divided the lands into twelve shares, over which the respective proprietors quarrelled so incessantly that they were called the Barah Banke, or twelve quarrelsome men. Banka, in Awadhi, means a bully or brave. Others derive the name from ban, meaning wood or jungle, and interpret Barabanki as the twelve lions of jungle.

District Barabanki was known as Dariyabad with its headquarters at Dariyabad town established by an officer in the army of Mohammed Shah Shariqi by the name Dariab Khan. It remained the district headquarters till 1858 AD, The headquarters were later moved to Nawabganj in 1859 AD the other popular name of Barabanki.

Barabanki at a Glance

Geographical Area 3891.5Sq. Km.
No. of Tehsils 6
Development Blocks 15
Nyay Panchayat 136
Gram Sabha 1002
No. of Village 1839
Towns and Cities 15
Nagar Palika Parishad 1
Nagar Panchayat 15
Census Town 3
Bus Station/Bus Stop 93
Railway Station/Halt 19

Geography of Barabanki

The District is for the most part flat to monotony, there is an utter absence of mountains; the most elevated point is about four hundred and thirty feet above the sea; and there are few points of view from which any expanse of country can be surveyed. The verdure and beauty of the groves with which it is studded in every direction redeem the prospect from bare ugliness, and when the spring crops are green and the jhils yet full of water, the richness of the landscape is very striking.

Here and there patches of uncultivated wastelands can be seen, but a high assessment and security of tenure are rapidly converting them into waving fields of corn. Towards the north, especially along the old bank of the Ghaghra, the ground is undulating and richly wooded, while to the south there is a gentle slope down to the Gomti. The monotonous level is broken on the north by an abrupt fall, the ridge running parallel to the Ghaghra at a distance of from one mile (1.6 km) to three miles (5 km), is said to indicate what was formerly the right bank of the river. The district is intersected at various parts by rugged ravines.

Area

According to the 1991 census the area of the district was 4401 km². The districts were reconstituted and Tehsil Rudauli of this district was merged with district Faizabad, thereby reducing the land area of the district. Now the area of the district stands reduced to 3895.4 km². The area is liable to vary from year to year due to the slightest change in the course of the river Ghaghra, because this slight variation makes a noticeable change in the overall area of the district.

Flora and Fauna of Barabanki

Flora

One of the sayings is that Barabanki got its name due to excessive forests. But, unfortunately today very little land area remains as a token of forest in this district. With passage of time, pressure of the increasing population and the need to grow more food, ultimately became the reason for clearing of the majority of forest cover for cultivation. As of today, majority of the forest cover in Barabanki district is on uneven land scape and consists of a mixed variety of vegetation mainly bushes.

The forests are small and scattered. The total area under forests is approximately 5308 hectares with 29% in tehsil Ramsanehi Ghat, 27% in tehsil Fatehpur and 15% in tehsil Haidergarh. Most of the forest cover is on the banks of the river Gomti and Kalyani. In addition to this, on 1034 km of PWD roads in the district are trees on both its sides. The trees like Shishum, Arjuna, Kanji, Khair, Saagaun, Subabul, Neem, Eucalyptus, Babul, Kanju, Gold Mohar, Kesia, Akesia, Mango and Jamun are found in sufficient numbers.

Groves

The land area under groves, gardens and plantations is fairly distributed throughout the district; Groves in the district consist mostly of mango and are concentrated in tehsil Nawabganj, Ramnagar and Fatehpur.

Fauna

Animals in the wild have greatly decreased in number and variety in the district due to excessive hunting and poaching during the past century. The various animals found there are Neel Gai (Blue bull), Hiran (deer), Barasingha (Swamp deer), Padha (Blackbuck), Chital (Spotted deer), fox, jackal, porcupine. The Neel Gai has become a menace to the farmers in the district due to their rising numbers. However, all the above animals are on the protected list.

Birds

The birds of the district are similar to those of the adjoining districts. The birds found are of several varieties; ducks, King Fisher, partridges, pigeons, peacock and several other water birds.

Reptiles

A number of varieties of snakes and other reptiles are found almost everywhere in the district especially in the rural areas. Some of the poisonous snakes found there are Cobra, Krait and Rat snake. Several non-poisonous snakes have also been noticed and python being the main among them. The other reptiles found in the district are the chameleon and Bichhkhopra.

Fish

Fish are found in the rivers, streams, ponds, canals, catchment areas and artificial reservoirs of the district. There are a number of species of fish which have been found in this district so far, the chief being the rohu (Labeo rohita), nain (cirrhina mrigala), mangur (clarius batrachus), saul (ophiocephelus spp.), katla.

Culture of Barabanki

The land of Barabanki district possesses a rich heritage in keeping with its glorious past. This district since its inception has been the meditorium for numerous saints and ascetics, sanctum sanctorum of Sadhna for the literary intellectuals and battlefield for the freedom fighters.

For bringing the whole world under one umbrella, Sufi Saint Haji Waris Ali Shah of international fame, motivated people through the message of Jo Rab Wahi Ram i.e. the supreme power, God is One, is the flower of this fertile land. Satnami Saint Shri Jagjiwan Das and Saint Malamat Shah lit the torch of communal harmony for the countrymen at large. The place of pilgrimage of the kanwariyas Mahadeva, the Kurukshetra of Mahabharat and the Parijaat tree - the animate symbols of Mahabharat era are also present as mile stones of the spiritual tilt of this sacred land of Barabanki district.

Places to Visit

Mahadeva

Bam-bhole,bam-bam-bhole resounding with the devotees moving in groups with Kanwar on their shoulders is famous for Lord Shiva's Lodheshwar temple where the wishes of the devotees are being fulfilled since time immemorial and continues to be so even today. Even today, the people flock in lakhs to this place in the month of Phalgun every year i.e. on the occasion of Mahashivratri to worship and offer water to the famous shivling. This ancient Shiv temple is situated at village Mahadeva in tehsil Ram Nagar of district Barabanki on the banks of Ghaghra. Lodheshwar Mahadev has ancient history to its credit. The Shivling in this temple being one of the exotic and rarest of the 52 shivlings on the surface of earth.

It is said that, prior to the Mahabharat period, Lord Shiv wished to reappear on the earth once again. Pandit Lodheram Awasthi was a learned Brahmin, simple, kind and good natured villager. One night Lord Shiv appeared in his dreams. Next day, Lodheram who was childless, while irrigating his field, saw a pit from where his water was getting drained into the earth. He tried hard to plug it, but failed and returned home. In the night, again he saw the same statue in his dreams, and heard whispers saying 'The pit where water is getting drained is my location; establish me there and I would get fame by your name.'

It is said that, next day when Lodheram was digging the said pit, his implement struck a hard substance, and he saw the same statue in front of him, blood was oozing from the place where his implement had hit the statue, this mark can be seen even today. Lodheram was terrified by this sight, but he continued to digout the statue, but failed to get to the other end of the statue, so he left it as it is, and built the temple at the same place with half his name 'Lodhe' and the Lord Shiv's 'Ishwar', thereby became famous by the devotees name i.e. Lodheshwar. The Brahmin was then blessed with four sons, Mahadeva, Lodhaura, Gobarha and Rajnapur, villages named after them exist even today.

Dewa

The pilgrim town of Dewa is situated just 42 Kms. from Lucknow and 12 Kms. from the district headquarters of Barabanki in the heart of erstwhile 'Awadh'. This is the birth place of Haji Waris Ali Shah who influenced the lives of people of many generations with his message of universal love for humanity. Haji Waris Ali Shah came of a family of Husaini Syeds, and was born in the first quarter of the 19th century.

His father Syed Qurban Ali Shah died in his early childhood. Hindus held him in high esteem and regarded him as a perfect Sufi and a follower of Vedanta. Haji Saheb left for his heavenly abode on 7th April, 1905. He was buried at the spot where he died and this place is marked by a splendid monument erected in his memory by some of his devoted followers, both Hindus and Muslims. Every year Urs is held at the scared tomb in the month of 'Safar' (July). Haji Waris Ali Shah organized 'Urs' of his father in the month of Kartik (October-November) where a big fair known by the name 'Dewa Mela ' is held to commemorate the Saints.

Pilgrims from all parts of the country and abroad come to pay their homage to the great Sufi Saints, Haji Waris Ali Shah and his father Qurban Ali Shah. A big cattle market is the highlight of the Fair. A good variety of cultural programmes are organized during the Fair including an All India Mushaira, Kavi Sammelan, Music Conference, Manas Sammelan, Seeratun Nabi etc. Sports loving people find great pleasure in events like Hockey, Volleyball, Badminton, Athletics, etc. Hundreds of brightly lit and decorated shops offer a variety of handicrafts, household utility items, toys, delicious snacks and exotic sweetmeats. A brilliant display of Fireworks marks the conclusion of the 10 days Fair.

Parijaat

Village Kintur, about 38 Kms. east of district headquarters Barabanki was named after Kunti, mother of the Pandav. There are a numerous ancient temples and their remains around this place. Nearby a temple established by Kunti, is a special tree called Parijaat. There are a number of sayings about this tree, which have popular acceptance. One being, Arjun brought this tree from heavens and Kunti used to offer and crown Shivji with its flowers.

The other saying being, that Lord Krishna brought this tree for his beloved queen Satyabhama. Historically, though these saying may have some bearing or not, but it is true that this tree is from a very ancient background. The following is said in the Harivansh Puraan about Parijaat. Parijaat is a type of Kalpvraksh, it is said to be found only in the heavens and, whosoever makes a wish under this tree, gets fulfilled. In the Religious and ancient literature, we find a number of references to the Kalpvraksh, but no description whatsoever of its existence can be found anywhere in the world, except for only Kintur (Barabanki).

Whereby this unique Parijaat tree of Kintur holds a special place in the world. In botanical terms, PARIJAAT is known as Adansonia digitata and has been kept in a special category, because it does not produce either its fruit or its seeds, neither can its branch cuttings can be planted to reproduce a second Parijaat tree., the botanist say, that there is no such tree anywhere else to be found.

Other Places

Siddhaur

It was initially known as Siddhpura, and as time passed by, it became Siddhaur. It is around 50 Kms from district headquarter Barabanki. It is adorned by the famous Siddheshwar Mahadev temple, and here in the months of December and January each year a big Fair is held on the occasion of Shivratri. There is a mausoleum of Sufi Saint Qazi Qutub and people come to pay their respects to this Sufi Saint. A big Fair is held here on the occasion of every Id-ul-fitr and Id-uz-Zuha

Badosarai

Badosarai around 9 Kms. northeast of Ram Nagar tehsil headquarters was established around 550 years by a spiritual King. About 6 Kms southeast of this place is the temple of Baba Jagjivan Das the founder of the 'Satnaami' sect at Kotwa, popularly known as Kotwa Dham, with a very beautiful pond nearby. Thousands of pilgrims take a holy dip in this pond during the Fairs held in the months of October and April.

There is a mazar of a Sufi Saint Malamat Shah between Badosarai and river Ghaghra, who left for his heavenly abode about 300 years ago. People throng this place to pay their respects to this Sufi Saint.

Satrikh

It is said that its original name was Saptrishi, because Guru Vashisht, the Kulguru of the Suryavanshi kings, preached and taught the young princes here. It is the penance ground of great number of Saints and ascetics. No certified evidences are available to give any authentic details prior to the Muslim rule about this place. This was the headquarter of Sayyed Salar Masood, the brother of Mehmood of Ghazni. His father Salar Shah's tomb is here, and people visit this monument to pay their respects. The main congregation is held during the full moon of 'Jaishtha' that is the summers. Sheikh Salahuddin had also come with Salar Shah and settled down in Satrikh.

Bhitauli

On the banks of the stream Soti is Bhitauli, the last front of the Freedom fighters of the First war of Indian Independence in 1857-1858. Here Raja Guru Bux Singh with his men fought the British bravely. This place has a fort and sufficient remains of the freedom struggle and hence it has been declared as the place on the protected historical heritage list.

How to Reach

Railway

Both the Northern Railway and the North Eastern Railway pass through Barabanki district.

Length of railway line: broad gauge 131 km
Railway Stations/Halts: 9

Road transport

National Highways 24A, 28, 28C and 56A pass through the district. It is well connected to other cities by means of roadways. Passenger road transport services in the state of U.P. started on 15 May 1947 with the operation of bus service on the Lucknow – Barabanki route by the erstwhile U.P. Government Roadways.

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