Badr Auliya

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Badr Auliya is said to have come to Chittagong with eleven other saints, who lie buried in different tombs scattered throughout the region. He is respected as the foremost of the twelve saints who preached Islam in Chittagong. As such Chittagong is popularly known as Bara Auliyar Dex (land of twelve saints). Tradition associates Badr with human settlement in this district. The inhabitants of Chittagong venerate him as their guardian saint.

The Buddhists, the Hindus and the Chinese respect him as an inferior god or a spirit, the Muslim pay homage to him as an Aulia or saint. The boatman of eastern Bengal along with other five saints called Panch Pir invokes his name. He is the immortal patron saint of seaman along the coastline as far south as the Malayan Peninsula and further. The medieval Buddhist kings of Arakan waqf some villages for his tomb and they used to come for pilgrimage to the holy soul and offer presents. The people of Tenasserim in Myamnar call him Madra and to the native of Akyab he is known as Buddah Auliya or Buddah Sahib. In Chittagong, people call him in various names, Badr Alam, Badar Auliya, Badar Pir or Pir Badar and Badar Shah. In medieval Bangla literature his name is found as 'Shaha Badar Alam'.

The tomb of Badr Auliya is situated in a locality known as Badarpatti or Badarpati, near modern Bakshir Hat, a part of the old fort area, Anderkilia (Inner Fort), of Chittagong. The enclosed tomb complex had a gateway on the east. The square tomb building was constructed with heavy walls. The roof is gently curved and crowned with a big dome. There is a sandstone inscription tablet on the left side of the west facade of the monument. The tablet has five lines of Arabic inscriptions in Naskh written horizontally within sections.

The gateway has a pointed arched opening from the east within a recess under the projection of a heavy roof surmounted by a dome. Four short minarets, in full conformity with the dome, spring from the roof ending with small cupolas. The senior inhabitants of the locality have a memory of another gateway on the west side of the tomb, which was demolished to accommodate the present modern verandah constructed in 1960. An abandoned masonry well is found on the north-east corner of the tomb building. It is believed that sick people used to get cured by bathing in the sacred water of this well. [Shamsul Hossain]