JAJAU KI SERAI: YOU CAN’T REST AT THIS REST HOUSE
Jajau Ki Serai, around 35 km from Agra, is a Mughal-era monument
We have always preferred road journeys as these give one an opportunity to explore and experience the uncharted. On one such trip, on National Highway 44, travelling between Agra and Gwalior, we found remnants of an old serai (rest house), after driving for around 30-32 km from the City of Taj. One needs to drive down a narrow and dusty road for around half-a-kilometre and then walk down 200 metres or so to reach this Mughal era monument in Jajau.
Jajau is famous for the battle between two Mughal princes and brothers — Bahadur Shah I and Muhammad Azam Shah I on June 20, 1707. The tussle for the throne started between the two soon after their father Aurangzeb died before naming a successor. Instead he left a will stating that his sons divide the kingdom between themselves. As the sons were unable to resolve the issue, it led to a military conflict and the battle of Jajau which witnessed Azam Shah and his three sons getting killed. So, on June 19, 1707, Bahadur Shah was crowned the Mughal emperor.
Unfortunately, most of the Jajau Ki Serai complex has been encroached upon with the rooms meant for the overnight stay by travellers back then being converted into homes by settlers. All this despite the complex being declared a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. Arabesque motifs and carvings that reminds one of Mughal era architecture dot most of the walls of Jajau Ki Serai. A three-domed 16th century mosque is still in use by the locals.