‘Saat Kabar’ means ‘Sixty Graves’, a reminder of a grim, tragic tale in the city of Bijapur, Karnataka known for its rich heritage.
In 1659, Afzal Shah, the army chief of Mughal invader Ali Adil Shahi II, was commanded by his ruler to wage war against the mighty Maratha warrior, Chhatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj. Afzal was known as a superstitious man. When an astrologer predicted that he would meet with defeat and death in the impending battle at Pratapgarh, Afzal could not bear the thought of his 64 wives remarrying post his demise. He took them to a deserted spot outside Bijapur and drowned them in a well. One wife, it is said, tried to escape but failed and was killed.
Today, the few travelers who attempt to visit the Saat Kabar, have to walk through a dense forest to reach here. Upon reaching, the visitors are greeted by a high, forbidding red brick wall, devoid of features. Those who make it inside are confronted with the sight of several black stone graves scattered across a courtyard. Many broken and open to the skies.
As one stands among the graves, in the eerie silence, the cries of Afzal’s doomed queens are said to echo through the mind.