Some history and places of interest in Gaur, the ancient capital of Bengal.
Located on the Indo-Bangladesh border, Gaur is one of the largest medieval cities in the Indian subcontinent. It is the ancient capital of Bengal. It was the capital of Bengal from about 1450 AD to 1565 AD. This ancient city of Gaur is also known as Lakshnavati.
Most of these ancient forts have fallen in the Malda district of present-day West Bengal, India, and some have fallen in the Chapainawabganj district of Bangladesh. The town was located on the east bank of the Ganges, 40 km downstream from Rajmahal, and 12 km south of Malda.
Gaur city is associated with many ancient histories. But most of it is in India. And the part of this city that is lying in the Chapainawabganj area of Bangladesh is actually the whole ruin. Apart from the fourteenth-century Kotwali Gate, which is described on the basis of designs, there are no other examples of architecture built in the 13th-14th centuries.
However, the place is surrounded by tourist interest. Many people rushed to the place to see the scattered ruins. Moreover, there are a number of old monuments and places of interest, which you can see around the ancient city while touring.
Phulwari Fort is located two miles north of the ruins of the present Gaur Fort. According to some, it was a Hindu fort. However, no traces of the Muslim period have been found in the area except for a few black stone slabs. On the other hand, according to popular belief, the fort was used by Shah Shuja. Several antiques were found inside the walled fort, including shiny bricks, broken pipes made of mud clay, pieces of carved porcelain, and uneven pottery. The fort is thought to have been used in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
It is the largest mosque in Gaur, the capital of Sultanate Bengal, and is a testament to the excellence of Muslim architecture in Bengal. The mosque is commonly known as ‘Barodwari’ or the mosque with twelve doors. The mosque is built of stone on brick masonry.
At the front, there is a wide verandah along the north-south, 11 entrances, and 1 entrance each on the north and south. The mosque has three isles with three additional entrances on the north and south sides. A total of 44 domes are placed on the rectangular thick pillars. At present only the domes above the verandah and the side walls of the mosque survive.
This small golden mosque is called the jewel of Sultanate architecture. The mosque is located across the western edge of the south bank of a huge lake. Not far west of the mosque is a modern two-story guest house built a few years ago by the Department of Archeology of the Government of Bangladesh.
Among the monuments of the Sultanate period preserved by the Department of Archeology of the Government of Bangladesh, the small Sona Mosque is the best-preserved specimen. Although the old and real beauty of the mosque is no more. However, the old image can be guessed by looking at these preserved patterns.
The building structure on the west bank of a large pond in the Firozpur area of Gaur city is traditionally known as ‘Tahkhana’. There are two more structures to the northwest of the building. A three-domed mosque and a domed tomb surrounded by another vaulted verandah a little to the north.
Since the buildings were built for a specific purpose at the same time, all the buildings together are considered as a single unit or a complex. But now everything is destroyed. The Tahkhana complex is important not only as a Mughal-style installation in the Sultanate-era city but also for its architectural qualities. This is the first such architectural feature in Bengal.
This ‘Lukochuri Darwaza’ is a Mughal architecture located a little north of the Gumti Gate of Gaur Nagar Fort. The central entrance is built according to the four-cornered arched Awan style. It has similar arched entrances on both sides. The entrance is made of brick and is rectangular.
It is three stories high. The second floor has the same entrance as the ground floor. Above is an equal roof, which was used as a nakkarkhana. From the roof, the governor’s entry and exit to the city fort were announced.
Chhota Sagar Dighi:
Although Sagar and Dighi are two words in the name, it is not actually Sagar or Dighi. It is basically a big pond known as ‘Chhota Sagar Dighi’. Behind the south wall of Gaur Nagar, on the east side of Belbari Madrasa, is a large pond called ‘Chhota Sagar Dighi’.
The large pond flowed through different parts of the city and was connected to a crooked canal. Anyone can still see the parallel flow of the two canals towards the Ganges.