Lalbagh Fort: A festinating Mughal architecture
Lalbagh Fort (Lalbagh Kella) is the only historical landmark of Bangladesh built during the Mughal period. It is constructed of a combination of touchstone, marble stone, and colored tile. Apart from Lalbagh Fort, no such historical combination has been found in any other historical landmark of Bangladesh. Lalbagh Fort is located in Lalbagh in the old part of Dhaka. If you plan to travel to Bangladesh, make sure you pay a visit to Lalbagh Fort.
History of Lalbagh Fort
The naming of the fort is interesting. The name ‘Aurangabd’ was alterd with Lalbagh in 1844. Locals say that due to reddish ground, the place got the name ‘Lalbagh’. Bengali term ‘Lal’ is synonymous with the English word ‘Red’. Accordingly, the fort got the name Lalbagh fort. The fort is situated on the Buriganga River banks in northwestern Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Lalbagh Fort, like many other archaeological gems in Bangladesh, has a long and rich history. Lalbagh Fort is often regarded as a memorial to Prince Muhammad Azam’s unfulfilled dreams.
During his tenure as Viceroy of Bengal in the 17th century, Prince Muhammad Azam started work on the spectacular Lalbagh Fort. Before the construction was completed, however, Prince Azam was called back to his father, Emperor Aurangzeb, to assist in the war against the Marathas. Shaista Khan proceeded with the construction project until the untimely death of his beloved daughter Iran-Dukht, popularly known as Bibi Pari (Fair Lady). Bibi Pari was betrothed to Prince Azam at the time of her death.
The main purpose of Lalbagh Fort was to provide a defensive enclosure for the protection of the palace buildings and is, therefore, more of a palace-fortress than a siege fort. The fort is rectangular with many outstanding features. The south gate of the fort consists of a three-storied structure with slender minarets. The other gates are more modest. The fort features several underground tunnels and a massive three-domed rectangular mosque in the complex’s western part. Other notable structures within the fort complex include the Tomb of Bibi Pari and the original audience hall and bathing area of Nawab Shaista Khan, which now houses a museum. The tomb consists of eight rooms surrounding a central square room, which contains the mortal remains of Bibi Pari. The center space is covered by an octagon-shaped bronze-overlaid dome, and the walls are covered with beautiful tile work.
The infrastructure of Lalbagh Fort Complex
Pari Bibi tomb
The architecture of Pari Bibi’s tomb is unique and beautiful. This is the most beautiful monument from the Mughal era.
For the building, precious stones such as white marble and black basalt were imported from Rajmahal hills in Rasputana. The tiles are beautiful and available in a variety of colors. As a result, the interior of the tomb looks magnificent.
Other than Pari Bibi’s tomb, the other chambers have been rebuilt and contain nothing noteworthy. However, the building’s outside shell is attractively ornamented with basalt stones.
The layout of Pari Bibi’s tomb is similar to that of Humayun’s mausoleum in Delhi.
The Mughal Mosque
The mosque, located on the fort’s western side, is a landmark of Mughal architecture. The addition of three domes enhanced the mosque’s beauty. The mosque’s alignment with Pari Bibi’s grave gives an appealing appearance.
Even now, locals utilize the mosque as a prayer hall. Furthermore, there are no admission prices if you choose to visit it.
Residence of the Governor
Inside the fort, there is a third structure that served as the governor’s residence. Shaista Khan made use of the two-story structure. On the west side of the structure is an extension. In addition, there is an audience hall adjacent to the Hammam. The family who lives in the building uses the hammam, a colossal bathroom.
The central hall fountain is magnificent. People can locate the fountain in the heart of the central hall.
From above, a dome protects the Hammam. The main goal was to get sunshine into the Hammam via the dome. There’s also a concrete tank available. The tank was used to store hot or cold water for the family’s bathing.
Furthermore, there are two sets of stairs at the structure’s two corners. The layout of the top and lower floors is nearly identical.
There are a handful of entrances to the fort. However, the south entrance (or south gate) is the most visible. The gate faces the river and enhances the overall aspect. Two massive minarets with two-story windows surround the gate.
The pillars have climbed to heights. There is also a guard room and a staircase at the gate. The fortification wall is the fort’s other marvel. The walls are approximately 25 feet tall from the ground.
The Lalbagh Fort is also well-known for its hidden passageways. The tunnels led to several locations, including another fort at Zinzira on the other side of the Buriganga River.
There were also various mazes inside the fort. The mazes’ main purpose was to mislead invaders and attackers. They couldn’t locate a route out of the fort after their infiltration. They had to die of famine since they couldn’t get out of the maze.
Furthermore, many of the Sepoy Mutiny’s mutant troops died here. During the colonial era, British soldiers pursued them into the maze. As a result, they were unable to escape and died.
However, the authorities sealed secret tunnels. Tourists can find some evidence of the tunnel beside the south entrance.
How to go
Lalbagh Fort is located on the bank of the Buriganga River on the southwest side of old Dhaka. You may ride a tempo or Dhaka’s renowned rikshaw from Golap Shah’s shrine in Gulistan to Lalbagh Fort. You may also take a rickshaw from New Market or Gulistan. If you are near Dhakeshari temple, you may walk 5 minutes or hire a rickshaw to the fort. You can also use Uber to get there, but a rikshaw would provide a better experience.
For google map location click here
Tickets for the Fort
Both sides of the main gate of Lalbagh fort have two counters. Children under the age of five do not require a ticket. Adults, on the other hand, must have it. Domestic tourists and visitors pay Tk. 10 per person, whereas foreigners pay Tk. 100 – 200 per person.
Lalbagh Kella is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the winter. In both the winter and summer seasons, however, there is a noon break from 01:00 pm to 01:30 pm. On Friday, the fort opens at 9 a.m. and closes for Jumma prayer from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. Sundays are closed, while Mondays are half days. Aside from that, the Lalbagh fort is closed on all public holidays.
you can also check out another architectural beauty of Bangladesh, the Puthia Temple Complex