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Lalbagh Fort – interesting facts and figures

One of the most magnificent Mughal structures and renowned tourist spot, Lalbagh Fort is located in the old town of the capital city Dhaka. The fort is also famous in some other names such as Fort Aurangabad. The fort is adjacent to the River Buriganga.

Painting of the South Gate of Lalbagh Fort from 1787

Background of Lalbagh Fort

This is an incomplete Mughal structure. Muhammad Azam (the third son of Aurangazeb) started the construction in 1678 in Bengal. The construction remained incomplete as he stayed only 15 months in this region. When his father asked him to go back in Delhi, the then capital, he followed his father’s order.

Shaista Khan, the then governor (Subedar) of Dhaka was responsible to complete the fort. But he also did not complete it because of his daughter’s demise. Iran Dukht (also known as Pari Bibi) was the daughter of Shaista Khan. She died in 1648 which is the prime cause of stopping the construction. Shaista Khan started believing that the fort is ominous and so he did not attempt to complete it.

The tomb of Pari Bibi is now a major part of the fort. Numbers of local and foreign visitors pay visit at the tomb located at the center of the fort.

Paining of Lalbagh Fort in 1816 by Charles D’Oyly

The fort started losing its charm for several reasons. First of all, Shaista Khan left the city. The Mughal regime was also declining with the departure of Shaista Khan. The other reason was shifting the capital to Murshidabad from Dhaka. Gradually, the fort lost its popularity and turned into an abandoned place.

The naming of the fort is interesting. The name ‘Aurangabad’ was altered with Lalbagh in 1844. Locals say that due to reddish ground, the place got the name ‘Lalbagh’. Bengali term ‘Lal’ is synonymous to English word ‘Red.’ Accordingly, the fort got the name Lalbagh Fort.   

Shaista Khan received the fort as a gift from Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. It was an emotional issue since the body of Pari Bibi was buried in the fort.

The successors of Shaista Khan leased the fort to the government to earn some revenue utilizing the fort. Accordingly, the fort housed a cantonment in 1853.

But the present scenario is different. This is a historical site and Bangladesh Archaeological Department is taking care of it.  

Different Parts of Lalbagh Fort

The Mughal Mosque

In the western side of the fort, the mosque is a symbol of Mughal architecture. Three domes have raised the beauty of the mosque. And the alignment of the mosque with the tomb of Pari Bibi creates an attractive look.

Locals use the mosque as prayer hall in the present day too.  Besides, you will need no entry fees if you wish to visit it.

The Pari Bibi Tomb

The structure of the Pari Bibi’s toms is special and gorgeous. Among the other structures of the Mughal era, this is the finest one.

Various precious stones like white marble, black basalt were brought from Rajmahal Hills, Rasputana for the construction. The tiles are wonderful and they come with several colors. Thereby, the interior of the tomb gets a splendid look.   

The monument is 66-feet and the central structure is on a platform of stone. The roof has a false dome while the interior has nine chambers. The central chamber is 19-feet in length.  

The other chambers have been remodeled and there is nothing special other than the grave of Pari Bibi. But the outer shell of the building is nicely adorned with basalt slabs.

In layout, the tomb of Pari Bibi resembles the more ambitious tomb of Humayun at Delhi.

Residence of the Governor

There is a third building inside the for which was used as the residence of governor. Shaista Khan used the two-storied building. The structure has an annex in the west side. Besides, there is an audience hall alongside the Hammam. Hammam is a large bathroom that the family living in the building.

The fountain in the central hall is wonderful. It is placed in the middle of the center hall and the visitors wonder at the fountain.

A dome covers the Hammam from above. The key intention was to bring sunlight inside the Hammam through the dome. A masonry tank is also available there. The tank was used to hold hot or temperate water for bathing of the family.

Besides, there are set of two stairs in two corners of the structure.  The plan of the upper and lower floor is almost similar.

The South Gate of Lalbagh Fort

Entrances

There are a couple entrances available in the fort. But the south entrance (or the south gate) is the most prominent one. The gate faces the river and it also make the entire appearance gorgeous. The gate has two large minerates with oriel windows.  

The pillars have risen upward to the sky. There is a guard room in the gate and staircase available as well. The other wonder of the fort is the fortification wall. The walls are around 25-feet in height from the ground.  

Secret Tunnels

The Lalbagh Fort is also famous for the secret tunnels. The tunnels led to several destinations, especially to another fort in Zinzira – the other side of the River Buriganga. The The Zinzira Fort is also another Mughal structure.

Besides, there were some other mazes inside the fort. The sole aim of the mazes was to confuse the intruders and attackers. After their entrance, they could not find the way to get out from the fort. They had to die by starvation as they cannot make their way out from the maze.

Besides, many of the mutant soldiers of Sepoy Mutini died here. During the colonial era, the British soldiers chased them to enter into the maze. As a result, they could not get out and died consequently.

However, the secret tunnels were sealed and now you can find some signs of the tunnel beside the south entrance.

Lalbagh Fort entry fees

  • Natives: Tk 20
  • Tourists from SAARC states: Tk 100
  • Foreign nationals: Tk 200

Hours of Visit 

During Summer (from April to September)

  • Saturday– Tuesday: 10.00 AM – 01.00 PM, 01.30 PM – 06.00 PM
  • Friday: 10.00 AM – 12.30 PM, 02.30 PM – 06.00 PM
  • Sunday: Weekly Holiday
  • Monday: 02.30 PM – 06.00 PM

During Winter (from October to March)

  • Saturday – Tuesday: 09.00 AM – 01.00 PM, 01.30 PM – 05.00 PM
  • Friday: 09.00 AM – 12.30 PM, 02.00 PM – 05.00 PM
  • Sunday: Weekly Holiday
  • Monday: 01.30 PM – 05.00 PM

Eid Holidays

Usually, Lalbagh Fort is closed before and during the Eid day. No visitors are allowed that day. But it will resume operations from the next day after the Eid day.

Govt. Holidays

  • Besides, the Fort remains close to observe the government holidays as well.

During Ramadan

  • During the holy month of Ramadan, the Fort is closed at 04.00 PM every day.

If you have previous experience of visiting Lalbagh Fort, you can share your thoughts and ideas with us.

Make a comment at the comment section below and let us know your experience.

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