'Cutwally Gate at Gour.' From 'Views at Gaur', six aquatints by James Moffat after Henry Creighton, published by Moffat in Calcutta 1808.
Artist: Moffat, James (1775-1815)
Medium: Aquatint with etching, coloured
Coloured aquatint with etching by James Moffat of the Kotwali Gate at Gour, from 'Views at Gaur', six aquatints by James Moffat after Henry Creighton, published by Moffat in Calcutta 1808.
The ruined city of Gaur was an ancient capital of the rulers of Bengal. It came to prominence under the Buddhist Palas from the 8th century, and then prospered under the Hindu Senas from the 12th century. It fell to the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century and later served as the capital for the independent Sultans of Bengal from the mid-15th century to 16th centuries, except for an interval between 1354 to 1442 when neighbouring Pandua was made capital. Gaur's decline began when it was sacked in 1539 by the Afghan ruler of Delhi, Sher Shah Suri, and the Kirrani sultans who were his successors in the region shifted the capital to Tanda. The Ganga and Mahananda rivers between which Gaur was located changed course away from the city and it was finally forsaken. Part of the 15th-century citadel of Gaur remains along with its principal entrance on the northern side, called the Dakhil Darwaza. Henry Creighton, an indigo planter living near Gaur in the late-18th century described the city, including a sketch of the place and superb drawings of its monuments. He found the ruins of the city extending up to ten miles in length and one and half mile in breadth, lying between the Ganges and the Mahananda. The city had two big paved roads, parallel to the river, in the north-south direction, crisscrossed by smaller lanes and canals, some of which still exist. The Kotwali Darwaza marked the southern end of the city. Today it marks the border between Western Bengal in India and the Rajshahi district of Bangladesh. The gate has engaged polygonal bastions to either side of the central arched opening. The archway is enlivened with a motif of rosettes in terracotta.