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View within the Fort of Monghyr (Bihar), with in the foreground the shrine of Shah Nafah erected in 1497 by Prince Daniyal, son of Ala al-Din Husain of Bengal, with Muslim graves around it

View within the Fort of Monghyr (Bihar), with in the foreground the shrine of Shah Nafah erected in 1497 by Prince Daniyal, son of Ala al-Din Husain of Bengal, with Muslim graves around it

Artist: Salt, Henry (1780-1827)

Medium: Wash

Date: 1803

Shelfmark: WD1298

Item number: 1298

Length: 47.5

Width: 64

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Wash drawing by Henry Salt (1780-1827) of a view within the Fort of Monghyr (Munger, now in Bihar), dated February or September 1803. The original for plate 4, 'A view within the Fort of Monghyr' of Henry Salt's 'Twenty Four Views in St. Helena, the Cape, India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia and Egypt', this drawing shows the hill-top house of the Fort Commander in the distance. Situated near Bengal, the fort at Monghyr was strategically important. The Mughal minister Raja Todar Mal occupied it while quelling Bengali rebel forces. It later hosted the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's brother, Shuja, during the struggle between the brothers for power. Mir Qasim Ali, the Nawab of Bengal, then used it as a base in his battle against the British. When Mir Qasim was defeated in 1764 the fort lost its importance, and by the time of this image the ancient town of Monghyr was full of convalescing sepoys (soldiers). Viscount Valentia (George Annesley) wrote, "The walls at present contain lines for five companies of sepoy invalids, a house belonging to the Governor-General, but in which he permits the Commandant of the garrison to reside, several houses belonging to the officers quartered there, a village, and the ruins of the palace of Sultan Suja. The rest of the space is occupied by gardens, tanks and plantations. When you have passed the gateways, there is nothing to inform you that you are in a fort. A major-general has hitherto commanded the garrison, but it is now given to Colonel Palmer...the view from his habitation is uncommonly fine, taking in the river, mountains, and intermediate plains richly cultivated. I prefer it to anything seen in India. The house, of which Mr Salt has taken a drawing, is excellent." The image shows the tomb of the Sufi saint Shah Nafah in the foreground, a square domed tomb with a typical Bengali curved cornice, surrounded by further Muslim graves.

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