Ruined gateway in the Baisgazi wall with the remains of an hexagonal tower, Gaur. In the distance, outside the east wall is the Firoz Minar
Artist: Baillie, William (1752/3-1799)
Medium: Ink wash on paper
Ink and grey wash drawing of a ruined gateway in the Baisgazi wall with the remains of an hexagonal tower at Gaur by William Baillie (1752/3-1799) in 1784. The image is inscribed: 'W.' 'Baillie delt 1784'.
The ruined city of Gaur in West Bengal is situated on a deserted channel of the Ganges. The date of foundation of the city is obscure, however its known history commenced in about 1200 when it was conquered by Bakhtiyar Khakji, whose dynasty reigned for 300 years. Later it became the capital city of the Hindu kings and from the mid-fifteenth to the sixteenth centuries that of sultanate rulers of Bengal. Most of the surviving ruins are from the later period. The Victory Tower or Pir Asa Minar (shown in the distance) was built c.1487-8 by the Abyssinian ruler Saif al-Din Firuz. It is 25.6m (84ft) high and is comprised of five storeys, the first three of which are decorated with chain motifs, while the upper two are covered with parallel borders. On each floor there is a door which faces west and an internal staircase of 73 steps leads to the top. The minar was built to accompany a now-destroyed mosque. The Baisgazi wall enclosed the royal palace area in Gaur. The gateway shown here has polygonal engaged bastions that would have originally supported a high central arch. It is brick built and is likely to have been decorated with brightly coloured terracotta tiles.