Photograph taken in the 1860s by John Henry Ravenshaw, one of 45 prints in the album 'Gaur: Its Ruins and Inscriptions'. The ruined city of Gaur is located on the India-Bangladesh border in the Malda district of Bengal. Previously known as Lakshmanavati or Lakhnauti, the city was an ancient capital of Bengal, a seat of the Budddhist Pala dynasty from the 8th century and later the Hindu Sena dynasty in the 12th century. The Hindu kings were overcome by the Delhi Sultanate in the early 13th century and Gaur became the capital of the Sultans of Bengal. Together with neighbouring Pandua it was a centre of provincial Islamic culture until it was deserted in the late 16th century. Ravenshaw wrote of this view: 'At a little more than a mile from the mosque, a bye path leads to the Bhagirathi River at Sadulapur Ghat, a place of peculiar sanctity to the Hindus. Throughout the period of Muhammadan rule in Gaur, this spot alone was left to the Hindus for the performance of their sacred rites, and here all the dead were burnt. The sacred ghat [stepped embankment] still exists on the banks of the stream, and thousands annually attend to celebrate their worship of the local deity. Just above the bank is a beautiful grove of very old trees, which afford a grateful and refreshing shade to the pilgrims...'