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Gaur. Golden Mosque. South View.

Gaur. Golden Mosque. South View.

Photographer: Ravenshaw, John Henry

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1860

Shelfmark: Photo 978/(5)

Item number: 9785

Genre: Photograph

Photograph taken in the 1860s by John Henry Ravenshaw, one of 45 prints in the album 'Gaur: Its Ruins and Inscriptions'. View looking along the fa├žade of the Bara Sona Mosque in Gaur, a derelict city in the Malda district of Bengal. Once known as Lakshmanavati or Lakhnauti, 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-14th to the 16th century, except for an interval between 1354 to 1442 when neighbouring Pandua was made capital. Gaur was relinquished to ruin and decay by the end of the 16th century. With its history as a provincial centre of Islamic culture, Gaur has the remnants of many monuments. The Bara Sona (Great Golden Mosque) is the largest building in Gaur. It has 11 entrances, four corner towers , two buttresses and a spacious courtyard. Its name refers to the gilding formerly on its numerous domes, most of which have collapsed. It was constructed in 1526 by Sultan Nusrat Shah (ruled 1519-32). Ravenshaw described it: 'On some raised ground immediately to the south of Ramkel stands the Baradiwari, or Great Golden Mosque, perhaps the finest memorial of Guar. An arched corridor running along the whole front of the original building is the principal portion now standing. It is faced throughout with large blocks of black hornblende, and measures 180 feet in length by 80 in breadth. There are eleven arches on either side of the corridor, and one at each end of it, from which probably the Mosque has obtained the name of Baradiwari or 'the twelve doored...'

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