Gaur. Bais Gaji Wall.
Photographer: Ravenshaw, John Henry
Medium: Photographic print
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 vegetation covered wall 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 century till 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. Part of the 15th century fort remains along with its principal entrance on the northern side, called the Dakhil Darwaza. Ravenshaw wrote, 'Within the Dakhil Gateway a vast scene of desolation confronts us. The entire enclosure is crowded with ruins of buildings, of which scarce one remains...In the south-west corner of the fort stood the palace, of which some of the walls still exist. They are 66 feet in height, and of great thickness, and were called Baisgaji (22 yards) in consequence. The space enclosed by these walls was 700 yards long by 250 wide...'