Gaur. East Gate of Fort.
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'. The ruins of the fortified city of Gaur are 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 from 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, and together with neighbouring Pandua a centre of provincial Islamic culture until its abandonment in the late 16th century. Gaur's decline began when it was
sacked in 1539 by the Afghan ruler of Delhi, Sher Shah Suri, and the Kirrani sultans who were his successors in the region shifted the capital to Tanda. The Ganga and Mahananda rivers between which Gaur was located changed course away from the city and it was finally forsaken. This view looks towards an arched gateway, of which Ravenshaw wrote: 'Close to the Qadam Rasul [mosque] is the eastern gate of the fort, which appears to be of modern construction, and is said to have been built by Suja Shah [Shah Shuja, a son of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, who was governor of Bengal], when, long after the desertion of the city, he temporarily returned, and endeavoured to revive it. Apparently this gate was connected by a bridge with a road leading to the palace. It is built of brick and stone, and is the only ruin in Gaur showing any trace of plaster...' The citadel wall in the east has two gates. The earlier Gumti Darwaza has been dated to the 15th century, while the later Mughal-period Lukochuri Darwaza is generally ascribed to Shah Shuja in the 17th century, but may have been built by a Mughal general (Munim Khan) after the victory over Sultan Daud Karrani (the last of Gaur's Afghan rulers) in 1575.