Gaur. Tantipara Mosque.
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'. 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. Ravenshaw wrote of this view of the façade of the Tantipara Mosque, showing its embossed decoration: 'A short mile from the minar [Firuz Minar] we meet the government road, which carries us south to numerous other ruins, among which the Tantipara, or Weavers' Mosque, is perhaps the most conspicuous. It is half fallen down, but what is left is elegantly and profusely ornamented with embossed bricks. The interior is supported by massive stone pillars, and some elegantly carved prayer niches occupy the western side...' A European man (possibly Ravenshaw) stands among an Indian group in the foreground. Gaur is in the centre of a muslin-producing region, and the mosque for its weavers, dating from c.1475, is rectangular in plan with low octagonal towers at each corner. It served as a prototype for several mosques built in the region.