Photograph taken in the 1860s by John Henry Ravenshaw, one of 45 prints in the album 'Gaur: Its Ruins and Inscriptions'. The Malda region of Bengal has seen dynasties of differing religions come and go. Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic (Afghan, Pathan, Mughal) and British rule have all left their imprint here. Much of its former glory such as embodied by Gaur and Pandua, the two capital cities of early Bengal, is now in ruins. Malda town, situated near the confluence of Mahananda and Kalindri rivers, is a natural port and was once a prosperous trading centre. The Islamic-period late 16th century fort located within the town was originally a warehouse and then a fortified sarai or travellers' resthouse. Ravenshaw wrote of its remains, 'The Katrah or Fort Gate stands near the river, and leads to a strong enclosure, which appears, of late years, to have been use as a Sarai or resting place for travellers. It is said to have answered formerly as a place of safety for valuable merchandise landed at Old Maldah, and intended for transmission to the Court at Panduah. Towards the south end of the city there are the ruins of a second gateway, which appears of much more modern construction than the Fort Gate.'