Lalbagh Fort is the most popular and renowned fort and a great signature of art by Mughal Empire in Bangladesh. It is also known as Fort Aurangabad. It is located in Lalbagh of old Dhaka, hence named so. It is situated by the bank of the river Buriganga in a rich red soil.
History of Lalbagh Fort
Lalbagh Fort is an incomplete structure by a Mughal prince and later emperor himself named Muhammad Azam (third son of Aurangazeb). He started the work of the fort in 1678 during his vice-royalty in Bangladesh (Previous Bengal). He stayed in Bengal for 15 months. It remained incomplete when he was called by his father Aurangazeb to the capital Delhi.
Shaista Khan was the new Subedar (Governor) of Dhaka in that time, and he did not complete the fort. In 1684, the daughter of Shaista Khan named Iran Dukht (Pari Bibi) died there. After her death, he started thinking the fort as ominous, and left the structure incomplete. Among the 3 major parts of Lalbagh Fort, one is the tomb of Pari Bibi.
After Shaista Khan left Dhaka, it lost its popularity. The main cause was that the capital was shifted from Dhaka to Murshidabad. After the end of royal Mughal period, the fort became abandoned. In 1844, the area achieved its name as Lalbagh replacing Aurangabad, so the fort as Lalbagh Fort.
Parts of Lalbagh Fort
Lalbagh Fort consists of three buildings:
- The Mosque (west side)
- The tomb of Pari-Bibi (middle of east-west of the fort)
- The Diwan-i-aam palace (east side)
The mosque was used for prayer in that time, and still in use. The beautiful structure and the handy work there are great. People get amazed by seeing this kind of royal art. Many Islamic art and wall designs are preserved there.
Shaista khan couldn’t make this fort better but designing the tomb of Pari Bibi gorgeously. He brought Marble stone, tiles, handy-crafts of flower-leaves there. This is the only place in Bangladesh where 9 rooms under there decorated with this kind of items. The roofs are made of black stones. In the top of the tomb, the dome is covered with pure copper. This beautiful 20.2 meter tomb was inaugurated in 1688.
Diwan-i-aam is the greatest part of Lalbagh Fort. It was used as office in that time. Diwan-i-aam is the place from where the Mughal ruler gave directions to the ordinary people once in a week. There is also a royal bathroom known as Hammam.
There are 3 gateways to enter the fort. The southern gateway is the most important and one can see it from Buriganga. It has a three-storied structure. But the middle structure is covered by Minaret. That is why it looks like a 2 storied structure.
In the total area of Lalbagh fort there are also Royal gardens and a drainage system. After a certain time Mughal emperor Aurangazeb donated the fort to Shaista khan in memory of his daughter Pari Bibi. The successor of Shaista khan got revenue after his death by leasing the fort to the government. After 1853 the cantonment was replaced in Lalbagh Fort from Purana Paltan. Currently, the Archaeological department of Bangladesh is maintaining this Historical place.