Lalbagh Fort - An Impressive 17th Century Palace-Fortress
Located on the banks of the Buriganga River on the outskirts of Dhaka, Lalbagh Fort offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of Bangladesh. This magnificent, but unfinished, 17th century Mughal palace fortress consists of a series of structures surrounded by lush lawns and cultivated gardens, complete with a large collection of statues.
Construction of the Lalbagh Fort began in 1678 under the direction of Prince Muhammad Azam, the son of Emperor Aurangzeb, during the time that he held the position of vice-royalty of Bengal. However, before the construction could be completed, he was recalled by his father. The work was continued by his successor, Shaista Khan, but upon the death of his beloved daughter Bibi Pari, who had been betrothed to Prince Azam, he halted the project and it remained incomplete.
It was originally thought that Lalbagh Fort consisted of the three-domed mosque, the tomb of Bibi Pari, and the Diwan-i-Aam, consisting of two gateways and fortification wall. However excavations of the area around the fort, which were carried out by the Department of Archaeology of Bangladesh, uncovered the remains of a further 26 structures with intricate water supply and sewerage systems, roof gardens and fountains.
Of the three surviving fort gateways, the southern gateway is the most impressive, reaching the height of a three-story building. The southern fortification wall that runs westward from the imposing southern gateway stretches up to an enormous bastion located in the southwestern corner of the fort. From there it extends northward for a short distance before fading away. Within the fort walls to the north are stables and what may have been an administrative block, while to the west is a beautifully designed roof garden, complete with a water reservoir and fittings for fountains. Southwest of the three-domed mosque, are the remains of the residential area of Lalbagh Fort.
Other notable structures are the hammam of Nawab Shaista Khan and his reception rooms, which now serve as a museum. The museum displays numerous items retrieved during the excavations, some of which have led experts to believe that, although the Mughals founded Dhaka, the area was inhabited long before. Certainly, the Lalbagh Fort is worth adding to your list of places to see when visiting the intriguing country of Bangladesh.