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Shahi Qila, Jaunpur
India Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Coordinates Latitude: 25.44
Longitude: 82.41
Built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq
Current
condition
dilapidated
Current
owner
Govt. of India
Open to
the public
yes
Occupants Tughlaqs, Sharqis, Mughals

Shahi qila or Shahi fort or Karar Fort or Jaunpur fort is a 14th-century fort in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. Close to the bridge, on the banks of Gomti, is the fort, built in 1360 by Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq with materials brought in from the palace and temples of the Rathore kings of Kannauj. With the advent of Sharqis, the fortifications were further strengthened and numerous royal edifices added, but only to be reduced to rubble by the Lodis a century later. Mughal emperors Humayun and Akbar recreated the fort after extensive repairs. Much later it was acquired by the British and once again damaged during the first war of independence in 1857, and a few years later the English blew off its 40-pillared Chil Sitoon. It is one of the chief tourist attractions in Jaunpur. The mosque bears the evidences of the times in which it was built. The Atala Masjid is a useful specimen of mosques, not only in Uttar Pradesh but also in India.

Location[edit | edit source]

28.5 km east of Machhali Shahar, 2.2 km north-northeast of Jaunpur, 7.3 km northwest of Zafarābād, 16.8 km north-northeast of Mariāhū, 26.3 km west-northwest of Kirākat.[1]

Transport links[edit | edit source]

  • Located 3 kilometres away from the railway junction at Bhandari,
  • by availing the bus or train services from Varanasi (Benaras), which is separated from Jaunpur by a distance of 56 kilometres.
  • Lucknow and Mirzapur are the other two cities located at a distance of 214 kilometres and 69 kilometres respectively.

Construction[edit | edit source]

The Jaunpur fort was built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in 1360 AD on a mound of an earlier fort called Kerar Kot.[2] The fort is located to the north of the Gomti River and was also the platform for resistance during the uprising of the Indians against the British in 1857.[3]

In 1376–77, Ibrahim Naib Barbak under Firoz Shah Tughlaq of Delhi (1351–88) built the first citadel in Jaunpur where the Sharqi kings resided. In style, it is kin to the Tughluqid architecture of Delhi. A mosque was also built at the same time; it consists of a long rectangular prayer hall entered from a triple archway at centre. There is a free standing commemorative column in front of the mosque.[4]

Architecture[edit | edit source]

The fortification wall forms an irregular quadrangle with main gate towards east. Another exit in the shape of a sally port towards west is approached by a steep passage cut through the mound. The main gateway is about fourteen metres in height and some five metres in depth having usual chambers on either side. During the reign of Akbar, in order to provide extra security, Munim Khan added a courtyard in front of the eastern gateway with another eleven metres high entrance gate. The gates, walls and the bastions are veneered with ashlar stones on outer face. One remarkable structure locally called Bhoolbhulaiya is a perfect model of Turkish bath or Hammam. This solid structure is partly underground having arrangements of inlet and outlet channels, hot and cold water and other toilet needs. The mosque within the fort constructed in typical Bengal style is a narrow building about 39.40 x 6.65 metres having three low domes. A twelve metres high pillar bears a long Persian inscription recording the erection of mosque in 1376 by Ibrahim Naib Barbak. Another monolithic curious inscription placed in front of the outer gate, appealing all Hindu and Muslim Kotwalls of the fort to continue the allowances, possibly to the descendants of the Sharqis is quite interesting. It is dated to 1766 under the order of Saiyid Ali Munir Khan, the then governor of the fort on behalf of the Nawab Wazir of Oudh.

Current use[edit | edit source]

The fort is on the List of Monuments/Sites of Archaeological Survey of India of Directorate of Archaeology, (U.P.)[5] and on list List of Monuments of Archaeological Survey of India.[6] The fort is open for its visitors from 7:30 in the morning till 8:00 at night.

The fort still commands the highest point in the city, its bulbous ramparts overlooking the shining Gomti river and the 14-metre-high gateway frowning down on a city that no longer heeds it. Inside, the walls enclose a pretty park of hospitable lawns and flowering shrubs. In the forecourt of it is a small but beautiful prayer hall, with a twelve-metre commemorative pillar before it. An inscription on the column declares the fort a place for "Hindus to read the Gita and Muslims to read the Koran and Christians to read the Bible". Behind the prayer hall, a large Turkish-style hammam hunches low in the ground. Inside it is an intestinal jumble of dim corridors and rooms with sunken pools. The pools originally had copper lids and water was heated by refracting sunbeams from the skylights onto it. The hammam is called 'bhoolbhulaiya' because of its winding corridors, which the imagination easily fills with perfumed steam and wazirs sighing over the latest military challenge.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Michell, George (ed). Architecture of the Islamic World: Its History and Social Meaning. London: Thames and Hudson, 272.
  • Nath, R. 1978. History of Sultanate Architecture. New Delhi, Abhinav Publications, 98-100.
  • Williams, John A. and Caroline. 1980. Architecture of Muslim India. Set 4: The Sultanate of Jaunpur about 1360-1480. Santa Barbara, California: Visual Education, Inc.
  • Burgess, Jas. 1971. The Sharqi Architecture of Jaunpur; With Notes on Zafarabad, Sahet-Mahet and Other Places in the North-Western Province and Oudh. Varanasi, India: Indological Book House, 19.
  • DK Eyewitness Travel Guides - India. 2002. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 199.

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