Lalbagh Fort - History and Facts | History Hit

Lalbagh Fort

Dhaka, Dhaka Division, Bangladesh

The Lalbagh Fort is an unfinished 17th century Mughal fortified palace in Dhaka.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Lalbagh Fort

Lalbagh Fort is a 17th century Mughal fortified palace in Dhaka which was never completed. In the mid 19th century, the Lalbagh Fort was the scene of ultimately unsuccessful evolts by the local soldiers against the British during the Great Rebellion.

Lalbagh Fort history

Lalbagh Fort was commissioned by Prince Muhammad Azam during the height of the Mughal Empire in 1677. Prince Muhammad Azam left Dhaka soon after construction began to join his father Emperor Aurangzab in Delhi. The project was passed on to Shaista Khan, the new governor of Dhaka, who continued to build until his beloved daughter Pari Bibi died at the site in 1684. Devastated at his loss, Shaista Khan halted construction immediately and rumours began that the site was haunted.

The fort was subsequently abandoned and remains in its unfinished state today.

Three main sections of the fort are complete, namely the Mausoleum of Pari Bibi, Diwan-i-Aam (the Hall of Audience), and Quilla Mosque. The Mausoleum of Pari Bibi consists of a white marble room with the tomb in the centre and access to the room is restricted.

An intricate web of underground tunnels was also finished below Lalbagh Fort. In an episode of the Sepoy Revolution, in 1857, it is said that soldiers on both sides ventured into the tunnels and never resurfaced, adding to the mystery and intrigue that envelops the fort.

Lalbagh Fort today

The fort is now maintained by the archaeological department of Bangladesh. It is a key tourist attraction in Dhaka and about three million people visit Lalbagh Fort every year.

The half-completed Lalbagh Fort and its well-tended gardens offer a great opportunity to escape Old Dhaka’s hustle and bustle for an hour or so. The fort is particularly atmospheric in the early morning light.

The only monument you can enter is the Diwan which contains a small but intriguing museum of Mughal miniature paintings, coins, carpets and calligraphy, along with swords and firearms.

Lalbagh Fort is the most popular and renowned fort in Bangladesh.

Getting to Lalbagh Fort

The fort is located in the Lalbagh area of Old Dhaka, the historic part of the capital, by the bank of the river. Roads around Old Dhaka can be confusing. Narrow alleys and newly built multi-lane roads are equally congested, making navigation challenging. The best way to reach Lalbagh Fort is by rickshaw and they are plentiful in the area.

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