Jaunpur Fort, Jaunpur
Jaunpur is a small town located on the bank of river Gomti, about sixty kilometre north-west of Varanasi in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The place is well connected by rail and road with different parts of the country.
The modern city of Jaunpur was founded by Firoz Shah Tughlaq who camped here for six months during his second invasion of Bengal in the year 1359. He named the city after his patron Juna Khan popularly known as Muhammed Bin Tughlaq, the sultan of Delhi. During last phase of fourteenth century taking advantage of shaking hold of Delhi sultanate Malik Sarwar, the then governor of Jaunpur under the title of Malik-us-Shark (king of the east) captured the Jaunpur province. Malik Sarwar and his five successors namely Malik Mubarak Quranfal, Ibrahim Shah, Mahmud Shah, Bhikhan Khan and lastly Hussain Shah are called Sharqi kings who ruled the kingdom of Jaunpur for little less than a century. This was the period of peace and prosperity in the history of Jaunpur witnessing remarkable achievements in the fields of art, architecture, education, trade & commerce etc. A good number of buildings came into existence. Besides Shahi fort some mosques like Atala, Jami, Lal Darwaza, Jhanjhiri, Char Ungli and few others represent the grandure of Sharqi architecture even after the massive demolition and sacrilege by Sultan Sikandar Lodi who was so annoyed with Sharqis that he had taken vow not to spare intact any of the Sharqi memorials at Jaunpur.
The fort known as Shahi Qila was built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in 1360 AD on a mound of an earlier fort called Kerar Kot. 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 AD 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 descendents of the Sharqis is quite interesting. It is dated to 1766 AD under the order of Saiyid Ali Munir Khan, the then governor of the fort on behalf of the Nawab Wazir of Oudh.
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