Fort Aurangabad (Commonly known as Lalbagh Fort) Dhaka
The construction of Lalbagh Fort was commenced in A.D. 1678 by Prince Muhammad Azam during his vice royalty of Bengal, but before this work could be completed, he was recalled to join the emperor Aurangzeb in his war against the Marhattas. Aulad Hasan notes: “His successor, the Amir-ul-Umara Nawab Shaista Khan, did not continue the work, the fact that his daughter Bibi Pari died while it was in the process of construction leading him to consider it unlucky.” The surviving structures confirm this statement that the fort remained unfinished and incomplete. The earliest mention of Lalbagh is found in the Dhaka Diaries of the English Factory, dated 9th July, 1689, where we are told that Lalbagh, besides being the residence of the Nawab was also used as a prison, in which some Englishmen were then kept under custody.
The main purpose of this fortification was to provide a defensive wall to the palatial buildings of the interior. It was to be of the type of a palace fortress rather than a siege fort.
The existing remains consist of the main north and south gates, about 800 feet apart, together with the wall, about 2000 feet long, and bastions between the south gate and the south-western corner and most of the western side. Between the north gate and the north-western corner is a third smaller gate, but there is no evidence that the intervening wall was ever begun on this side. Beyond south-western corner are the remains of the City Gate. This corner was formerly washed by the river Buriganga, but is now separated by a stretch of meadow and huts from the present bank. Over the defenses are erected terraced wall, pierced with a number of rectangular door openings and decorated, on the inner side, with sunken panels. Probably it was also intended to re-enforce the brick defensive wall by an internal embankment of earth, which exists to the east of the south-western corner. The embankment contains an underground room, probably a summer house, entered through a doorway under a half-dome, ornamented with plastered net-work. East of the embankment remains of arcades brick buildings with plastered panel decoration occupy the line of the bank up to the south gate. Between the latter and the south-western corner are five semi-octagonal bastions, filled with earth to rampart level. The bastion next to the gateway is of exceptional size with an external gun-platform. 13 feet wide, at that level; above the platform the tower shrinks to normal size, with walls 3’ 9’’ thick, with a rectangular doorway on each face and panel decoration as noticed before. This bastion was excavated some years ago by Dr. Nazimuddin Ahmed, Superintendent of Archaeology. The excavation revealed several changes in the original plan. A doorway, later closed, appears to lead into the thickness of the fortification wall. It also seems that the superstructure of doors and panelled wall over the fortification is a later addition. The south-western corner tower (pl. 7.1&7.2) has also an external platform but only 4’9’’ wide. All the bastions as well as the defensive wall are decorated, on the outside, with ornamental merlons it the rampart level. Unfortunately a new construction has now been made by the Department of Archaeology, Government of Pakistan, between the South Gate and the adjacent bastion, and this has marred the antique beauty of the monument.