Lalbagh Fort also known as "Fort Aurangabad" is an incomplete Mughal palace fortress at the Buriganga River in the southwestern part of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Construction was commenced in 1678 by Prince Muhammad Azam during his 15-month long vice-royalty of Bengal, but before the work could complete, he was recalled by Aurangzeb. His successor, Shaista Khan, did not complete the work, though he stayed in Dhaka up to 1688. His daughter Iran Dukht nicknamed Pari Bibi (Fairy Lady) died here in 1684 and this led him to consider the fort to be ominous.
Lalbagh Fort is also the witness of the revolt of the native soldiers against the British during the Great Rebellion of 1857. As in the Red Fort in India, they were defeated by the force led by the East India Company. They and the soldiers who fled from Meerat were hanged to death at the Victoria Park. In 1858 the declaration of Queen Victoria of taking over the administrative control of India from the Company was read out at the Victoria park, latter renamed Bahadur Shah Park after the name of the last Mughal Emperor who led that greatest rebellion against then British empire.
Layout of fort :
The fort was long considered to be a combination of three buildings:
- The mosque;
- The Tomb of Bibi Pari; and
- The Diwan-i-Aam, comprising two gateways and a portion of the partly damaged fortification wall.
Recent excavations carried out by the Department of Archaeology of Bangladesh, however, have revealed the existence of other structures, and it is now possible to have a more or less complete picture of the fort.
In the present, fort area of 18 acres (73,000 m²), excavations have revealed the remains of either 26 or 27 structures, with elaborate arrangements for water supply, sewerage, roof gardens, and fountains. Renovation works by the Archeology Department, have now put Lalbagh Fort in a much-improved shape, and it has now become an interesting spot for tourists and visitors.
Of the three surviving gateways, the southern one is the most imposing. It is seen from the front, it is a three-storied structure with a front-on, bordered with slender minarets. From inside, it gives the impression of a two-storied structure. The gateway on the northeast is a much smaller and simpler structure. Structural evidence indicates that the fort extended to the eastern side, beyond the present Shaista Khan Road. The third gate, now in the center of the northern boundary wall, was left incomplete. The present one is a recent construction.