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Bhadra Fort, Ahmedabad

Bhadra Fort is situated in the walled city area of Ahmedabad, India. It was built by Ahmad Shah I in 1411. With its well carved royal palaces, mosques and gates, it is being renovated by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a cultural centre for the city.

History

Ahmedabad was named after Ahmad Shah I of the Muzaffarid dynasty who captured Karnavati in 1411. He established Ahmedabad as the new capital of Gujarat Sultanate and built Bhadra Fort on the east bank of the Sabarmati river. The area within the fort had become occupied by urban developments by 1525. So a second fortification was built later by Mahmud Begada, the grandson of Ahmed Shah, with an outer wall 10 km (6.2 mi) in circumference and consisting of 12 gates, 189 bastions and over 6,000 battlements as described in Mirat-i-Ahmadi. Almost 60 governors ruled Gujarat during the Mughal period including the future Mughal emperors Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. A seraglio was built later in the 17th century by a Mughal governor, Azam Khan, known as Azam Khan Sarai. It was used as a Musafir khana (a resting place for travellers) during Mughal rule.

Joint rule by Peshwa and Gaekwad of the Maratha Empire brought an end to the Mughal era in 1583. During the First Anglo–Maratha War (1775–1782), General Thomas Wyndham Goddard with 6,000 troops stormed Bhadra Fort and captured Ahmedabad on February 15, 1779. There was a garrison of 6,000 Arab and Sindhi infantry and 2,000 horses. Losses in the fight totalled 108, including two Britons. After the war, the fort was later handed back to Marathas under the Treaty of Salbai. 

Ahmedabad was conquered by the British in 1817. The fort complex was used as a jail during the British Raj. Azam Khan sarai currently houses the government offices, an ASI office, a post office and the city s civil courts. It is also used for flag hoisting on Independence Day and Republic Day.

Structures

Bhadra Fort housed royal palaces and the beautiful Nagina Baugh and the royal Ahmed Shah Mosque on the west side and an open area known as Maidan-Shah on the east side. It had a fortified city wall with 14 towers, eight gates and two large openings covering an area of 43 acres. The eastern wall on the river bank can still be seen. The fort complex was used as a royal court during his reign. On the eastern side of a fort, there is a triple gateway known as Teen Darwaza, which was formerly an entrance to the royal square, Maidan-Shah. On the east side, there was a triple gate known as a Teen Darwaza and a congregational mosque known as Jami Masjid. Manek Chowk was a mercantile square near the mosque.

The citadel s architecture is Indo-sarcenic with intricately carved arches and balconies. Fine lattice work adorns windows and murals. There are some Islamic inscriptions on the arches of the fort. The palace contains royal suites, the imperial court, halls and a prison.

The Maidan-Shah, or the kings market, is at least 1600 feet long and half as many broad and beset all about with rows of Palm-trees and Date-trees intermixed with Citron-trees and Orange-trees, whereof there are very many in the several streets: which is not only very pleasant to the sight, by the delightful prospect it affords, but also makes the walking among them more convenient by reason of the coolness. Besides this Maidan, there are in the city four Bazaars, or public places, where are sold all kind of merchandise.

Azam Khan Sarai: Azam Khan, also known as Mir Muhammad Baquir was a Mughal governor. He built a palace known as Azam Khan Sarai in 1637. Its entrance, 5.49 meters high, opens onto an octagonal hall, which had a low balcony made up of stone in the upper floor. It was used as a resting place for travellers in the Mughal era and as a hospital and a jail during British rule.

Bhadra Kali Temple: A room in north wing of Azam Khan Sarai was turned into the temple of Bhadra Kali during Maratha rule.

Bhadra fort clock tower: The Bhadra Fort tower clock was brought from London in 1849 at cost of Rs. 8000 and installed here at the cost of £243 (Rs. 2430) in 1878 by the British East India Company. At night, it was illuminated from behind by a kerosene lamp, which was replaced by an electric light in 1915. Ahmedabad s first electrical connection, it ceased to operate in the 1960s.

So this is in short about the Bhadra Fort.

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