Posted on: 28 April 2013

Fort at Allahabad seen from the river - 1814

Water-colour painting of the fort at Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh seen from the river by Robert Smith (1787-1873) between 1814 and 1815. Inscribed on the mount in pencil is: 'Allahabad.'

The fort at Allahabad was built on the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers by Akbar, the third Emperor of the Mughal dynasty from 1583 onwards. This position was of strategic importance and was one of the focal points of the Uprising of 1857. The fort was one of the largest of Akbar’s forts and contains the Zenana Palace which is a baradari or Pavilion and the Ashoka Pillar.

Copyright © The British Library Board

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This fort still looks more or less like this and one can have glimpse of this fort while crossing rail bridge over the river Yamuna.

great post lovely

In its prime, the fort was unrivaled for its design, construction and craftsmanship and was considered even better than the ones at Agra and Lahore. Unfortunately the army has control over major portion of the fort.The Jodhabai Mahal inside the Allahabad Fort is attractive monument that shows a fusion of Hindu as well as Islamic architecture pattern.

The good news is that starting with this mahakumbh, the army has opened out entry to the parts of the fort with the Ashoka pillar & the ancient tree. No photography allowed inside but if you know any army flunky living with his family inside the barracks ( best rooms of the fort, overlooking the river), everything is possible ..

Arindam, the best parts of Jodhabai mahal were spoilt by Colonel Kyd , the British commandant of the fort circa 1799. He used it for storage & dismantled most of the gateways of the fort. The area around the fort is still called kydgunj today. The mahal was called " Chalees Sutoon " ( Forty Pillars) palace in its time even though its actually built on 64 pillars. Perhaps it inspired the creation of Isfahan/Iran's stunningly beautiful Safavid Palace of 1664, also called Chehel Sotun ( 40 Pillars). There is a painting inside Chehel Sotun, Isfahan of Humayun, seeking shelter in Iran , from that Afghan-Bihari, Sher Shah Suri . Have been inside Isfahan's Chehel Sotun but never managed to explore Allahabad's Chalees Sutoon, even though I've roots in the city. InsAllah, Allahabad shall open its gates too one day ...

That's right ! was not able to recollect the name Kydganj. I have seen some wonderful paintings by Sta Ram of the fort and its surroundings. A photo exhibition was held in Calcutta some years back.

...and if you come across an 'army flunky', do put in a word for me too. :)

sure .. let me know when you're next visiting Allahabad - wl connect you with some local folks ..

The ills of the Allahabad fort date from the time of genocide during the 1857 India-Anglo war and the need for the British to ensure that the Fort was firmly in their control. This is similar to the ugly barraks in Red fort put up after the massacre of Delhi in 1857.