Jaunpur Fort: All about the Shahi Qila or Royal Fort in Uttar Pradesh

[] The Jaunpur Fort or Shahi Qila, which lies on the Gomti River’s left bank, was built it sometime in 1362 AD

Jaunpur Fort, also known as Shahi Qila or Royal Fort and Karar Fort, is a famous fort built in Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, in the 14th century. It lies near the Shahi Bridge upon the River Gomti. The fort is a major tourist destination today and is roughly 2.2 kms away from Jaunpur city. The Fort lies 7.3 kilometers away from Zafarabad and the Bhandari railway junction is only 3 kilometers away from it. Lucknow lies 214 kilometers away from the Jaunpur Fort.

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The Shahi Fort Jaunpur was built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s chieftain, Ibrahim Naib Barbak. The fort has been destroyed numerous times by several rulers including the British and also the Lodhi Kings. It was renovated comprehensively during the Mughal period.

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The Jaunpur Fort lies on the Gomti’s left bank and some historians state that Firoz Shah Tughlaq himself built it sometime in 1362 AD. The inner gate goes up to 26.5 ft in terms of its height while being 16 ft wide, as well. The central gate goes up to 36 ft in height. There is a massive dome on top while the current remnants include just the eastern gate and a few arches. Muneer Khan arranged for an imposing front gate to be constructed for greater security. This was embellished with yellow and blue stones. There is a bath inside the premises in the Turkish design style along with a mosque, as well. The latter was developed by Ibrahim Banbank, carrying a fusion of both Buddhist and Hindu architectural templates.

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Jaunpur Fort history

The Kerar Kot Fort was once built on the left bank of the Gomti River with a mosque and an attractive set of ‘hammams’ or baths set up by Barbak, Tughlaq’s brother. The Fort’s layout is an irregularly designed quadrangle within stone walls. Most of the original structure lies in ruins. The main gates face eastwards while the biggest inner gate goes up to 14 metres in terms of height. The external surface has been crafted with Ashlar stone. An outer gate was set up during emperor Akbar’s reign and supervised by Min’im Khan, the Jaunpur governor at the time, sometime in the 16th century. It resembles a bastion while there are spaces between the outer gate’s arches which are adorned with yellow and blue tiles. Niches are crafted into the walls of the gate outside.

The palace, or two-storeyed administrative-cum-residential structure was developed in the layout of a square. There is an interior aiwan or pillared verandah looking onto the ground floor. The mosque is the oldest building in the entire township of Jaunpur and designed in the Bengali architectural style, backed by a 12-metre pillar with an inscribed story of its erection by Barbak, in 1376 in Persian. There are three central domes and a couple of stone pillars in place of minars. The Fort is already in the list of sites/monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and of the Directorate of Archaeology, Uttar Pradesh.

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Jaunpur Shahi Qila architecture

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The Jaunpur Fort has a wall forming an irregularly shaped quadrangle with the main gate going eastwards. There is a uniquely shaped exit towards the west and this is accessible through the steep passage going through the mound. The main gateway goes up to 14 metres in height, while having a depth of five meters. There are chambers on both sides and a courtyard was built in front of this eastern gateway by Munim Khan, with another entrance gate of 11 metres in height. The bastions and walls are veneered with the choicest Ashlar stone in tandem with the gates.

The Bhool Bhulaiya, a Turkish bath, is partially underground. The winding alleys of the hammam gave it the name Bhool Bhulaiya. There are several rooms inside with sunken pools and dimly lit corridors. The pools originally came with lids of copper, while the water in it was heated through refracting sunbeams from the skylights in the rooms.

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There is another fascinating inscription appealing to all Muslim and Hindu kotwals of this Fort to continue allowances. This may have been due to the Sharqi descendants as per historians, dating till 1766 under the order issued by Saiyid Ali Munir Khan, the governor of the Fort, acting on the Nawab Wazir of Oudh’s behalf. The Fort’s premises contain a beautiful lawn and park inside, along with a prayer hall with a 12-metre commemorative pillar. The Fort is the highest point in Jaunpur City and a major attraction for tourists, overlooking the sparkling river Gomti.


Where is the Jaunpur Fort located?

The Jaunpur Fort is located approximately 2.2 kms away from Jaunpur City, in Uttar Pradesh.

Who built Shahi Qila in Jaunpur?

The Jaunpur Fort was built by Ibrahim Naib Barbak, the chieftain of Firoz Shah Tughlaq.

The Jaunpur is built on the bank of which famous river?

The Jaunpur Fort lies on the left bank of the River Gomti.

What is the other name of the Jaunpur Fort?

The Jaunpur Fort is also called the Shahi Qila. It is also known as the Royal Fort or the Karar Fort.

Which is the oldest building within the Jaunpur Fort?

The mosque is the oldest building within the Fort and also the entire Jaunpur township.

(Header image source Instagram)

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Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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