Location: Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh
Built In: 1524-25
Built By: Muhammad, Son of the Governor of Kol
Dynasty: Lodi Dynasty
Tags: One of the strongest forts in India
Other names: ‘Aligarh Qila’, ‘Baunasaur Qila’ or ‘Ramgarh Qila’
The Aligarh Fort, once considered to be one of the strongest forts in India, was built during the reign of the Lodis. Also known as ‘Aligarh Qila’, this fortress played a significant role during the Scindia rule in the late 1750s. Though, the fort has been under the possession of innumerable rulers and battalions but is actually one of the lesser known monuments in India today. Not much is left to see at the Aligarh fort except the strong walls that now hold and contain a silent history of the mutinies and annexations that took place in yesteryears. The fort is situated at the center of Aligarh city, and is one of the chief tourist spots in Uttar Pradesh. Situated on the Grand Trunk road, this fort has a polygonal structure, complete with broad and deep channels. The fort was conceptualized and built by the son of the governor of Kol; Muhammad under the reign of Ibrahim Lodi.
Aligarh Fort Aligarh Uttar Pradesh
History Of Aligarh Fort
The ‘Aligarh Qila’ was built between the years 1524-1525 by Muhammad, during the rule of the Lodi dynasty before it was finally re-built and re-engineered by the French forces under the control of Boigne and Perron. Under the governance of Sabit Khan, who happened to be the governer of the Aligarh region during the reign of Muhammad Shah and Farrukh Siyar, the fort was renovated. However, the fort only rose to prominence after being annexed by Madhavrao I Scindia in the year 1759. He outsourced some of the biggest names in the field of engineering and architecture to rebuild and re-vamp the fort by adding a few structures and managed to elevate the Aligarh Fort to his European standards. The Battle of Ally Ghur soon followed, and the fort was seized by the Lord Gerard’s British army.
The fort is an ethereal stronghold, which stands under the control of the Aligarh Muslim University today. It doesn’t have too much of architecture to its merit but is definitely a mirror of the prevailing Islamic art and grandeur at the time. With its many bastions, minarets, terraces, mowed greenery and an intricate, grand entrance, the Aligarh Fort is a sight of engineering excellence and expertise at a time where engineering possibilities were limited.
The rosy, luminous qualities of the walls still stand tall and fortified even today. The Fort is home to a lavish botanical garden that is directly controlled by the Botanical department of Aligarh Muslim University. The many polygonal corners of the Fort stand bare today with its many intricate wall patterns inspired by the Mughal era. It is located on a hill will steep gorges on all sides and the walls are about 32 feet in length along with a vast basement that is not visible from the outside of the fort.
Major Battles And Events
- Aligarh Fort was a witness to one of the biggest battles in Indian History. The Battle of ‘Ally Gurh or ‘Aligarh’ was fought between the Marathas and the British East India Company at Aligarh during the period of 1803-1805.
- The fort, which was one of the strongest at the time, was under the control of a French official called Perron, who led a siege from the Fort itself. The fort was captured from the Marathas in 1803, but during the time, the fort was reinforced with weaponries, sword blades, ditches and animals of Scindia’s zoo such as Lions and tigers that were used by the French.
- One of the weightiest battles, it witnessed a bloody loss of life and was accorded the title of one of the most extraordinary combats by the Duke of Wellington.
- More than 900 soldiers were said to have perished in this battle and the walls of the Aligarh Fort still resonate the loss of life and the intense skirmishes between the Marathas and the British even today. The Aligarh Fort, now, has a ghostly aura about it.
Apart from usual tourist visits, the fort is under the control of the Aligarh Muslim University in modern times. The department of Botany uses the fort to study the botanical garden and plantations that are so well maintained in the fort even today. The institution also regulates the behavior of visitors inside the fort.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the Fort would be between the months of September to March. Uttar Pradesh is known for its scorching summers; therefore the best time will be the period between October and March. The fort is open to public all year round and is accessible from 9 am to 5 pm.
How To Reach
- The city is located 3 kilometers from the Aligarh Fort and is easily accessible by all major road and rail networks.
- For those travelling by air, the closest airport to the city is the Aligarh airport which is just off the outskirts of the city. All major air-routes are connected through domestic passages in the country.
- The Aligarh junction is the city’s railway station and it is well connected to the north and south of India.
- When in the city, the Aligarh fort can be accessed by local cabs, private transport, rickshaws and even tempos.
Around The Fort
Apart from the gardens at the Aligarh fort, tourists can also visit the Dor Fortress, the Jama Masjid, the Sir Syed Academy Museum, The Maulana Azad Library and the Shekha Lake. These spots are open to visitors all year round and are a must see for those who are visiting Aligarh for the first time.
With its grand appearance, rich history, the Aligarh Fort is a highlight in the city of Aligarh. With its mammoth walls, well-maintained botanical gardens and radiant architecture, the fort is a must see for those who want to savor a bit of its diverse history.