Location: Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
Built In: 1583
Built By: Emperor Akbar
Tags: The largest fort built by Akbar
Other names: ‘Illahabad Qila’, Akbar’s Fort
Built by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar in the year 1583, this fort was the largest fort ever built by the Mughals. The fort is situated near the confluence of Yamuna and Ganges. Located against the picturesque backdrop of the Ganges River and lush greenery, the Allahabad Fort is a majestic structure and offers a panoramic view of the region. The fort bears the testimony to unparalleled craftsmanship, and is skirted with high towers and gigantic walls. Certain sections of the Allahabad Fort utilized by the Indian army are restricted to the public today. The fort is degenerating at places but, the outer wall of this mega-structure is still intact. The Ashoka Pillar and the Jodhabai palace are some of the highlights of this fort.
History Of Allahabad Fort
The fort was built during the reign of Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar and the construction of the fort began in the early 16th century. The Mughal emperor had established himself through parts of Rajasthan and north India and was all set to build garrisons symbolizing the eternal strength and prowess of the Mughal Empire. While building the fort, the emperor brought the Ashoka pillar that was originally situated in Kausambi. He wanted to include it as a symbol of opulence in the fort. Located along the ‘Sangam’, the Allahabad Fort is a mark of magnificence. It was believed that Emperor Akbar decided to keep the walls of his fortresses armed and high, to avoid being attacked by elephants and enemy forces. The reason why Emperor Akbar decided to make a fortress in the city was backed with the strategy of deeming the city as an important waterway.
The fort houses some of the most unbelievable structures that depict the generous, harmonious blend of Persian, Islamic and Hindu architecture. The fort, unparalleled in its design, workmanship and architecture, is one of the most significant Mughal achievements in Indian history. The fort encompasses the Ashoka pillar, which was carried all the way from Kausambi by the emperor for its historical significance. The pillar now stands at the grand entrance of the fort at a height of 10.6 meters.
Another attraction in the fort is the Jodhabai Palace. This palace shows the unique blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture, complete with Hindu motifs, guardhouses and harems. The ‘Chatri’ and the circular domes, with intricate brackets and glazed tiles emit the harmony between the Rajput’s and the Mughals in the past. The ‘Saraswati koop’, a controversial area in the fort, which is said to have been the origin of the Saraswati River, is now confined and restricted from public view. The intricate wall-work, the ruddy buildings, high walls and glass-work add splendor to the structure. Some of the other additions in this fort are the Patalpuri Temple and the immortal tree; Akshayavat.
- Allahabad Fort has been witness to a series of conflicts. After the Mughal Emperor, Akbar built the fort in the early 16th Nearly a century later and after being seized by the Marathas, the East India Company entered the Allahabad Fort and got the weak emperor, Shah Alam to sign a treaty. A quaint character by nature, Shah Alam was seeking refuge at the Allahabad fort.
- The East India company governor general, Clive had come back to India to take control of the Allahabad Fort and the treaty of Allahabad was signed, according to which the Emperor was to be protected from future attacks. The cowardly emperor handed the fate of the Allahabad Fort, a symbol of Mughal grandeur into the hands of the British.
- Thus, a defense force was placed at the Allahabad Fort under the commands of the East India Company. As Shah Alam returned back to Delhi, he was labeled a ‘coward’ and a ‘puppet’ in the hands of the British.
- The fort was merely a passage for the company to acquire major parts of northern India. The British managed to control the whole of Allahabad through this fort and by the early 19th century, the entire fort, along with a number of states was under their control.
- A railway track placed at the fort that went all the way to the Allahabad Railway station. This was used as a passage by the East India Company during the war.
The Allahabad fort, also known as ‘Akbar’s Fort’ is now maintained by the Indian Army. The fort is only open in certain areas to the public. The Saraswati koop is strictly prohibited to visitors and very few areas such as the Patalpuri Temple, the Akshayavat and the Jodhabai palace in the harem complex are open to the visitors in a restricted time frame. Monuments such as the Ashoka pillar and a few of the other intricate pieces of architecture can only be viewed.
Best Time To Visit
The best to visit Allahabad would be the period between October and March, when the weather is also expected to be pleasant. Hordes of Hindu devotees come during the time of the Khumbh Mela or the Sankranti festival.
How To Reach
- Allahabad, being a sacred passage and a prime city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is well connected through air and rail networks.
- The nearest airport is the Allahabad Airport which can be accessed from any part of the country.
- For those who prefer to travel by trains, the city is well connected with other cities in the country through the Allahabad city station and the Allahabad junction station.
- While in the city, you can reach the Allahabad fort by hiring local cabs, auto-rickshaws, tourist buses, tempos and private vehicles.
Around The Fort
Allahabad has a plethora of historical and sacred sites. Apart from the Allahabad Fort, tourists can visit other popular destinations around the fort such as the Sangam River, the Allahabad Museum, Company Bagh and the famous Planetarium. Tourists can also take a dip in the Sangam River as it is believed to wash away all the sins.
As one of the oldest cities in India, Allahabad is home to the oldest and one of the grandest forts in the country. Although, not much can be seen by tourists or visitors today, the limited access to the fort is enough to let the visitors bask in its glorious past and can witness a confluence of Mughal and Hindu influences.