Bhadra Fort

About the location: Climb up the Bhadra Fort and get a bird’s eye view of the old city. Built immediately after the founding of Ahmedabad in 1411, Bhadra Fort now houses government offices and a Kali temple. Its gate formed the eastern entrance of the Ahmedabad citadel, which stretched west to the river. From the roof you can check out the imposing structure and views of the surrounding streets. Between the fort and the Teen Darwaja (Triple Gateway) to its east was the Maidan Shahi (Royal Square), where royal processions and polo games took place.

Brief History: Ahmedabad was named after Ahmad Shah I of the Muzaffarid dynasty. He established Ahmedabad as the new capital of Gujarat Sultanate and built Bhadra Fort on the east bank of the Sabarmati river. It was also known as Arak Fort as described in Mirat-i-Ahmadi. The foundation stone of fort was laid down at Manek Burj in 1411. Square in form, enclosing an area of about forty-three acres, and containing 162 houses, the Bhadra fort had eight gates, three large, two in the east and one in the south-west corner; three middle-sized, two in the north and one in the south; and two small, in the west.[5] 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.

Sarsenapati Umabaisaheb Khanderao Dabhade became the only female Commander-in-Chief in the history of the Marathas in 1732. She commanded the Maratha Army and fought a war near Ahmedabad at Bhadra Fort defeating Mughal Sardar Joravar Khan Babi.

Joint rule by Peshwa and Gaekwad of the Maratha Empire brought an end to the Mughal era in 1783. During the First Anglo–Maratha War (1775–1782), General Thomas Wyndham Goddard with 6,000 troops stormed Bhadra Fort and captured Ahmedabad on 15 February 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 prison 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.

How to get there

By Road: Gujarat has one of the better-developed road networks in India. Ahmedabad is well connected with all major cities and towns by road. Prominent bus stops are located at Gitamandir near Kalupur Railway Station and Paldi. Regular bus services are available by Gujarat state transport buses and private operators to all the major destinations of the state.

By Rail: The main railway station is located in the Kalupur area. This station falls under the prominent national railway circuit and is connected to all major cities of India. If you are on the western side of the Sabarmati river, then you can go to the Gandhigram station near Ashram road to buy your railway tickets easily.

By Air: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel airport at Ahmedabad is an international airport with direct flights to USA, UK, Singapore, Dubai and other international hubs. Numerous domestic flights are also operational from here.

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