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The city of Lakhnauti, which in past times was the Capital of Bengal, was founded by Sangaldib. It is said that at the time when Firoz Rāi, the Rāja of Hindūstān, being defeated by Rustam Dastan,(Dastan was the title of Rustam, the Persian Hercules - otherwise called Rustam Zal) fled to Tirhūt, and from there fleeing to the mountains of Jhārkhand and Gondwārah, he died. Rustam Dastan, who was displeased with his insolence, not bestowing the kingdom of Hindūstān on the Rāja's children, awarded the sovereignty of Hindūstān to a Hindū, named Sūraj (It is worthy of note that there is a town called Sūraj-garh [or fort of Sūraj] in Mongyer district, on the southern banks of the Ganges, and close to Maulanagar, where there was also an old Muhammedan Khanqah[1] founded by Mahabat Jang) Sūraj became a powerful Rāja, subjugated the kingdom of the Dakhin and also the kingdom of Bengal. When Sūraj died and the sovereignty passed to his son, Bahraj, disturbances occurring in all parts of the kingdom, ambition showed itself in every head, and at length a Brahmin, named Kēdār, coming out from the mountains of Siwālik, and becoming victorious after fighting's possessed himself of the reins of sovereignty. Towards the end of his reign, a person named Sangaldib[2], emerging from the environs of Koch, which adjoins the limits of Bengal, brought to his subjection, first, the countries of Bengal and Behār, and then fighting against Kēdār became victorious, and building the city of Lakhnauti, made it his capital. And for two thousand years it remained the Capital of Bengal. In the time of the Mughal Emperors it became ruined, and instead of it Tandāh became the Viceregal Capital. Afterwards Tandāh was also ruined, and Jahāngirnagar, and lastly Murshidābād, ecame the Viceregal Capital. The reason for the name of Gaur is unknown, but it is guessed that in the period of the rule of the sons of Nojgoriah, perhaps this name was given. And Emperor Humāyun, considering Gaur an inauspicious name, changed it to Jannatábád. It had a fine fort and to the eastward of it there was a lake called Chhatiápatiá with many islands.

The authentic history of the city begins with its conquest in 1198 AD. (594 AH) by the Muhammedans, who made it their first capital in Bengal. This was the period when were erected numerous mosques and other Muhammedan buildings. When the Muhammedan kings of Bengal established their independence, they transferred the seat of government to Sunargaon and Pandua. Pandua was soon after deserted, and the royal residence re-transferred to Gaur, whilst Sunargaon continued as capital of East Bengal. Minhaj-us-Siraj[3] visited the city in 641 H. or 1245 AD, and gives an account of it in his Tabaqāt-i-Nasiri. Abūl Fazl in the Āin notices it, and states that the city was known in his time both as Lakhnauti and Gaur, and that the latter epithet was changed to "Jannatábád." by Emperor Humāyun. Badaini states that Bakhtiyar Ghori founded a city and named it after himself "Gour". The capital was shifted in Sulaiman Khan Karrani's time further westward to Tandā. During the conquest of Bengal by the Mughals under the Emperor Akbar, Gaur again became the headquarters of the Mughal Government, and the Mughal Imperialists under Munaim Khan, Khan-i-Khanan, the first Mughal Viceroy of Bengal, occupied it. A pestilence, however, broke out, in course of which Munaim died - and also thousands of troops and people daily, and the Mughal metropolis of Bengal was removed to Tandā, and thence shortly after to Rajmahal or Akbarnagar, which remained the capital of Bengal, until it was removed to Dacca or Jahangirnagar, and lastly to Murshidabad.

References :
  • [1]A Khanqah, is a building designed specifically for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood, or tariqa, and is a place for spiritual retreat and character reformation. Back
  • [2] in the battle of Hamawaran Shangaldib was killed at the hands of Rustam. And during the reign of Raja Jaichand (son of Sangaldip), owing to whose neglect, decay overtook several provinces of Hindustan, and for years Hindustan did not see its normal state. Back
  • [3] Minhaj-us-Siraj (born ca. 1193, died after 1259) was a 13th century Indo-Persian Muslim historian. Born as the son of a Ghorid Qazi, he came to India in 1227 and was made Qazi at the court of Nasiruddin Qabacha at Uchch. After the fall of Multan to Shamsuddin Iltutmish in 1228, he moved to Delhi. He spent about two years in Bengal from 1242. Back
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