gobindgarh fort at amritsar

Located right in the heart of Amritsar, Gobindgarh Fort echoes the fascinating history of Punjab and offers insights into the events that have shaped the region into what it is today. The 18-century fort lies just about 2 km away from the famous Golden Temple and boasts of a history of over 250 years. Originally built during the Bhangi Misl era, the fort was seized and renovated first by the Sikh Empire and later by the British. After independence, it became a bastion for the Indian Army. Currently, it serves as a live museum where visitors can witness the heritage of Punjab.

some pictures of gobindgarh fort

Nalwa Gate

zamzama cannon of maharaja ranjit singh

Steel Bell


history of gobindgarh fort at amritsar

Did you know that Gobindgarh Fort was originally known as Bhagian da Qilla? A local chieftain of the Bhangi Misl named Gujar Singh Bhangi built it as a mud fortress in the 18thcentury, and hence the name. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the first maharaja of the Sikh Empire, conquered the fort in the early 19thcentury. It was he who renamed it as Gobindgarh Fort after Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th guru of the Sikhs. Further, he made many renovations and added new structures to the fort from 1805 to 1809. Much of these revamps were based on French military fortification plans and Maharaja Ranjit Singh even took help from a French architect for the same. The major reason why he strengthened the fort was to protect the Golden Temple and the city of Amritsar from invaders. Gobindgarh Fort remained under the control of Maharaja Ranjit Singh until 1849 when it was seized by the British. After the country’s independence, it was garrisoned by the Indian army and remained inaccessible to civilians for a long time. Finally, on 10th February 2017, the fort was opened to the public as a live heritage museum.

architecture of gobindgarh fort

Gobindgarh Fort has a square layout and is made using bricks and lime. All four corners of the fort are adorned with two doors and a parapet. Four strategically located bastions are inside the fort premises, each displaying the Anglo-Sikh style of architecture. Multiple gates including Nalwa Gate (main entrance) and Keller Gate (back entrance) provide entry to the fort. It also features an underground tunnel that leads towards Lahore and a deep moat that encircles the walls.

The fort displays many unique features and structures, some of which were added during the Sikh period while some others were added by the British. Toshakhana, Darbar Hall, Colonial Bungalow, and Khas Mahalare some of the existing structures inside the fort that display unique architectural beauty. The original structure also housed a coin minting factory, 25 cannons, and 8 watchtowers.

The fort had a 50-meter tall watchtower dating back to 1874 which was demolished by the Indian army. A bell constructed in 1863 in Sheffield, the UK still exists at the fort. This steel bell is believed to be a cast made by Naylor Vickers & Company to make other bells for Amritsar.

wagah border ceremonies

history of maharaja ranjit singh

Ranjit Singh (2 November 1780 – 27 June 1839), popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab or "Lion of Punjab", was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century. He survived smallpox in infancy but lost sight in his left eye. He fought his first battle alongside his father at age 10. After his father died, he fought several wars to expel the Afghans in his teenage years and was proclaimed as the "Maharaja of Punjab" at age 21. His empire grew in the Punjab region under his leadership through 1839. Prior to his rise, the Punjab region had numerous warring misls (confederacies), twelve of which were under Sikh rulers and one Muslim. Ranjit Singh successfully absorbed and united the Sikh misls and took over other local kingdoms to create the Sikh Empire. He repeatedly defeated invasions by outside armies, particularly those arriving from Afghanistan, and established friendly relations with the British. Ranjit Singh's reign introduced reforms, modernisation, investment into infrastructure and general prosperity. His Khalsa army and government included Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and Europeans.