Shahi Bridge, Jaunpur

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Shahi Bridge
शाही पुल
Jaunpurbridge.jpg
Panoramic view of Shahi bridge
Crosses Gomti River
Locale Jaunpur
Maintained by Directorate of Archaeology, (U.P.)
UP-PWD
UP Bridge corporation
Designer Afzal Ali
Design Arch bridge
Construction begin 1564
Construction end 1567
Opened 1567
Toll free
Preceded by Boat Bridge of Sharki's
Followed by New Bridge
Heritage status 1978
Collapsed 1934 (partial i.e. ⅓)
Coordinates 25°44′55″N 82°41′05″E / 25.74870°N 82.68468°E / 25.74870; 82.68468Coordinates: 25°44′55″N 82°41′05″E / 25.74870°N 82.68468°E / 25.74870; 82.68468

Shahi Bridge or Munim Khan's Bridge or Akbari Bridge or Mughal Bridge or Jaunpur Bridge is a 16th-century bridge over river Gomti in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Location[edit]

The Shahi Bridge is located 1.7 kilometres (1.1 mi) north of Jaunpur, 7.3 kilometres (4.5 mi) northwest of Zafarābād, 16.2 kilometres (10.1 mi) north-northeast of Mariāhū and 26.6 kilometres (16.5 mi) west-northwest of the town of Kirākat.[1]

Transport links[edit]

  • Located 5 kilometers away from the Railway Junction at Bhandari,
  • by availing the bus or train services from Varanasi (Benaras), which is separated from Jaunpur by a distance of 56 kilometers.
  • Lucknow and Mirzapur are the other two cities located at a distance of 214 kilometers and 69 kilometers respectively.

Construction[edit]

Jaunpur Bridge: a plate from 'William Hodges' book 'Select Views in India'

Mughal Emperor Akbar ordered the construction of the Shahi Bridge, which was completed in the year 1568–69 by Munim Khan.[2] It took four years to complete the bridge.[3] It was designed by Afghan architect Afzal Ali.[4]

Munim Khan was appointed the Governor of Jaunpur in 1567 by Mughal Emperor Akbar. Munim Khan aimed at restoring and reconstructing a great number of buildings that were destroyed by the Lodis. He set a personal example by commissioning a number of civic structures around the city so as to encourage the building of civic amenities by his nobles. One such example was the Shahi Bridge in Jaunpur in India and it was one of the most significant, noteworthy and picturesque Mughal structures in the city.

Architecture[edit]

Jaunpur Bridge: a closer view

The bridge is built across the Gomati river.[5] The bridge comprises ten arched openings that are supported on huge and massive pylons.[6] There is an additional extension of five arches that were built so as to cover the diverted channel. The bridge initially possessed a hammam (public bath house) at the northern end, but it is no longer used and is permanently closed. For providing points on the bridge so that people can stop and gaze at the flowing river below, Chhatris (small pavilions) were built which lined on both the sides of the bridge. In the year 1847 the Collector of Jaunpur added these to the bridge.[3] Each and every Chhatri lines up with a pylon below. These Chhatris project beyond the bridge and are given support below by brackets that transfer the weight to the pylons. The pylons are elongated and extended hexagons in plan with the longer sides supporting the bridge and then there are the skewed sides that support the chhatris above. For preventing the pylons from appearing like some solid mass that has risen up from the river, there were recessed and adjourned rectangular niches with blind arches built on the skewed sides of the pylons.The bridge has become unstable

Current use[edit]

Distant view of Shahi bridge over Gomti river, Jaunpur.

The bridge was badly damaged by earthquake in the year 1934, when seven of its fifteen arches were badly damaged. These have been rebuilt and the whole bridge has been effectively conserved. Although a public road runs over it, it is maintained as an ancient monument.[7]

The bridge is on the Protection & Conservation list of Directorate of Archaeology, (U.P.) since 1978.[8]

The bridge is still used in contemporary times and is generally recognised as Jaunpur's most significant Mughal structure.

A new bridge parallel to Shahi Bridge was opened on 28 November, 2006 by the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav.[9][10]

In literature[edit]

William Hodges in his book 'Select Views in India' mentions about bridge:[11]

"The inundations have been frequently known to rise even over the bridge in so much that in the year 1774 a whole brigade of the British forces was passed over it in boats."

Rudyard Kipling's poem Akbar's Bridge mentions this bridge. [12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • Alfieri, Bianca Maria. 2000. Islamic Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent. London: Laurence King Publishing, 103.

External links[edit]