Who Was Khan Jahan Ali?

The local ruler of Bagerhat

By CyArk

Bengal and parts of Odisha and Bihar (1685/1711) by John ThorntonKalakriti Archives

Who was Khan Jahan Ali?

Khan Jahan was the founder of Khalifatabad. He stood out in the medieval period, where successive regional sultanates targeted the Ganges Delta, bringing in Persianized Turks and other immigrants, spreading Islam in equal measure. 

Where did he rule?

He thrived in the remote Sundarbans. Active there during the early years of the 15th century, he rallied the region’s local population, organizing its people to clear the jungle and converting them to Islam along the way.      

A Laser Scanner in Front of the 60 Dome Mosque in Bagerhat (2019-05) by CyArkCyArk

What did he do for Bagerhat?

A prolific builder, at Khalifatabad he created some 360 mosques, public buildings, mausoleums, bridges, roads, water tanks, and other public buildings  out of bricks and terracotta bonded by lime or mud mortars.     

Underneath an Archway in Bagerhat (2019-05) by CyArkCyArk

It was out of these difficult conditions and within these considerable constraints that Khan Jahan created some of the most significant buildings of the initial period of the development of Muslim architecture of Bengal.   

9 Dome MosqueCyArk

More than 50 monuments have been catalogued: in the first group, the mosques of Singair, Bibi Begni and Chunakhola; in the second, the mosques of Rezakhoda, Zindapir and Ranobijoypur.    

His early monumental structures were symbols of power of a newly established system, while his mature style reflects a more spiritual attitude. His accomplishment is even more noteworthy for the area’s frontier location, deep in the Sundarbans forest.  

Walkway Towards the 60 Dome Mosque in Bagerhat (2019-05) by CyArkCyArk

What is his legacy?

Inscriptions on the walls of Tomb Khan Jahan had built for himself tell us that he died on 25 October 1459 (27 Zilhajj 863 AH). Khan Jahan introduced a new architectural style in his buildings, which are named after him. The Khan Jahan style is seen in a group of buildings in the greater districts of Khulna, Jashore and Barishal.  

Discover more

Discover how CyArk uses 3D documentation to empower local experts.

Find out more about ICOMOS' efforts to increase engagement of cultural heritage in climate action here.

Credits: Story

Andrew Potts, ICOMOS Working Group on Cultural Heritage and Climate Change.

This project was made possible through a collaboration between the Department of Archaeology, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.  

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps