Biggest Cannon, but Never Used

Jaivana, the biggest cannon

If you are visiting Jaigarh fort in Jaipur you are sure to see Jaivana, believed to be the biggest cannon in the world. It was cast by Maharaja Jaisingh II in 1720. Jai Singh II took a keen interest in developing armory and munitions. Perhaps he also wanted to impress his Mughal overlords. The gigantic proportion of the gun is quite impressive. It is 20 feet long and weighs 50 tonnes. But the size and weight itself would have been a weakness. It was (test) fired only once. Folklore has it that the 50 kg cannonball traveled 45 kms. Ballistics experts reckon that it would not have been more than 5 kms. Definitely worth ticking the box if you visit Jaigarh.

 

The Gates of Aurangabad

I came across the word ‘Darwaza’ when I entered ¬†IIM, Ahmedabad in 1969.The city’s Lal Darwaza and Teen Darwaza were commercial centres as well as traffic hubs. I knew little about their historical significance.

During my summer job in Delhi in 1970, I became familiar with Ajmeri Gate and Kashmiri Gate and also Lahori Gate and Delhi(!) Gate. In fact, I was staying in a college hostel right on Ajmeri gate not far from the seamy quarters of this historical city.

Historically, these darwazas or gates have been integral parts of the fortified medieval cities. They aided in security and defence and also in collecting taxes and tolls.

In term of number of gates, Aurangabad tops the list with 52 gates. Of these 52, only 10 or 12 remain today. I could see and capture in my camera 5 or 6 of these during my visit last month.

The original name of the city was Khadki. it was the seat of power of Malik Amber, the Prime Minister of Murtaza Nizam of Ahmednagar. Some of the earliest gates (Bhadkal?) were built by him. His son who succeeded him renamed the city Fatehnagar. When the Mughals captured the city Aurangazeb was made the Viceroy by the Shah Jahan. Auraganzeb renamed it after himself – Aurangabad.

Delhi Darwaza
Delhi Darwaza (North)
Rangeen Gate
Rangeen Gate
Mahmud Darwaza at Panchakki
Mahmud Darwaza at Panchakki
Zafar Gate
Zafar Gate
Makkai Darwaza - Mecca Gate
Makkai Darwaza – Mecca Gate (West)