GOBINDGAṚH FORT, raised in the time of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh on the ruins of an old fortress built at Amritsar by Gujjar Siṅgh (d. 1788) of the Bhaṅgī clan, was named in honour of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. The Fort took four years, 1805-09, to build. According to Lepel Griffin, Shamīr Siṅgh Ṭheṭhar (d. 1824), one of the army commanders, was entrusted by Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh with the task of building the Fort. He was also appointed its first qilādār (commandant). The Fort, an imposing structure with a gilded dome, was surrounded by a high wall. It had eight towers. The moat around it was lined with bricks. The huge wooden door on the eastern side marked the main entrance. The Fort contained magazines, arsenals and royal stables, besides a mint. Imām ud-Dīn, one of the renowned three Faqīr brothers of Sikh times, remained in charge of the Fort for many years.
The Fort also served as the State treasury. Here were kept the crown jewels as well as the Mahārājā's gold and silver. Political prisoners were sent here for detention. The Fort retained its importance under the British and is at present used by the Indian defence forces.
B. S. Nijjar