Glimpses of the Nawab Era in Bengal : Bachchawali Topp

To the east of the Old Madina, between the Hazarduari Palace and Imambara stands a huge big canon on a 5 ft pedestal, known to the common people as Bacchawali Tope. The typical feature of this canon is that it consists of two parts of different diameters. The chamber, which is the smaller portion, is 3ft. 7in. long with a girth of 4ft 4in. The larger portion, which mainly consists of the barrel is 11ft 6in. long with a girth at the middle of 7ft 9in. The diameter of the muzzle is 1 foot and 7 inches. The barrel, made of wrought iron have 11 rings fixed on it.The rim of the muzzle is decorated with petal designs, while one of the rings resembles a string of beads.On the upper half of the barrel surface, near the muzzle 14 lines, 7 on each side, are inlaid with brass. 8 smaller rings are attached at various points. The breach plug is driven until its chambered end dovetails and fits tightly into the chamber of the barrel, which are tied together with the rings attached to each. The canon weighs around 7657 Kg. The canon requires about 18 Kg of gun powder for a single shelling.

The gun was made between the 12th and the 14th century, probably by the Mohammedan rulers of Gour. It was originally placed on the sand banks adjoining Ichaganj,

protecting the city from attack from the north west. After the completion of the Imambara, as per suggestion of Sir Henry Torrens, Agent of the Governor General at Murshidabad, it was removed to its present site by Sadeq Ali Khan, the architect of the Imambara.

There is a legend regarding this canon. It is said that this canon fired only once and due to massive explosive sounds. most of the pregnant women within a radius of 10 miles, had a premature child birth. The canon is believed to got it’s name from this incident.

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