Grand Trunk Road was initially called Sarak-i-Azam or highway. Built by sher shah in the 16th century. The road ran from sonargaon in Bengal to Lahore in the Punjab and thence to Multan.
The road was constructed for good governance and smooth and efficient administration. The intention of the sultan was to connect the outlying provinces with his capital. Thus while the main road connected Agra with Sonargaon in the east and Multan via Lahore and Delhi in the north and west, another road connected the capital with Borhanpur in the south and still another with Jodhpur in the southwest. These roads facilitated communication, helped trade and commerce to flourish and made swift dispatch of soldiers from one place to another possible. The road also helped the sultan in maintaining strong espionage system and introducing efficient postal department.
There were well-maintained sarais at the interval of every two kos. These certainly helped tourism in those days. They also acted as halting places of government officials moving from one place to another. Trees were planted on both sides of the road to give shade to the passers-by.
The road was improved and extended up to Peshawar during the colonial period and renamed Grand Trunk Road. Though the Kolkata-Barrackpore portion was paved or metalled road, but it contained several detached roads from Jabbalpur to Delhi via Allahabad. At that time different parts of the road were under the jurisdiction of several army units of different Presidencies. Under the development programme of 1839 the military establishment of Kolkata was assigned with the responsibility of the portion falling under Bengal and northern India. At that time about 377 km was made paved. The development programme was completed in 1848 under Lord dalhousie. [Md Muktadir Arif Mozammel] [Mozammel, Md Muktadir Arif Senior Research Assistant, Banglapedia]