Teliagarhi situated at the Shahibganj thana of the Santal Parganas in Bihar of India, is a famous 'pass' which formerly commanded the military approaches of Bengal proper. In Abul Fazl's time (late 16th century AD) Teliagarhi formed the northwestern limit of Bengal. Bengal could be linked with the rest of the subcontinent only through three hazardous passages: Teliagarhi route, Tirhut route and Jharkhand route. The route of Teliagarhi is a narrow passage by the southern bank of the Ganges, with the steep river bank in the north and the rajmahal hills in the south. Starting from Patna, this route passes via Bhaglpur and Colong along the southern bank of the Ganges with steep hills extending southwards for about eighty miles up to the northern boundary of Birbhum of West Bengal. Between the vast expanse of the Ganges on the north and the steep hills of Rajmahal and the rugged regions of the Santal Parganas and Birbhum to the south, the route narrows down at Teliagarhi. From the earliest times, Teliagarhi was known as the 'gate-way' to Bengal and a fort was constructed there completely blocking the route. At the western mouth of this strategic pass, a small Bengal army could easily stay a large enemy force. The military leaders of Muslim Bengal fully utilised the strategic position of the Teliagarhi pass as a first line of defence against an invader from northern India.
The Bengal navy patrolling the river near that route restricted the entry of the enemy by the Ganges. The invading forces were put to a severe test of patience and harassment at Teliagarhi. Thus tired and harassed, the invaders often abandoned their intention of subjugating Bengal and returned from Teliagarhi. At times, the vigilant Bengali forces suddenly fell upon their much wearied and unsuspecting opponents and dispersed them. Bengali army under Ghiyasuddin Iwaz Khalji (1212-1227 AD) checked the advance of Delhi Sultan Shamsuddin iltutmish (1210-1236 AD) at Teliagarhi for a considerable time. Aware of the strategic position of the pass, Sultan ghiyasuddin balban (1266-1287 AD) took a different route and entered Bengal by the circuitous Tirhut route. Sultan firuz shah tughlaq (1351-1388 AD) also avoided this route and came to Bengal via Tirhut. In 1538, a contingent of the Afghans under Jalal Khan, son of Sher Khan (later sher shah, 1540-1545 AD) stayed the vast Mughal force of Emperor humayun (1530-1540 AD; 1556 AD) at the Teliagarhi pass. daud khan karrani (1572-1576 AD) also held up the Mughal force under Khan Jahan, the general of Emperor akbar (1556-1605 AD), at this strategic pass for more than six months in 1575-76 AD. Thus, from strategic point of view, Teliagarhi was an important place in the medieval history of Bengal. [Md Akhtaruzzaman]