Attraction and charm of historical places are marvelous. Unlike many countries of the world, Pakistan has a rich and continuous history dating back from the separation of the sub-continent. The legacy of such an extensive history is included forts that still stand, ranging from simple defensive structure to massive complexes. Historically Forts are assumed to be the military positions always put up to strengthen against attacks. Before the advent of modern weapons, almost all important cities were defended by permanent fortification, either by a high wall encircling the city and sometimes a walled and a citadel within or without city or a combination of both. Mostly, the forts were located on riversides or coastal points to take benefit of water from aggressors. On the other side, some of the forts were an abode of Nawab’s or Mir’s. Everything about them is subjected to sublime glorification, its air, walls, pillars, columns, chaste marble decoration and what not.
Pakistan has plenty of historical forts to site. Most people have not even heard the name of some forts only locally know them. On a visit of these Forts one find the monuments speaking. It seems a mosaic of strangers talking to different languages with different alphabets. Silence is eerie around Dalans, standing ruined, waste, and still with few grizzled trees. Huge arches, high columns, dull with peal plastered walls lead one to a totally different age with an invincible attraction of solemnity and splendor.
I did my best to collect as much history of these forts for the interest of readers. I am starting as south as possible from these forts that provide their history in brief.
Rawat Fort lies 17th km from Rawalpindi on G.T road. The name Rawat drives from Arabic word “Rabat” means Serai. According to some historians, the fort was built by Sultan Masood, son of Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi in 1036 AD. Another myth is that in early 16th century fort was built by Sarang Khan a leader of Gakkhar tribe of the Potohar Plateau.
The fort is almost in square and the surrounding fort area has a semi circular bastion on the four corners with two gates located on east and west. The fort also contains a mosque with three big domes shaped rooms in the western side named Shahi Masjid. In the center of the fort, there are many graves. Among them there is the tomb of Sultan Sarang Khan and graves of his sixteen sons who died in a fighting with Sheer Shah Sure.
Phrasal Fort is about 40 km from Rawalpindi near Chirah Village. It is a Gakhar fort built it in 15th century on the ruins of a 10th century Hindi Shahi Fort. Fort is conquered by Emperor Babar in 1519 AD so also known as Babar Fort. The fort was returned to its natives after the reconciled of Mughals with Gakhar. Later, in 1825, Sikhs expelled Gakhars from this fort.
The Hathi (Elephant) Gate of the fort towards the north eastern corner persists with its grandeur, while the Begum Gate opening towards the south western end, though greatly damaged, stands tall at a sheer rock rising from the Swaan River.
The north western gate is greatly damaged and its stones are falling rapidly. A smaller gate towards the south eastern end persists with its boundary walls and is used by the inmates as the main entrance.
Among the finest site of Punjab, is a Multan Fort, A stunning Fort built on a mound separating it from the city by the old bed of River Ravi. History is silent to tell when this fort came to being, but some historical books write it is about 2000 years old and was constructed in 600 BC. The fort had importance for defense and architectural points of view. Some evidence shows when it was intact its path was around 6,800 feet. Multan Fort consisted on 46 bastions and two towers at each of the four gates. Each gate owns a name like Delhi Gate, Khizri Gate, Sikhi Gate, and Rehri Gate. With the passage of time some parts of the old rampart left there. The fort is a sacred place for people as shrines of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakaria and Shah Rukn-e-Alam are located near the main gate of the fort. Other attractions are Qasim Bagh and a stadium within the walls of the fort.
Red Fort / Muzaffarabad fort
Muzaffarabad Fort also known as Red Fort. The man behind Red Fort was, Sultan Muzaffar Khan, the founder of Muzaffarabad City who started construction of this massive fort and the work was completed in 1646. The fort had added changes in the time of Dogera rulers, Maharaja Gulab Singh and Rambir Singh, restored and extended the fort for political and military operations.
The edifices of the fort have surpassed in chastity of design and delicacy of execution.
It is surrounded by water of River Neelum on three sides. The northern part of the fort had terraces with steps leading to the bank of the river. The eastern side was very well protected from the hazards of flood waters. This positioning allowed fort to stave off an invasion by the enemies.
The journey of forts is not ended here. Some more are for your interest is in the list.