Thursday, February 1, 2018

Recalling Rohtas Fort - Throwback Thursday

By a much younger Hamza Shafique (Instagram / Facebook)

Originally posted in Feb 2010 based on the trip in Jan 2010 (all pictures were taken by my very first DSLR Nikon-D60). I have kept it in its original format as posted initially in 2010, so you can see my growth as a writer from 2010 as well (if there is any 😂 ) - Please forgive Wikipedia plagiarism, it was almost 8 years ago. So here we go.....

Rohtas Fort is one of my favorite sites since childhood. I still remember asking my parents numerous time to visit this place when I was very young. And then one fine day my Uncle (dad's elder brother) took us there and that day is still the most memorable day of my childhood, I still remember it vividly, which is amazing considering I was only 6 at that time.

It is only 30 minutes’ drive from Jhelum. So, when in 2010 all of my cousins were back at our grandfather’s house in Jhelum we decided to pay it another visit. This time the experience was even more amazing as I could understand this place more as a grown up and also I had my Nikon-D60 with me.

Rohtas Fort (Urdu: قلعہ روہتاس Qila Rohtas) is a garrison fort built by the great Afghan king Sher Shah Suri. This fort is about 4 km in circumference and the first example of the successful amalgamation of Pukhtun and Hindu architecture in the Indian Subcontinent.

Sohail Gate:

This gate is the best example of masonry in use in the time of Sher Shah. It derives its name from a Saint names Sohail Bukhari buried in the south-western bastion of the gate. Others say that it was names after the Sohail Star which rises on this side of the fort.

Sikh temple

A Sikh temple abandoned from the time of partition ......... at Fort Rohtas which is a 15th century fort and this temple is from that time of my aunt is from this area and she told me when they were young this used to be there favorite place to play........ and at that time it was all made of nothing remains as with time people damaged the temple but now I saw it was close for repair and saw few people going in so I think it’s being renovated for Sikh pilgrimage from India.....

It was an amazing trip and an amazing fort, I wonder why it was not added on the world heritage list earlier(included in 2006). The best thing about Rohtas Fort is the city which lives within the walls of the fort since 15th century. Below is a picture of a collapsed Wall with the old King Mosque in the back ground. Restoration work is in Progress but still a minor portion of the Fort has collapsed, mostly because of erosion and heavy rainfall

Below is the only remain of a once 200 room mansion known as "Haveli Man Singh" named after the very special Minister "Man Singh " of great Moghul King Akbar. Man Singh used this Haveli in the 15th century. This used to be a tower now half buried in ground. I noticed excavation being done in the area to salvage the buried remains of the Haveli.

Mughal King Humayon after defeating Sher Shah Suri (who constructed the Rohtas Fort) and gaining control over India, destroyed the below pictured gate as a symbol of his power, as this Fort was a symbol of Suri family's power. But the great Pakistani authorities they did not repaired the damaged walls (they are repairing bases up to some extent), Instead they repaired this entrance which should have been left the way Humayon destroyed it. Because this destroyed gate was a symbol of Mughal Power and marked the beginning of the Mughal Rule in India which lasted next 200 years. Plus it doesn’t look good also , as you can see the difference in old and new construction.

Finally, the gallery of Rohtas cannot be complete without a picture of a Mandir (a Hindu temple below). As previously I posted the picture of a mosque and Sikh gurdwara. In old Punjab Sikh, Hinduism and Islam were the three major religions. Islam was the religion of rulers, that’s why the Mosque was inside the Royal area of the Fort, and Hindus being the majority population so that’s why the Mandir was located inside the town area. Sikhism being the new religion and having less followers, so that’s the reason gurdwara was outside the fort.
All the three worship grounds were abandoned even the mosque (mosque and gurdwara were under repair).

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