ROYAL FORT- LAHORE
Although most parts of the Royal Fort were constructed around 1566 A.D. by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar the Great, there is evidence that a mud fort was in existence here in 1021 A.D. as well, when Mahmood of Ghazna invaded this area. Akbar demolished the old mud fort and constructed most of the modern Fort, as we see it today, on the old foundations.
The Royal Fort is rectangular. The main gates are located alongside the centre of the western and eastern walls. Every succeeding Mughal Emperor as well as the Sikhs, and the British in their turn, added a pavilion, palace or wall to the Fort. Emperor Jehangir extended the gardens and constructed the palaces that we see today in the Jehangir’s Quadrangle, while Shah-Jehan added Diwan-e-Khas, Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) and his own Sleeping Chambers. Aurangzeb built the impressive main gate which faces the Hazoori Bagh lying in between the Badshahi Mosque and the Fort. The Famous Sheesh Mahal or Palace of Mirrors is in the north-east corner of the Fort. This is the most beautiful palace in the Fort and is decorated with small mirrors of different colours set.
The part of the wall of the Elephant Steps towards the Fort’s inner gate are scarred by bullet marks, bearing testimony to the Sikh Civil War of 1847 A.D.
The Sleeping Chamber of Mai Jindan houses a very interesting museum with relics from Mughal and the Sikh periods.
Rawat Fort is located 17 km east of Rawalpindi, on the Grand Trunk (G.T) Road leading to Lahore. Gakkhars, a fiercely independent tribe of the Potohar Plateau built the fort, in early 16th century. The grave of a Gakkhar Chief, Sultan Sarang Khan is located inside the fort. He died in 1546 AD fighting against the forces of Sher Shah Suri. If one dares to climb the broken steps inside the tomb, one may get a panoramic view of the plateau and the Mankiala Stupa.
This fort is about 40 km from Rawalpindi beyond Lehtrar road. A Gakkhar ruler, Sultan Kai Gohar, on the ruins of a 10th century Hindi Shahi Fort built it in 15th century. Emperor Babar conquered the fort in 1519 AD. Later, in 1825, Sikhs expelled Gakkhars from this fort. Though the fort is in a crumbling state, it is still an attraction for castle lovers. The fort, being situated in prohibited area, is only open for Pakistani visitors.
Rohtas Fort is 109 km from Rawalpindi. It is located about 6 km south-west of Dina Town. Going from Rawalpindi/Islamabad, you have to turn right from G.T. Road to a narrow road just before Dina Police Station and then go left until you find the dry bed of Kahan River. The fort is visible from this point. However, you have to cross the river to reach it. During rainy season, you need a four-wheel-drive to cross the river. The fort is one of the most impressive historical monuments in Pakistan. It was built by Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri, between 1540 and 1547 AD. It served as a huge fortified base for military operations against Gakkhars by Sher Shah Suri. It was later used by Mughal emperor Akbar and Sikhs. Within the huge terraced rampart walls with robust bastions and twelve gates, is located another fortress, palaces and ancillary buildings.
It is situated about 101 km west of Islamabad on the left bank of Indus River. The fort was completed in 1583 under the supervision of Khawaja Shamsuddin Khawafi, a minister of Emperor Akbar. The Mughal caravan sarai outside the fort, which is almost on the G.T. Road, was also built during this period. Please note that no visitors are allowed inside the Fort.
The glen of Giri is located 8 km north-east of Taxila, at the foot of Margallah. It is approached through a rough torrent bed near two villages named Khurram Gujar and Khurram Paracha. There are remains of two monasteries and stupas, one on the top of the hill and other below it. The remains of Giri Fort are perched on the hill top, with spring water falling within it. The fort was built in 5th century by the Buddhist monks. Later, it was used by Sultan Masud, son of Sultan Mahmud of Gazni.
Border skirmishes between the armies of renowned Mughal The Great Akbar and the Chak rulers of Kahsmir were common. To ensure safety of the people, and the land, the Chaks realised to raise defence posts and efficiently countered the offensives.
During the year 1949 the construction of the red fort was undertaken. It was finally completed by Sultan Muzaffar Khan the founder of Muzaffarabad city during 1646. When the Mughals overtook the Kahsmir rule, this fort lost its importance. The Mughals were more interested in Kabul, Bokhara and Badakshan. During the Durrani rule the fort again came into limelight and its importance was rediscovred.
Maharaja Gulab Signh and Ranbir Singh, the Dogra rulers, reconstructed and extended the fort for political and military operations. Towards the end of 1947 the Dogra forces filed away leaving the fort wide open to anybody.
The architectonics of the fort show that great experts in design and structure participated in its construction. It is surrounded on three sides by Neelum river formally known as Kishan Ganga. The northern part had terraces with steps leading to the bank of the river. The Eastern side of the fort was very well protected from the hazards of flood waters but some parts in the north were slightly damaged. There was an inn at the entry of the fort which has traces left now.
Multan Fort was built on a mound separating it from the city by the old bed of river Ravi. Its date cannot be fixed with accuracy. When intact, its circumference was 6,600 ft. having 46 bastions, including two towers at each of the four gates i.e., Delhi Gate, Khizri Gate, Sikhi Gate and Rehri Gate. The fort was ravaged by the British to avenge the murder of one Mr. Agnew in 1848. At present it is survived by some parts of the old rampart and bastions besides the shrines of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakaria and Shah Rukn-e-Alam, an obelisk in memory of Agnew and a Hindu temple. The famous Qasim Bagh and a stadium are located within the walls of the fort. A panoramic view of Multan City can be had from the highest point in the fort.
Derawar Fort is located 48 Km from Dera Nawab Sahib. It is still in a good condition. The rampart walls are intact and still guarded by the personal guards of the Amir of Bahawalpur. The tombs of the ex-rulers of Bahawalpur and their families are located in this fort. The tombs have nice glazed blue tile work. Prior permission of the senior Amir of Bahawalpur is required to enter the fort.
The mighty Balahisaar Fort lies on both eastern and western approaches to Peshawar city. It meets the eye when coming from Rawalpindi or from the Khyber. It is a massive frowning structure as its name implies, and the newcomer passing under the shadow of its huge battlements and ramparts cannot fail to be impressed. Originally built by Babur, the first of the Moghals in 1526-30, it was rebuilt in its present form by the Sikh Governor of Peshawar, Hari Singh Nalva, in the 1830’s under the guidance of French engineers. It houses government offices at present.
Fort of Munde Shahid
The old fort of Munde Shahid, 50 Km from Bahawalpur and Marot Fort are considered to be antiquities. A place outside the Marot Fort is known as ‘Baithak Maula Ali’. The tomb of Naugaza is located in the Munde Sharif Fort.
Baltit Fort, Hunza Valley
The fairy-tale like castle of Baltit, above Karimabad, is a Hunza landmark built abut 600 years ago. Stilted on massive legs, its wooden bay windows look out over the valley. Originally, it was used as the residence of the Mirs (the title of the former rulers of Hunza).
On the top of the hill, there is the famous Mughal fort, overlooking the lake. Rising four stories high, this massive structure of granite is a feet of Moghul engineering that has stood the ravages of time. It has also played an important role in subsequent history during the time of Ahmed Shah Abdali, Ranjit Singh and Gulab Singh.