One of the most historic and worth visiting places of Peshawar city of province Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa is the Fort Bala Hisar. The word Bala Hisar means, “elevated of high fort” that is from Dari Persian. The Pashtun King Taimur Shah Durrani named the fort as Bala Hisar for whom this fort was the winter capital of the Afghan Durrani Empire and his summer capital was in Kabul.
The fort stands in the northwestern corner on a high mound in the city of Peshawar. The fort was constructed away from the old city but today because of the construction of the new buildings, the space between old city and fort has been covered. The fort gives a panoramic and commanding view of the entire Peshawar valley and Peshawar city because of its position on a high mound. About 10 acres of the area is covered by the inner wall of the fort and about 15 acres by the outer wall.
Peshawar is an old and historical city, it has always been a strategic city, and for the kings and rulers, ruling over it was of great importance. Raja Jaipal of the Hindushahi dynasty, in the eleventh century AD was defeated in the vicinity of Peshawar and the fort was garrisoned by the army of Menhood Ghaznavi. This fort was used as the residence of Afghan rulers in the nineteenth century.
Constructions and destructions were made on the Fort Bala Hisar by the many kings, warriors, conquerors and invaders on several occasions. The Afghans destroyed the fort after the overthrow of King Humayon by the Shir Shah Suri, who was the Afghan king. Before proceeding to Kabul, while staying here in it Humayon decided to rebuild the fort. at a later stage he wanted to use the fort for his take-over of India. Humayon supervised the reconstruction of the fort as his officers did not want to stay there and the construction was completed in very soon.
In early 1823, the Kabul Barakzais fought and defeated by the Sikhs in the Battle of Nowshehra. Bala Hisar was the name of fort given by the Afghan rulers but after the Sikh rule on it, they changed the name in 1834 and called the fort “Sumergarh”. But this name could not become as popular as Bala Hisar and this fort today is known as Bala Hisar Fort.
In 1849, after the annexation of the Kingdom of Sikhs, the outer wall of Bala Hisar was reconstructed by the British. This Sikh fort dominated the Peshawar city in the twenty first century.