Fort Sangni, almost one hundred and Seventy years old fort, is located near Village Bewal of Rawalpindi District. It is surrounded by hills from three sides and was an ideal location according to the defense point of view.
People say that Bewal looks like Mirpur of Azad Jammu and Kashmir due to its scenic view. Right before entering the village, there is Fort Sangni, which is around 25 kilometers away from Grand Trunk Road (G.T. Road). Although this fort is old but its building is saved in almost its original form due to the stones used in it for construction. Its towers have no cracks on it, its beams are still solid and gates are complete as none of the single part is missing from it.
When the fort was constructed, there were few rooms on one side and a well on the other side so that the residents can fulfill their need of water by this well.There is a grave too in this fort, which is said to be a Sufi saint’s, came from Persia to preach Islam, named as Abdul Hakim. He lived in Chakraali village near to Bewal village and spent his life in preaching Islam in some 1850’s. It is claimed by locals that he was buried in Chakraali Village until in 20th century he appeared in the dreams of people exhorting them to move his remains from Chakraali village to Fort Sangni.
In 1831 Maharaja Ranjit Singh gifted district Muree to Gulab Singh, ruler of Kashmir and he took charge of district Muree. After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Dogra rulers also occupied town Gujar Khan and they imposed tax on the villagers, farmers and residents living there. The Dogra rulers were known for their punishments at that time.
This fort was constructed by the orders of Dogra Rulers who were the rulers of Kashmir as their frontline defense fort and to facilitate tax collection from local people living under Dogra Raj. The construction date as per historians is somewhat in 1814. It can also be seen that this fort was used for garrison to defend Dogra’s from local hill tribes who were known for their bravery and warlike tendencies.
This Fort is made of rock stones with two defense Bridges on front and is constructed in Anglo Mughal Style, which was the most popular style at that time and most of the buildings constructed in that era were carried in that style, introduced by Mughal emperors in sub-continent. Later on, in 20th Century a Shrine was added in the main building which was actually not a part of this Fort at the time of its construction.
After the freedom fight in 1857, Gujar Khan became a part of Colonial Raj and Fort Sangni was emptied by Dogra rulers. It remained unnoticed until the keepers of Shrine Abdul Hakim founded this place vacant and started operating the shrine activities until now. On every Thursday, there is a gathering of locals at shrine and Fort Sangni become alive.