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Rohtas Fort

Rohtas Fort

Rohtas fort was built basically for military purposes in 1541-43. Sher Shah Suri built a strong equipped complex at the North West of city Jehlum (now the part of Pakistan), after the defeat of Mughal Emperor Humayun. The fort was built to control the aggressive local people, the GHAKKARS, and as a safety measure against the return of Humayun.

But it did not take place until 10 years after the death of Sher Shah, when it was surrendered by its governor Tatar Khan Kasi without any resistance. Its name derived from ROHTASGARH, the site of Sher Shah’s victory in 1539 over a Hindu power.

Although built purely for military purposes it is a fine example illustrating, how a feature built for strength and solidity could also be made graceful?The fort is about 4 kilometers in circumference. It has 12 gates: Sohail Gate (named from the name of a saint Sohail Bukhari buried in the South West of the Gate), Shah Chandwali Gate (named after a saint Shah Chandwali who refused to get the wages for his work on gate and died during his work and buried near the Gate), Kabuli Gate (named from Kabul as it faces Kabul, Afghanistan), Shishi Gate (named after the beautiful transparent blue tiles used to decorate the gate), Langar Khani Gate (L shaped gate named due to its opening in kitchen and store), Talaqi Gate (named after the fatal attack of Prince Shabir Suri in the gate and considered as bad omen), Mori Gate (also called Kashmiri gate as it faces Kashmir), Khawas Khani Gate (the original entrance to the fort and named after the greatest General of Shah Suri named Khawas Khan), Gattali Gate (named as it faces a village Gattali), Tulla Mori Gate (named as it is only a small entrance and opens up in a gate), Pipal wala Gate, Sar Gate (named due to the presence of a BAOLI after the gate; Sar means water).

After the 12 gates the most important parts of the building are Shahi Mosque (most decorated part near the Kabuli Gate built for the prayer of soldiers and having stairs from inside to always ready for attack), The Main BAOLI (having 148 steps and was used for taking bath and drinking water by soldiers’ horses and elephants), The SHAHI BAOLI (having 60 steps and was used by royal families to take bath), The SAR Gate BAOLI (a small baoli which was used only by soldiers), Rani Mahal (sometimes not considered as a part of the fort; present near Haveli MAAN Singh and was a queen palace).

Rohtas fort, legacy of Pakistan, is an exceptional example of the military architecture which has a mixture of Turkey and Indian sub continent artistic tradition. The fort is also inscribed in World Heritage List by UNESCO.


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