Peshawar is one of the Pakistan important metropolitan cities that is located in the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province. Peshawar is one of the old and historical cities of Asia. An old portion of this city is known as the walled city of Peshawar. Many of the walls were built here and during the British Raj, some Cantonments guarded by barbed wires were added by them. All the surroundings of the walled city were suitable and good enough for the common man to live there. Bala Hisar is the most certain mark of the citadel and is the highest place of the city even today.
General Avitabile, the Sikh Governor, during the Sikh period determined its boundaries and built the mud wall in the surroundings of the city. During the British Raj almost whole of the enclosure wall was built by pucca (hardened) brick. Many gates were also constructed in the old city of Peshawar and the walled city can be divided into three areas by these gates.
The highest ground centered around Gor Khatri lies on the East of the channels with Karimpura to its north-west and to its south-west Pipalmandi lies. The old Pipal trees described by the King Babur can be seen here at Pipalmandi. Two brad streets traverse this area besides the smaller lanes and by-lanes. One street starts from Chowk Yadgar and reaches to Gor Kahri. The street splits near to Krimpura and goes to Hashtnagri and Lahori Gates.
The other area would start from Piplamandi and leads towards Ganj and Ekkatut gates. The channel’s joint flow near Chowk Yadgar separates this pre-Muslim city from Androon Shehar (inner city), the locality where Mosque Mohabbat Khan is located. An adjunct of this part is formed by the mohalla of Dhakki Nalbandi. With the shops of famous Peshawari lungies (turbans) and jewellary, this whole area is high ground.
The third area is defined between Kohati Darwaza chanel to Qissa Khwani channel that lies at Jahangirpura. This is the place where variety of felt caps are made. It is stated that is area is named after Mughal Emperor Jahangir who must have developed this area. A well in this area known as Sard Cha (well of cold water) is very famous in this area that is a Mughal era well and is still famous for its drinking water.
The main part of this area was “Namakmandi” that was famous for its grain shops and considered as grain hub of the area but today the grain shops have been transferred to the Pipalmandi. Streets from Namakmandi lead to Sar Asiya Gate, Sard Cha Gate, Saraki Gate, Bajauri GateDabgari Gate. As compared to other parts of the old city this part is on the lower level. To protect the city a wall was built around the city initially earthen but later strengthened by the bricks with sixteen gate during the Sikh regime.
The wall still exists around the city along with the gates. Some of the gates are removed and some are renovated. Names of the gates are: Kabuli Darwaza, Darwaza Anda Shehar also known as (Asamai), Kachehri Darwaza also famous as Tangsali, Reti Darwaza, Rampura Darwaza, Hashtnagri Darwaza, Lahori Darwaza, Ganj Darwaza, Darwaza Ekkatut, Kohati Darwaza, Saraki Darwaza, Sard Cha Darwaza, Sar Asiya or Tabiban Darwaza, Ramdas Darwaza, Dabgari Darwaza and Bajauri Darwaza.
Importance of these gates no longer remain these days as with the development of new sense of security in the city. Wide streets are required as with the increase in the traffic and this increased traffic demands removal of these gates as well. The old walls have been taken into new houses and many houses and shops can be seen outside the walled city that were within the walled city. The residential areas in the old city were closed quarters and shops ranged in Katras (octagonal or square) and for safety purpose, Sarais were used to be there. Even today in Peshawar, such Mohallas and Katras can be seen.
Chowk Yadgar that gives access to Katra (octagonal shaped) Abresham (shop of silk merchant) opens behind the Kachehri Darwaza. Pipalmandi opens on its one side and other side leads to Katra Bazana. Today, open bazaars are most important. Kabuli Darwaza leades to the famous Qissa Khwani Bazar of the Peshawar. After the reconstruction of Kabuli Darwaza, Sir Herbert Edwards who was the second commissioner of Peshawar renamed it as Edwards Gate.
Open bazaars were initially built by the Avitabile. This bazaar leads to the Bazar Misgaran (shops of bronze ware). Further it leads to Batera Bazar where pet shops can be found and ahead to fruit market and finally to Chowk Yadgar.
The walls around the old city still stand though the construction of some modern houses has incorporated some part of these walls. The south of the city is the best preserved part that can be approached from Dabgari Gardens. In the recent years many of the old gates were rebuilt and some bearing the date on them.
Mughal Watch Towers are still standing outside the gates. Near the watch tower an old but dried up Mughal well can be seen. Many portions of the wall are now encumbered with the modern structures.
Some of the gates were rebuilt or renovated but some gates like Hashtnagri Darwaza are the gates that do not exist anymore. Many parts of the wall of the city are no longer traceable as well.