Historical Rawat Fort needs preservation

Faisal Kamal Pasha’s report

Rawalpindi: Being a trade route and a way towards their final destination of the conquerors from Central Asia that was the throne of Dehli, Pothohar region bears its historical and strategic importance and that is why the conquerors built forts here in this region to consolidate their positions.

The information displayed at Rawat Fort’s by archaeology department reveals that it was built in early 15th century by Salteen-e-Dehli. However there are some contradictions about the historical background of this fort.

According to some historians, the fort was built by Sultan Masood, son of Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi in 1036 AD while some other books of history reveal that Sarang Khan, the leader of Gakhar tribes in Pothohar, built the fort.

The fort is in dilapidated condition that needs attention of the archaeology department for its preservation. In clear violation of the law that is written at the warning tablet fixed at the entrance of this fort by archaeology department reads, “The fort is a historical monument and according to the law historical monuments like this can not be damaged are altered from their original form of construction” the locals of this area have altered a building supposedly a mosque according to them inside the fort from its original architecture.

Muhammad Jamil, the administrator (Muhtamam) of this mosque, while told that the mosque was a part of this fort when it was built in ancient times and later it was deserted and the local people use to keep their cattle here. It was a Jungle and there were a number of snakes and other insects around this place until Syed Saeed Shah, a saint, dreamed that the mosque be rejuvenated once again with the prayers and recitation from the Holy Quran.

To a question Muhammad Jamil said that actually the mosque was in worst condition and there were snakes all around. Fearing that we took some measures after consulting the archaeology department and the officials of the department never objected over it, he added.

The Rawat Fort remained in the use of different conquerors. According to some of the historical evidences the fort was in use of Sultan Masood, son of Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi, whose rebel soldiers captivated him inside this fort and later they took him to the Gatri Fort near Taxila where they assassinated him. For a long time the fort remained under the possession of Sarang Khan, the tribal leader of Ghakhar tribes. Ghakhars were famous for their chivalry and warrior attitude. Sultan Sarang died along with his sixteen sons while fighting a war with Sher Shah Soori in 1546 AD.

The grave of Sarang Khan is also inside this fort. The building contains some of the old graves and a hexagonal tomb in it and if someone dares to climb through this tomb one may get a panoramic view of the plateau and the Mankiala Stupa.

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