WHS -----------Rohtas Fort

Rohtas Fort    

(UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Rohtas Fort is a historical garrison fort located near the city of Jhelum in Punjab, Pakistan. It was built by Sher Shah Suri, to subdue the rebellious tribes of the northern Punjab region, in 16th century. This fort is about 4 km in circumference. The Rohtas fort was built to crush the local tribes of Potohar, who rebelled against the Sur dynasty after the Mughal emperor Humayun was ousted by the former. The tribes included, Awans, Janjua Rajputs, Dhund Abbasi, Kayanis, Minhas Rajputs, Khokhars among others.
  

Rohtas Fort,punjab Pakistan


 It took 8 years to built the Rohtas fort but the Rohtas fort was recaptured by local tribes and it became the capital of Gakhars. Ironically the very people it was designed to crush were actually became the sole owners of Rohtas fort and Afghans were not only defeated but they were forced to flee after accepting heavy defeat. As a consequence Afghans not only lost to local tribes of Northern Punjab but many people from Northern Punjab later inhabited Southern parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who still live there especially in Hazara Division and are known as Hindkowans. As a consequence Afghans lost Attock and neighboring regions to Potohari tribes as well. 
Rohtas Fort Magnificent Kabuli Gate


The fort was captured by Mughal emperor Humayun in 1555. Nadir Shah, the Turkic ruler of Persia, Afghan ruler Ahmed Shah Abdali and Maratha army also camped here during their respective campaigns in the Punjab. Rohtas was also occasionally used for administrative purposes by the Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh after he captured it in 1825.


Reasons of construction

Sher Shah constructed Rohtas Fort to block Emperor Humayun's return to India after defeating him in the Battle of Kanauj. This fort lies on the old GT road between the North (Afghanistan and western Pakistan today) to the Plains of Punjab. The reason of its construction was to suppress the local tribes of this region Potohar. Sher Shah Suri was well aware of the bravery of Potohari people since they had the history for defending their lands for thousands of years and the old king of Northern Punjab known as King Porus challenged Alexander the Great and fought so hard that Alexander decided to leave him as a King of Peruvia that was later known as Northern Punjab or Potohar. Gakhars were not local tribe of Potohar region. 


   Rohtas_Fort_Gate


They helped Humayoun to escape from India after his defeat in the battle of Kanauj, and as a reward Humayoun helped Gakhars in occupying Potohar region, which was originally own by local tribes such as Khokhars, Janjua Rajputs, Minhas Rajputs and some other clans. These local tribes were allies of Mughal Emperor Babur but they refused their allegiance to Humayoun as he helped Gakhars in occupying their lands instead they allied with Sher Shah Suri. The local tribes of Potohar were already fighting with Gakhars. Sher Shah instructed the local tribes to help construct the fort to crush the Gakhars when the latter became openly defiant and persecuting labourers who attended the construction.The Fort was built by Todar Mal under orders of Sher Shah.

 

Usage


Sher Shah Suri died before the completion of this magnificent structure. Ten years after Sher Shah’s death and the end of the Suri dynasty, Emperor Humayun returned to rule India for another 15 years.

When Humayun returned the Governor of Rohtas, Tatar Khan Kasi fled. Ironically, Rohtas then became the capital of the Gakhars, the very people it was designed to crush.                                                                                                                                                                              
                                     
  Broken Boundries of Rohtas Fort    


                                           
This fort was never popular with the Mughals because of its military character. Emperor Akbar stayed here for a single night. Emperor Jahangir rested here for a single night while going to Kashmir for a rest.

This fort was founded in a cleft and the strength of it cannot be imagined Emperor Jahangir again stayed here when he was being forced to go to Kabul by Mahabat Khan. Nur Jahan, his beautiful and resourceful wife obtained troops from Lahore and ordered Mahabat Khan to release her husband. Emperor Jahangir then proceeded to Rohtas and held his court here for a while. Then he went onto Kashmir and back to Lahore to die.

The later Mughals seem to have made no use of the fort. The reason is that they were allies of the Gakhars and consequently needed no troops to maintain their hold over this area.

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