Rohtas Fort, Jehlum

Rohtas Fort is one of the finest specimens of pre-Mughal military architecture. It is probably one of the only surviving early Muslim structure in Pakistan. Built on top of a steep cliff on the right bank of the River Kahan, Rohtas once commanded the medieval trade route of the Shahi road or Shah Rah-e-Azam (now known as Grand Trunk Road or, simply as, the GT Road). The foundation of the fort was laid in 1541 by Sher Shah Suri, who is labelled as “the most illustrious Afghan in history” by Sir Olaf Caroe. Sher Shah named Rohtas after the older hill fortress of Rohtasgarh in Bihar (now in India) that had been captured by him three years earlier. Ironically, Rohtas Fort was never used for the purpose for which it was built.

sher-shah-suri-3.jpgSher Shah Suri (1486–22 May 1545) was the founder of the Sur Empire in North India, with its capital at Delhi. An ethnic Pashtun, Sher Shah took control of the Mughal Empire in 1540. After his accidental death in 1545, his son Islam Shah became his successor. He first served as a private before rising to become a commander in the Mughal army under Babur and then the governor of Bihar. In 1537, when Babur’s son Humayun was elsewhere on an expedition, Sher Shah overran the state of Bengal and established the Sur dynasty. A brilliant strategist, Sher Shah proved himself as a gifted administrator as well as a capable general. His reorganization of the empire laid the foundations for the later Mughal emperors, notably Akbar, son of Humayun.[7]

During his five-year rule from 1540 to 1545, he set up a new civic and military administration, issued the first Rupiya and reorganised the postal system of Indo-Pak Subcontinnet. He further developed Humayun’s Dina-panah city and named it Shergarh and revived the historical city of Pataliputra, which had been in decline since the 7th century CE, as Patna. He extended the Grand Trunk Road from Chittagong in the frontiers of the province of Bengal in northeast India to Kabul in Afghanistan in the far northwest of the country.

Rani Mehal – Rohtas Fort

The Rani Mahal (Queens palace) is near Haveli Man Singh. It is a one storey structure. It originally had four rooms but only room remains standing today. The foundation of the four rooms can still be seen today.

Rani Mahal Foundation

It is not an original part of the fort and is an example of Hindu architecture and built around the same time as the Haveli Man Singh.

Rani Mahal Roof

The room still standing today is about 20 feet (6.1 m) high and beautifully decorated on the inside and outside. The roof of the dome like room is like a flower. The inside of the roof is decorated with flowers, geometrical patterns and fake windows. The room is about 8 by 8 feet

Sher Shah Suri Bulit this great fort which has a circumference of around 4 km. Its construction took as many as 8 years for completion. Meanwhile, Sher Shah Suri died on 22 May 1545 during the siege of Kalinjar Fort due to a fire erupted in result of a gunpowder explosion in his store room.

The walls of Rohtas Fort and Haveli Man Singh.jpg
The walls of Rohtas fort and Haveli Maan Singh

There are no major palaces in the Rohtas Fort except for the structure built by Raja Maan Singh called the Haveli of Maan Singh (Maan Singh Palace). Man Sing (Man Singh I) (December 21, 1550 – July 6, 1614) was the Kacchwaha King of Amber, a state later known as Jaipur. He was a trusted general of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who included him among the Navaratnas, or the 9(nava) gems(ratna) of the royal court. Maan Singh Haveli was built on the highest point of the fortress. It’s not the original part of the fortress. On the whole this fort is built in Afghan-Persian style but the balconies have Hindu architecture and same balconies can be seen in Haveli Maan Singh. So far it’s unknown that what exactly the cause of destruction of Haveli Maan Singh. Though it’s not the result of natural calamities, however archeological investigations have begun now to reveal the facts.

The fort with its distinct architectural style, massiveness and historical significance.


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