Rohtas Fort - قلعہ روہتاس
After a stop for Gujranwala Kulfi, the best Kulfi in the land and an escape from the beating sun of a Punjab Summer, take the slight detour off the GT road into Rohtas Fort just west of Jhelum. Timing the visit for sunset(or sunrise) is highly recommended... Seemingly in the middle of nowhere this significant military construction is an amazing example of Afghan-Persian, Hindu, and Islamic architecture.
My first visit to Rohtas was with two awesome travellers from Portugal, one of which was battling a rotten stomach bug, as often happens on travels in this part of the world. We decided to take a private car from Islamabad to Lahore so we could stop at Rohtas Fort. My traveller friend bravely faced the heat and only slightly doubled over with cramps managed to witness one of the most spectacular sunsets over the fortifications that I am very grateful to have experienced... grateful to the sunset not the doubled over stomach pains. That bit wasn't fun for Joanna at all.
There is an eerie silence here and chances of having the place to yourself are high. It is a vast area with the fortifications still beautifully intact. I sincerely hope the area can see some preservation work to retain this amazing structure. Allow around at least an hour to wander through the main areas open to public, longer if you have time to sit and simply soak up the atmosphere overlooking the Tilla Jogian mountains and vast plains. It is a truly beautiful spot.
Below is my abridged version of what is on the information sign at the entry to the fort complex, a little of the history behind the fort and its construction...
- Rohtas Fort, one of the largest forts in South Asia, is a majestic and unique specimen of pure military architecture in the whole subcontinent. Sher Shah Suri whose original name was Farid Khan ordered it to be built in 948 A.H/1541 A.D. It was contstructed in just 7 years. It's purpose was to keep guard on the possible return invasion of Mughal emperor Humayun who had fled to Iran, The Kashmirians and turbulent Ghakharhs, the old friends of the Mughals.
The forts circumference is 4 kilometres and the inner courts roughly 175 acres, making it a gigantic and imposing miltary construction. The fort follows the natural ridges of he hill line with 3 tiers and walls of up to 40 feet high. There are fourteen separate gates and 2377 battlements.
Within the fort there are two main sections, first within the upper wall used by the royal chieftains and elites called Anderkot. The lower area or main fort, was used by the common people, labourers and soldiers.
Anderkot has two main residential buildings - Haveli Man Sing and Rani Palace. The pure Muslim architecture showcasing the style of the Suri period is the Mosque. The fort also has 3 enormous wells that provided water for self sufficiency within the fort. The Fort is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Karakoram Bikers offers two options to visit Rohtas Fort. We run a day trip from Lahore return, as well as a stop on the transfer from Lahore to Islamabad. Have a look at our tour page listing.