Sunday, February 5, 2023

Rohtas Fort: Interesting Facts & History of the Qila Built By Sher Shah

Here are some interesting facts and history of Rohtas fort (Qila Rohtas) built by Sher Shah Suri! 

Rohtas Fort is a strategic garrison located near the modern city of Jhelum in northeast Pakistan.

With its four-kilometer-long circle and distinctive architectural style, it was once South Asia’s largest military base. And even today, the fort hasn’t lost its significance. 

Here are interesting facts about Rohtas fort history and significance.

Rohtas Fort was built by Sher Shah Suri to block Humayun.

Rohtas Fort was built by Afghan monarch Sher Shah Suri along the ‘old road’ that connects the north and the Punjab plains in order to prevent the ousted Mughal Emperor Humayan from returning to his former empire. 

Sher Shah Suri had beaten Humayan at Chausa, after which he escaped to Iran. However, Suri was afraid that if he returned to Punjab, Humayan’s restoration may be possible. 

Sher Shah Suri’s second priority was to punish and defeat the Gakkhar tribes, who controlled the valley and had been Mughal allies in the past.

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Where did the name Rohtas Fort/ Qila Rohtas come from?

The name of the fort comes from Sher Shah Suri’s conquest of a Hindu prince’s stronghold at Rotasgarh in Shahabad district in 1539. Work on the fort began in 1541 under the direction of Todar Mal Khatri, his revenue minister.

From 1541 until 1548, the fort was under construction for almost seven years.

The tall and solid walls of Rohtas, which are recognized for their distinctive foundation structure, are reminiscent of Turks’ art and culture, as well as Mughal and Afghan characteristics.

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One of the most interesting facts about Rohtas Fort is that it was never utilized for the reason for which it was constructed. 

Sher Shah’s reign lasted for six years, as he died in 1545. His death caused his empire to crumble rapidly, and only ten years later, a victorious Humayun ascended to the throne. 

Tatar Khan Khasi, the governor of Rohtas at the time, withdrew without a fight.

In the years after Humayun’s son Akbar erected his magnificent fort in Attock in the 1580s, Rohtas lost its prominence as a frontier garrison.

Photo By: Dani Saleem

According to history, Qila Rohtas was one of the most often utilized military posts from the 16th century to the period of the Durranis and Sikhs in the nineteenth century.

However, the unlawful encroachments have harmed not only the site but also the entire image of the Fort.

Rohtas fort history during the reign of Mughals

Qila Rohtas was mainly left unchecked throughout the Mughals’ reign.

However, Akbar and his son Jehangir, Mughal emperors, are believed to have stopped in Rohtas on their way to Kashmir.

During their operations in the Punjab, Persian invader Nadir Shah and Afghan monarch Ahmed Shah, Abdali both camped here. 

Rohtas was also employed for administrative purposes by Sikh king Ranjit Singh.

And throughout the British period, although its historical significance and preservation received little attention.

Significance of Qila Rohtas Today

The tomb of Mehar un Nisa contributes to the magnificence of the area. Because of its historical significance, the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Rohtas as a world heritage site in 1997. 

Photo By: Shutterstock

The fort is also a protected national monument.

Only a few of the original structures in the inner citadel have survived to this day. Haveli Man Singh is arguably the most mysterious of these structures.

This domed tower is the sole remaining specimen of Hindu architecture within the fort and is named after one of Akbar’s best generals.


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