Travel Guide to Rohtas Fort in Jhelum: Rohtas Fort in Jhelum District is one of the most historic and iconic forts in Pakistan. It is located in the province of Punjab. Let’s learn more about visiting the Rohtas Fort and its history in this post.
Travel Guide to Rohtas Fort in Jhelum
Located in Punjab, near the city of Jhelum, the historic Rohtas Fort is a fortress that was built in the 16th century by the Afghan king Sher Shah Suri during his rule after the Battle of Chaunsa in 1539. The site includes the fort and a number of other buildings, including several temples and separated residential areas. The complex is spread over 4 kilometers, over hilly terrain, with fortified walls that are 50 to 80 feet high surrounding the perimeter and 68 bastion towers warding off intruders.
Rohtas Fort was built to accommodate around 30,000 military personnel at a time, with its elevated position on the hill giving it the perfect vantage point to be forewarned of any invaders or attacks. The fort has a total of 12 gates or entrances, many of which are still standing today. This fortress found its way onto UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in Pakistan in 1997 as the fort is an exceptionally preserved example of Muslim architecture and military strategies in South Asia. A museum has also been built inside the walls of the fort for tourists.
History of Rohtas Fort
Sher Shah Suri ordered the construction of the fort to declare his rule over the local tribes of Potohar and crush any rebellions in the area when he took control of the region in the early 16th century. He laid the foundation of the Suri Empire in the subcontinent during his time as a ruler.
The fort was built in 8 years from 1541 to 1548 after it was commissioned. It was eventually captured by the Mughal Emperor Humayun in 1555. It was also used for administrative purposes after the region passed into Sikh rule in the early 19th century.
How to Get to Rohtas Fort?
You can reach Rohtas Fort by traveling along the Grand Trunk Road (G.T. Road) or National Highway 5 (N-5) and turning into Rohtas Fort Road, which will take you directly to the fort. The premises can generally be explored on foot. There is a parking area nearby to park your car during your visit.
What to See at Rohtas Fort?
Rohtas Fort in Jhelum is spread over more than 170 acres of land, and its complex is roughly triangular in shape due to its construction on hilly terrain. Here’s what to see at Rohtas Fort during your trip:
The citadel has two separate areas inside the boundary walls, namely Ander Kot and Main Fort. Ander Kot is located on the northwest side of the fort and is cut off by a dividing wall to form a residential area for the elite. This is where you can find the famed Rani Mahal and Haveli Maan Singh.
Haveli Maan Singh
Most of the haveli is in ruins but you can still see the foundations of the buildings that used to grace this part of the fort with their beauty.
Translating to Queen’s Palace, this is a single-story structure that comprised four rooms when it was built. Today, only one of these is intact. The 8 x 8 room is ornately decorated on both the inside and the outside and is about 20 feet in height, with a domed roof that is decorated with geometrical patterns and false windows. It is located close to the Haveli Maan Singh.
Thick and high walls surrounded the fortress, built in three stages, each connected to the next with the help of stairs, leading all the way up to the top of the walls. The walls are made of sandstone, bricks, and mortar. Round towers called bastions are located at intervals along the wall and were used to defend the fort against military attacks.
There are 12 entrance gates of Rohtas Fort. All of them are built using ashlar stone and defend the fortress from all sides. The gates include:
Sohail Gate – One of the entrances of the fort used for ceremonies
Shah Chandwali Gate – The gate that connects the Main Fort with the Ander Kot
Kabuli or Shahi Gate – Located near the Shahi Mosque
Shishi Gate – A beautiful gate decorated with blue glazed tiles
Langar Khana Gate – Located near the kitchens, storage areas, and water wells of the fort
Talaqi Gate – A gate that is historically associated with bad omens
Kashmiri or Mori Gate – Located in the general direction of Kashmir
Khas Khani Gate – The original entrance gate to the fort
Gatali Gate – Named after a ravine flowing from the River Jhelum
Tulla Mori Gate – Located on the eastern side of the fort
Pipalwala Gate – A comparatively smaller entrance into the citadel
Sar Gate – Named after a pond that is located opposite the gate inside the fort
The Royal or Shahi Mosque is located near the Kabuli Gate and was one of the most adorned structures on the complex. The mosque has a prayer hall and a small open courtyard with stairs that lead directly to the top of the Kabuli Gate to make it easier to escape the mosque in case of enemy attacks. The mosque has beautiful designs engraved into its outer walls and round domes in the ceiling that can only be seen from the inside of the prayer hall.
The Water Wells
Rohtas Fort is home to three step-wells or Baolis that were built by cutting into the mountain. The Central Baoli is part of the Main Fort and was used to supply water to the soldiers and livestock. The Royal Baoli was dedicated for use of the royalty and is located in the Ander Kot. It was used as a bath for the Royal family. The Sar Gate Baoli is located close to the gate and was most probably used by the soldiers on guard at the perimeter walls.
Decorative artwork reflective of 16th-century Muslim architecture can be seen on the walls inside the fort. Stone carvings, calligraphy of Arabic words on the different gates, tilework on the Shishi Gate, and arched gateways are just some of the artistic and architectural features you’ll see at the fort.
Rohtas Fort Timings
The fort is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day. You can easily hire a local guide to make your trip even more entertaining with legends and tales associated with the fortress.
Rohtas Fort Tickets
It costs PKR 20 for locals to visit the fort, while Rohtas Fort tickets for foreigners might cost PKR 500. Foreign visitors might also be required to show their passports upon entry at the gate. A guide can charge around PKR 100 per hour to take you on a tour around the fort.
Now you know all about visiting the Rohtas Fort. Kot Diji Fort in Sindh, Ramkot Fort in Azad Kashmir, Ranikot Fort in Sindh, Derawar Fort in the Cholistan Desert, and Lahore Fort, are just some of the other iconic forts that you can visit in Pakistan if you love exploring historic architecture.