Travel Guide to the Historic Attock Fort: There is no shortage of ancient landmarks in Pakistan. From the sprawling Derawar Fort in the Cholistan Desert near Bahawalpur to the iconic Rohtas Fort near Jhelum, the history of this region spans over several centuries and occupies a notable position in the travel logs of prominent historians from all around the world. The stunning Attock Fort located near the city of Attock, Punjab, is one of such historical locations in the country that is not only known for its strategic location but also for its architecture and impeccable design.
Travel Guide to the Historic Attock Fort
Overlooking the picturesque Indus River, the magnificent Attock Fort was built in a small town called Attock Khurd between 1581 and 1583 during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. The parameter wall of the timeworn site is about 1,600 m long. The fort boasts four majestic gates, namely Lahori Gate, Kabuli Gate, Delhi Gate, and Mori Gate.
Until recently, tourists weren’t allowed to explore the 16th-century fort as it was being utilized as a military base due to its tactical position. However, as reported by major media outlets, Attock Fort will soon be opened for the public, which means it’s all set to become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Pakistan.
So, whether you have an avid interest in history, admire the Mughal style of architecture, or simply enjoy exploring new places, you must make sure to include visiting Attock Fort in your next travel itinerary.
To help you learn more about one of the most prominent forts in Pakistan, we have put together an in-depth guide that you will certainly find helpful.
HISTORY OF ATTOCK FORT
Mughal King Akbar may have been the one who built Attock Fort in its present form, but records show that there has been some sort of military outpost or fortress located at the crossing point of Indus River between Punjab and what was once the Afghan-Pashtun frontier predating the invasion of Alexander the Great. Attock Fort has also been mentioned in the travel chronicles of Chinese historian Hwen Tsang (631 AD) as well as in the adventures of Ibn-Ibn-e-Battuta (1350 AD).
However, Akbar is credited for constructing Attock Fort in its current form in two years ’ time under the supervision of Khwaja Shamshuddin Khawafi, a minister during the emperor’s reign. The main purpose of the fort was to protect the passage and keep invaders from entering the region. Owing to its status as a gateway for forces on either side of the Indus River, Attock Fort served as a prominent garrison throughout the peak of the Mughal Empire. In the 18th century, Persian ruler Nader Shah ended the dominance of Mughals in the northern region after his forces crossed through Attock in 1738.
In 1758, Attock Fort was captured by the Marathas, though Ahmed Shah Durrani was able to take back the fortress in 1761 on the way to the Third Battle of Panipat. The formidable landmark served as an important military stronghold for the Afghans until late 1812. In 1813, following the Battle of Attock, the fort fell in the hands of the Sikh Empire.
According to historians, the British forces took control of Attock Fort along with the small city of Attock Khurd after defeating the Sikh Empire in 1849. After the War of Independence in 1857, the British Empire established Attock Fort as its main military stronghold in the Campbellpur Cantonment. It remained that way until the division of the sub-continent and the creation of Pakistan in 1947. After the independence, the Pakistan Army acknowledged the tactical importance of the fort and made it the headquarters of the 7th division. Later. In 1956, Attock Fort was given to the Special Services Group (SSG) of the army.
Now that we have discussed the history of Attock Fort, let’s talk about the route to one of the most historical places to visit in Pakistan.
LOCATION OF ATTOCK FORT
Attock Fort is located at a distance of approximately 80 kilometers from the capital city of Islamabad at the confluence of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
If you are traveling from Islamabad to Peshawar, you are bound to see this magnificent fort just a few kilometers away from Attock on the right bank of the mighty River Indus next to the Peshawar Road.
In 1880, a beautiful Victorian-style railway station was constructed merely two kilometers away from the Attock Fort. Three years later, the British forces built an iron bridge across the Indus River to lay down a railway track all the way to Afghanistan.
ATTOCK FORT – AN UPCOMING TOURIST DESTINATION IN PAKISTAN
In a bid to boost tourism in the northern areas of Pakistan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Tourism and Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfikar Bukhari recently visited the Mughal-era fort along with personnel from the World Bank, the archaeology and tourism departments, and the local government. He also announced the awe-inspiring monument will be opened for tourists for the very first time in its history.
The government will also provide boarding and lodging facilities at the site to make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pakistan.
It is also worth mentioning that the Attock Fort will be turned into a tourist spot under the multi-million Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth project. As per the reports published in the leading English daily, the infrastructure of six tourist destinations in Pakistan will be improved to draw domestic and international travelers alike.
This brings us to the end of our guide on one of the most historic forts in Pakistan. If you are interested in learning about more historical landmarks across the country, here are a few guides that you might find interesting: