Rohtas Fort

Rohtas Fort is 109 km from Rawalpindi/Islamabad. You have to travel on G.T. Road towards Lahore for 100 km to Dina. The road to Rohtas forks off G.T. Road one kilometer past Dina. The Fort is 8 km away to the right from this turn. It is one of the most impressive historical monuments in Pakistan. It was built on the orders of Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri (1539-45 AD) to serve as a huge fortified base for military operations against Gakkhars. The fort is the symbol of strength and determination of its builder Sher Shah Suri who ruled over South Asia only for six years, 1540-45 A.D., but even during that short period he created many splendours including Rohtas fort and the Great Grand Trunk Road, connecting Kabul with Calcutta. The Fort was later used by Mughal emperor Akbar and the Sikhs.

Olaf Caroe described his initial impression of this fort in the following words; "There it stands, sprawling across a low rocky hill a few miles north of Jhelum. Its great ramparts growing from the cliff like the wall of China, looking north a sandy streambed to the low hills of the salt range and beyond them, to the snows of Pir Panjal. The circumference is large enough easily to hold a couple of Divisions of troops. As you approach the fort, the crenellations look like ominous rows of helmeted warriors watching you with disapproval. It is an awe-inspiring sight".

The plan of the fort is adapted to suit the terrain and it is defended by a number of deep ravines as well as the river Ghaan, which breaks through the low eastern spur of the Tilla range. Within its huge terraced rampart walls (4 km in circumference) with 68 robust bastions and twelve gates, is located another fortress, palaces and ancillary building.  Besides providing strength to the wall, these bastions give a touch of elegance and grandeur to the fort. The wall, usually composed of two or three terraces, varies in thickness at different points, the maximum being 36 feet near the Mon Gate. The terraces are interlinked with each other by way of stair-line and the top most terrace is the line of the merion shaped. The height of the fortification wall ranges from 30 to 40 feet and a considerable number of galleries have been provided in the thickness of the wall for the soldiers and for use as storage space. The wall is built in sand stone coarse rubble masonry laid in lime mortar mixed with granular brick grit.

Although built for purely military purposes, yet a few of its twelve gates were exceptionally fine examples of the architecture of that period. The Sohal Gate, guarding the south west wall, is in fair condition even today and it is being used as a rest house. This gate is an example illustrating that how a feature built for strength could also be made architecturally graceful. As it is more than eighty feet in height so it provides a grand entrance to the magnificent fort complex. Every part of its structure has been carried out in broad and simple manner, each line and plane has a sober and massive elegance, while the whole is aesthetically competent. Within the fort a small town has developed and several thousand people live here.