Forts of Pakistan

by on November 25, 2009
in Exploring Amazing Pakistan

Qila_sheikhupura-Pakistan

Pakistan has a large number of historical forts. Built mainly to protect cities, they are also representing the architecture of their respective eras. Although time has diminished their grandeur, they still stand to tell the tale of their past glory. Some forts worth visiting are:

1. The Red Fort

Originally named Shahi Qila, (Shahi means Royal and Qila means fort) it was nick named Lal (Red) Qila because of the red bricks used in its construction. It was built during the reign of the Moghul emperor Akbar it is an outstanding example of Moghul architecture. Moti Masjid, Sheesh Mahal and other impressive buildings are housed in the Red fort.

2. Rohtas Fort

Rohtas Fort lies 16km North West of the city of Jhelum on a tiny hillock 300 ft high. It was built by the Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri as a garrison fort. Sher Shah Suri had captured the throne after ousting the Moghul emperor Humayun and to stop him from re entering India, this fort was built. The architecture is a unique blend of Afghan and Indian style of construction.

3. Qila Sheikhupura

Qila Sheikhupura lies in the city of Sheikhpura some 35 km from Lahore. It was built during the reign of Emperor Jehangir in 1607.

4. Qila Sialkot

It is the oldest fort in Pakistan. It was built by Raja Salban in the 2nd century.C.E to defend the city from invasions.

5. Baltit Fort

It is situated in the scenic Hunza Valley, upper north of Pakistan. It was built 700 years ago and was the residence of the rulers who later abandoned it. It stands on a high rock on stilted legs. It is under the Aga Khan T rust for Culture Historic Cities Support Programme. Now turned into a museum, it is run by the Baltit Heritage Trust.

6. Rani Kot Fort

With a circumference of 24 km, it is the world’s largest fort. Rani Kot fort is located in the Kirthar range around 90 km from Karachi. A mystery regarding its origins shrouds the fort. No one knows who constructed it and why. The biggest enigma is its barren location.

7. Bala Hisar Fort

It is situated in the city of Peshawar. Constructed on a mound, it was named Bala Hisar (High Fort) by the Afghan ruler Taimoor Shah Durrani. It was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times. Bala Hisar has been serving as the Head Quarter of the Frontier Corps since 1949.

8 Historical Sites of Sindh

by on October 31, 2009
in Exploring Amazing Pakistan

Kot Deji Fort -Sindh

Pakistan is a land of diversity. It has a lot to offer to its tourists. If its northern areas are a mountaineer’s paradise then its province Sindh is every historian’s dream. Apart from the world famous remains of Moen Jo Daro, Makli Hills Tombs and Chaukhandi Tombs, some other historical sites worth visiting are:

Rani Kot Fort

The Rani kot Fort is the oldest fort in the world. The mystery surrounding its origins has made it all the more intriguing. The total area of the fort is 29 km and from a distance its long walls look like the Great Wall of China. The fort has 4 gates and it is accessible from the Sunn gate which is always open. There are three fortresses with in the premises of Rani kot fort. River Mohan passes through the fort which accounts for the green vegetation inside the fort. Situated 90 km from Hyderabad, in the district Dadu, it is accessible via jeep and camels.

Kot Deji Fort

 

Sindh has some of the oldest historical sites in the world; Kot Deji Fort (1785-1795) is one of such places. It is located in Khairpur Pakistan. Dating back 3000 years it was constructed during the reign of Mir Sohrab Khan Talpur. Formally known as the Ahmadabad Fort, it was originally built for military purpose. It is located on a 110 feet high limestone hill at the edge of the desert. With its location and style of construction it was considered invincible, however it was never attacked. During the times of peace, it was used as a residence by the Ameers of Khairpur. Within the formidable walls lie huge residential quarters, marble courtyards and long corridors with arched entrances.

Old Mud Fort (Pucca Qila)

In 1768, Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhora the founder of Hyderabad city Sindh constructed the Pucca Qila (Mud Fort) when he made Hyderabad the capital of Sindh.

Sadly this monument has been defaced by time and human cruelty. A major portion of it was first destroyed by the British and later by encroachers. Only a single room of this magnificent fort remains today the seraglio (Harem) of the Kalhora Rulers. The beautiful frescos adorning the room and the stone carvings at the main entrance of the Fort give a glimpse of its past splendor.

The Talpur Monuments

The tombs of the Talpur Rulers are situated in Hyderabad city. They are a fine piece of architecture with the blue glazed tiles and floral paintings adding to their beauty. These tombs are well maintained and visited by the tourists.

The Kalhora Monuments

These are the tombs of the Kalhora Rulers situated in the heart of the Hyderabad city. These tombs are well preserved and frequented by the tourists for their beautiful architecture and the floral paintings decorating the walls.

Faiz Mahal, Khairpur

Faiz Mahal is also situated in Khairpur. It was built by the Talpurs in 1798. This splendid palace is surrounded by vast gardens. Faiz Mahal is well maintained and has retained most of its grandeur.

Mir Shahdad Jo Qubo

In Shahdadpur city district Sanghar Sindh lies the historic monument of Mir Shahdad Jo Qubo. It is actually the tomb of Mir Shahdad Talpur one of the finest military commanders of Sindh. It is also the final resting place of many other members of the Talpur Family with Mir Shahdad Talpur and Mir Chakar Khan Talpur being the prominent personalities.

Amri

The mound of Amri was discovered by French archeologists in the 60s and is dated to be 4000 years old, older then Moen Jo Daro and Harappa.

It is situated on the west bank of River Indus south of Dadu, Sindh province of Pakistan. This historical site comprises of 160 settlements on 8 hectares some of which lie in Baluchistan. The pottery found from this place is one of its kinds and is called Amri Ware. No evidence of writings was found here. The excavations show signs of a huge fire which probably destroyed the town.

Provinces of Pakistan – Sindh

by on October 7, 2009
in Provinces

Pakistani province Sindh's map

Sindh is an important province of Pakistan. Its significance can be judged from the fact that Sindh is known as Bab ul Islam (Gateway of Islam) as the Arab conqueror Mohammad Bin Qasim entered the Sub Continent through the shores of Sindh. Although devoid of any classically beautiful physical features, Sindh has its own charm. The upper Sindh has rich fertile soil and is covered with green fields. It is rich in mineral resources and deposits of coal, natural gas and crude oil are found here.

Some part of the great Thar Desert lies in the eastern Sindh. Thar has a beauty of its own. There are many lakes in Sindh with Manchar Lake, Karli Lake, Haleji Lake and Keenjhar Lake being most important. Manchar Lake has the distinction of being the largest fresh water lake in the Pakistan while Haleji Lake is the largest water fowl sanctuary of Asia.

Sindh can also boast of a rich history. The ruins of Moen Jo Daro dating back to 2600 BC and one of the earliest settlements are found here. Other historical buildings include the Pucca Qila, Rani Kot fort, Graveyards of Makli and Chaukhandi and the Shah Jehan Mosque.

Sindh is also famous for its handicrafts. The most famous being the Ralli (also called Rilli) quilts. Ralli is a hand made specimen of human intelligence, creativity and hard work. Multi coloured pieces of cloths are stitched together in different patterns to produce a ralli. It is an essential part of a girl’s dowry and she starts weaving it from an early age assisted by her mother. Ralli is much more than a quilt/ bed linen, it is a young girl’s dreams and hopes and her mother’s prayers for a happy future.

Ajrak a block printed cotton shawl is the trademark of Sindh. It is made from vegetable dyes with maroon as the predominant color. Ajrak is held in high esteem all over Sindh. Usually guests are presented with ajraks to show respect.

Skull caps, jackets, cushion covers, tunics, table mats all embroidered with delicate mirror work are also made in Sindh. Ethnic silver jewelry is another item very much in demand.

Sindhi people are intelligent, sensitive and liberal minded. Sindh has given many seasoned politicians to Pakistan.