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The Rohtas Fort was built  in the 1540s with ashlar stones

The Rohtas Fort was built in the 1540s with ashlar stones

Rohtas Fort is an impressive example of Islamic military architecture and considered a precursor to Mughal architecture. It was constructed on the orders of the Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri in the 1540s, after he defeated the Mughal Emperor Humayun.

At a vantage point… Built on top of a hill, Rohtas Fort took nearly eight years to complete and measures over four kilometres in circumference. Its thick stone walls rise to heights ranging between 10 and 18 metres and are punctuated by 68 bastions at random intervals which are topped with battlements. The walls have ingenious machicolations – or openings – which once allowed soldiers to pour molten lead through them to deter enemies from climbing up.Clothing from the 16th century displayed at the Sher Shah Museum

Clothing from the 16th century displayed at the Sher Shah Museum
The Rohtas Fort was built  in the 1540s with ashlar stones

The Langar Khani Gate leads up to the main citadel

A mosque and two mansions… There are several structures inside the Fort that are worth exploring; these include the once grand Badshahi Mosque which has a prayer chamber and a small courtyard. The remains of Raja Maan Singh’s haveli and Rani Mahal (both of which were built later in the Mughal rule) can also be seen, although they are not as well- maintained as the mosque. Perhaps the highlight of the Fort is the Sher Shah Museum which houses memorabilia including Sher Shah Suri’s sword and coin collection, clothing that was worn during the time when the Fort was built and other antiques.

The fort with a dozen gates… The Fort has 12 gates, each of which differs in size and design and are architectural marvels in their own right. Two of the most important gates are Langar Khani Gate and Khwas Khani Gate which lead up to the main citadel. There are also three massive underground passageways (baolis) that lead into the fort, one of which is large enough
to allow elephants to
pass through.

In a nutshell… In order to the restore and conserve the Fort, the Rohtas Fort Conservation Programme was initiated in 1993 by the Department of Archaeology and Museums and the Hamalaya Wildlife Foundation. Four years later, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The restoration work ended in 2006, and although the Fort is no longer as grand as it once was, it is well worth a visit.

– Afreen Hussain
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First published in the Real Estate section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on January 19, 2014.Page copy Page 1 copy

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