Nandana Fort, also known as Nandna Fort, is a historical fort located in the Jhelum district of Punjab, Pakistan. It was built during the 8th century AD by the Hindu Shahi dynasty. The fort is strategically positioned on a hilly range in the Salt Mountains, serving as a defensive structure to block the road connecting India with Afghanistan and Central Asia.
The fort’s location in the picturesque Jhelum district, surrounded by beautiful mountains, adds to its allure. Nandana Fort offers a glimpse into the rich history and architectural grandeur of the region. Exploring its ruins and the nearby town provides visitors with a sense of stepping back in time.
The fort’s construction was attributed to King Inder Pal, a wealthy Hindu ruler who completed its construction within three years. It stands at an altitude of 15,000 feet and bears architectural similarities to the Katas Raj Temple. The site also includes a shrine built by the Hindu Shahi King Jayapal.
The fort was ruled by the Hindu Shahi kings until the early 11th century when Mahmud of Ghazni expelled them from the area. Notably, the fort housed the laboratory of the renowned Muslim Persian scientist Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, who conducted measurements of the Earth’s circumference at this location. Due to this historical significance, the fort is also referred to as the Al Beruni Centre.
Nandana Fort is not only a significant ancient heritage site but also holds scientific importance due to its association with Al-Biruni’s measurements of the Earth. With proper attention and restoration efforts, it has the potential to become a popular tourist attraction in Pakistan.
Moreover, the historical significance of Nandana Fort goes beyond its architectural beauty and strategic location. The fort holds immense scientific importance due to the presence of Abu Rayhan al-Biruni’s laboratory. Al-Biruni, a renowned Muslim Persian scientist, conducted groundbreaking measurements of the Earth’s circumference at this very site.
Al-Biruni’s studies and observations in Nandana Fort contributed significantly to the fields of mathematics, astronomy, history, and geography. His works, including his famous book titled “Indica,” explored the religious beliefs, history, and geographic aspects of the Indian subcontinent. The fort’s association with Al-Biruni further adds to its allure and attracts scholars and researchers interested in delving into the scientific advancements made during that era.
The restoration efforts undertaken by the government and the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP) aim not only to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of Nandana Fort but also to promote scientific exploration and education. By highlighting the scientific achievements that took place within the fort’s walls, the site has the potential to inspire a new generation of scientists and researchers.
Visiting Nandana Fort is like embarking on a journey through time. As you explore the ruins, you can imagine the lives of the people who once inhabited the fort and the bustling town that surrounded it. The remnants of the Shiva temple, constructed by Anandapala, the son of Jayapala, stand as a testament to the rich religious and cultural diversity that thrived in the region.
The breathtaking natural beauty of the Salt Range and the surrounding mountains further enhance the experience of visiting Nandana Fort. The panoramic views from the hilltop fortress offer a stunning panorama of the landscape, providing a sense of awe and wonder.
Throughout history, the fort served as a study center and attracted the attention of Mughal emperors Jalaluddin Akbar and Jahangir, who used it as a hunting ground. Despite its dilapidated condition, the fort still retains its original might and magnificence.
To reach Nandana Fort, you can travel via the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway/AH1/M-2, which takes approximately 3 hours and 25 minutes from Lahore. It is recommended to visit the fort between October and April, avoiding the sweltering heat of May, June, and July.
Furthermore, the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP) has taken steps to improve the accessibility of Nandana Fort. They have paved all routes from GT Road to the fort, making it easier for tourists to reach this thousand-year-old historical site.
By rehabilitating the site and promoting it as an international tourist destination, the government aims to attract visitors from around the world to experience the beauty and historical richness of Nandana Fort.
Nandana Fort, with its historical significance, scientific importance, and captivating beauty, holds immense potential as a tourist destination. The restoration efforts, combined with the government’s commitment to promoting the site, make it an exciting prospect for both domestic and international visitors. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a curious traveler, Nandana Fort promises a truly unique and enriching experience that will transport you back in time and leave a lasting impression.