Who Built Rohtas Fort Jhelum?
The fort was built by Raja Todar Mal on the orders of Sher Shah Suri. After defeating the Mughal emperor Humayun in 1541, Sher Shah Suri built a strong fortified complex at Rohtas, a strategic location in the north of present-day Pakistan. It was never caught in a storm and has survived intact to the present day.
The main fortification consists of massive walls that stretch for more than 4 km; they are lined with bastions and pierced by monumental gates. Rohtas Fort, also called Qila Rohtas, is an exceptional example of early Muslim military architecture in Central and South Asia.
The fort is known for its large defensive walls and several monumental gates. Rohtas Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 as “an outstanding example of Muslim military architecture in Central and South Asia”.
Rohtas Fort History
Built in the 16th century at a strategic location in northern Pakistan, in the Punjab province, Rohtas Fort Jhelum is an exceptional example of early Muslim military architecture in Central and South Asia.
The main fortification of this 70-hectare garrison consists of massive brick walls with a perimeter of more than four kilometers, lined with 68 bastions and pierced at strategic points by 12 monumental gates.
A blend of architectural and artistic traditions from elsewhere in the Islamic world, the fort had a profound influence on the development of architectural style in the Mughal Empire.
Sher Sha Suri, the founder of the Suri dynasty, began construction of the Rohtas Fort (also called Qila Rohtas) in 1541. This early example of Muslim military architecture has an irregular plan and follows the contours of the hilltop site.
An inner wall separates the inner citadel from the rest of the fort, and an internal water supply in the form of baolis (stepped wells) provided the fort’s garrison with water self-sufficiency. A beautiful mosque known as Shahi Masjid is located near the Kabuli Gate and the Haveli (Palatial House) of Man Singh was built later in the Mughal period.
Rohtas Fort Jhelum represented a new form of fortification, essentially based on Turkish military architecture developed in response to the introduction of gunpowder and cannon, but transformed into a distinctive style.
Rohtas Fort Jhelum Gates
Rohtas fort Jhelum has twelve gates, all built of ashlar.
2. Shah Chandwali
5. Langar Khani
7. Mori or Kashmiri
8. Khwas Khani
10. Tulla Mori
Rohtas Fort Jhelum Location
Rohtas fort lies eight kilometers south of the Grand Trunk (G.T.) Road. It is approximately 16 km NW of Jhelum and is close to Dina town. It is about 3 km from Khukha. The historic Shahrah-e-Azam road once ran along the outer northern wall of the fort.
Rohtas Fort Height & Area
The Rohtas fort Jhelum was built on a hill overlooking a gorge where the Kahan river joins a seasonal stream called Parnal Khas in the Tilla Jogian range. The fort is about 300 feet (91 m) above its surroundings. It is 2,660 feet (810 m) above sea level and covers an area of 70 hectares.
Qila Rohtas Architecture & Design
Rohtas Fort Jhelum combined architectural and artistic traditions from Turkey and the Indian subcontinent, creating a model for Mughal architecture and its subsequent refinements and adaptations (including European colonial architecture, which made extensive use of this tradition).
Most remarkable is the sophistication and high artistic value of its decorative elements, especially its high and low relief carvings, its calligraphic inscriptions in marble and sandstone, its plaster decoration and its glazed tiles.
The garrison complex was in continuous use until 1707 and was then reoccupied during the Durrani and Sikh rule in the 18th and 19th centuries. The village grew within the walls and there is a day.
Rohtas Fort is unique: there are no surviving examples of military architecture of this period on the same scale and with the same degree of completeness and preservation in the subcontinent.
Within the boundaries of the site are located all the elements and components necessary to express the exceptional universal value of the property, including its massive defensive walls, monumental gates, irregularly spaced semi-circular bastions and within the enclosed space of the transverse wall that defines the inner citadel, baolis (step wells), Haveli Man Singh and the Shahi Masjid.
The physical structure of most of these elements and components is in a reasonable state of preservation. However, the castle wall has collapsed in some places and the monument is in danger of being attacked, which disrupted the original drainage system of the fortress.
The main historical features of Rohtas Fort are authentic in form, setting and materials. The limited restoration that has been carried out has been minimal and discreet, without the use of inappropriate modern materials. The castle wall is nevertheless prone to flooding with rainwater and clogging the original drainage system.
Rohtas Fort is a protected antiquities within the meaning of the Antiquities Act 1975 passed by the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Constitution (18th Amendment) Act, 2010 (Act No. X of 2010) gave the Government of Punjab full administrative and financial authority over all monuments located in its province.
The Directorate General of Archeology and Museums, Government of Punjab is responsible for the management and protection of Rohtas Fort. The land inside the fortifications, occupied by the modern village, is also owned by the government and managed by the General Directorate of Archeology and Museums.
There is strict control over any form of construction or redevelopment in and around the village (there is an inner buffer zone around the village). The buffer zone around the perimeter wall of the fort is between 750m and 1500m wide and provides excellent protection for the environment and the integrity of the monument.
The Rohtas Fort Conservation Program was initiated by the Department of Archeology and Museums and the Himalayan Wildlife Foundation in 2000 to help protect the fort and develop it as a heritage site that meets international conservation and tourism standards.
A steering committee formed in 2003 oversees conservation and development work.
Conservation & Protection of Rohtas Fort
Maintaining the exceptional universal value of the property over time will require measures to improve the management, protection and presentation of the property, particularly in terms of the fort’s drainage system and interventions.
Completion, approval and full implementation of the master conservation plan prepared under the Rohtas Fort Conservation Program and introduction of a regular monitoring regime, among others, would meet international conservation standards.