Nestled amidst the rugged beauty of the Salt Range mountains in Pakistan, Tulajha Fort stands as a testament to a rich history, dramatic legends, and architectural splendor. This often-overlooked gem offers a glimpse into the past and presents an opportunity for exploration amidst breathtaking natural surroundings. In this article, we delve into the intriguing history, unique features, and the need for preservation of Tulajha Fort.
A Historic Retreat: Tulajha, a mountaintop situated near Khura in the eastern region, beckons the curious traveler with the allure of ancient ruins and a sense of mystery. The journey to reach this historical site is an adventure in itself, requiring a challenging trek through a dense forest. Legend has it that Jalal ad-Din Khwarazmshah sought refuge here while escaping the relentless forces of the Mongols. During his exile, he established a temporary city, leaving behind the remnants of what was once a thriving settlement.
The Enigmatic Tulajha Fort: Perched on a massive rock outcropping with sheer cliffs that offer commanding views of the Punjab plains, Tulajha Fort showcases a captivating blend of architecture and natural beauty. The entire area is scattered with the ruins of defensive walls, houses, and other structures constructed from large stone blocks. Although identifying specific buildings can be challenging, one structure has been recognized as a mosque. Notably, a large square tank constructed from flat rectangular bricks raises questions about its purpose – it could have supplied water to the fort during sieges, underlining its strategic significance.
Historical Significance and Dating: The historical significance of Tulajha Fort piques the interest of archaeologists and historians. The absence of coins or other artifacts makes dating the city’s construction a puzzle. Whether it belongs to the Turk Sultanate, Lodhi dynasty, or Mughal period remains a subject of investigation. Extensive remains of a cemetery and settlements are scattered on the slopes below the fort, offering tantalizing clues about the past.
Hidden Treasures: Tulajha Fort is said to conceal numerous artifacts that could shed light on the region’s history. However, these relics remain largely unexplored due to a lack of interest and investment from relevant departments. Despite being potentially invaluable for future generations, these treasures remain neglected.
Access and Conservation: Reaching Tulajha Fort involves an arduous two-kilometer trek after an eight-kilometer challenging route in the mountain range, starting about 30 kilometers from Khushab. While the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP) has installed signboards to guide visitors, the difficult terrain necessitates local guides. Efforts to improve infrastructure, including road accessibility, would make this historical site more accessible to tourists.
Preservation and Exploration: Tulajha Fort’s artifacts are at risk, not only due to a lack of interest but also because of illegal excavation attempts by locals in the absence of adequate security measures. The archaeological department’s involvement and investment in thorough exploration and preservation are essential to protect this historical treasure trove.
Conclusion: Tulajha Fort, with its rich history, intriguing legends, and breathtaking natural surroundings, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by adventurers, history enthusiasts, and nature lovers. Its unique blend of architectural ruins and natural beauty offers a glimpse into the past and holds the potential to reveal hidden historical treasures. As efforts are made to improve access and conservation measures, Tulajha Fort could become a significant cultural and historical destination, enriching the heritage of the region for generations to come.