The magnificent Attock Fort overlooks the hills of the Pothohar Plateau and the Indus River. The fort of Attock is located in Attock, Pakistan. The ancient name of Attock was ‘Attock Khurd,’ which means ‘the Little Foot of the Mountain.’ Attock was known for the confluence of the Indus and Kabul rivers. The rulers built the Attock Fort at strategic points to protect the territory from the attacks of invasions.
Attock District has historical significance because it remains the passage to India. Many people, such as Alexander the Great, Ibn-e-Battuta, and Mughal Emperor Babar, have crossed through this city, Attock, and entered India. Due to its historic fort, Attock remained the main objective of the conflict. Due to its fortification, many great powers of the Subcontinent have fought over Attock. This fort saw the fall of the eighteenth century’s Mughal Empire and the rise of Sikhs in Punjab.
History of Attock Fort
Mughal Emperor Akbar, the grandson of Babar 1581, recognized the importance of this Attock and ordered him to build the magnificent Attock Fort. Construction on the fort began as quickly as possible and took over two years to finish in 1583. Khawaja Shamsuddin Khawafi supervised the Attock Fort construction. The main objective of building this Attock Qila was to guard the area against outside invasions and attacks. Along the Indus River’s banks, on a hill, was made the fortress of Attock. It also protects the Indus River passage. Raghunath Rao, Sabaji Shinde, Sidhojiraje, Gharge Desai Shinde (Deshmukh), and the Marathas empire captured the Attock Fort on 28 April 1758.
It became the northern boundary of the Martha empire. After the Third Battle of Panipat, Ahmad Shah Durrani retook Attock fort, ending the Maratha empire. The Attock Qila remained a prominent feature during the Afghan-Sikh Wars in Attock. In 1812, Sikhs captured the fort of Attock, and then later, British rule took over the fort. After the India-Pakistan Partition, this fort of Attock came under the control of the Pakistan army. The Pakistan army uses this fort as the headquarters of the 7th division. The particular service group (SSG), a special operations force of the Pakistan Army, took control of the fort in 1956. The Attock Qila remains under Special Services Group (SSG) custody.
The Architecture of Attock Fort
The Attock fort was built almost two years, from 1581 to 1583. It is one of the finest pieces of architecture.
According to its dimensions, it is 800 yards by 400 yards. The fort’s walls are a significant example of the finest architectural beauty. According to circumference, the fort’s walls are more than a mile long. The parameter of the wall is 1600m long. A corridor has been built inside, under which there are guardrooms. Under the minarets, there are innumerable guardrooms. There is a sub-fort inside the premises and many compartments in the fort. The super long winding terrain amazingly leads up towards the main gate. This feature makes this Attock fort more than a nightmare that overpowers. In the building structure of the defense, there are eight bastions on the corners of the parallelogram.
All bastions have an additional mortar and brick reinforcement, and the tops are shielded from cannon fire. Furthermore, the surrounding walls are intact and almost one and a half meters thick. Ramps are used to move elephants, and each rampart has a massive gun on top. The officer’s quarters inside the Attock Qila are still livable. There are four doors of the fort called Dehli, Lahori, Mori, and Kabuli gates. Inside the fort are many chambers and many escape tunnels. Close to the Delhi Gate, there is an entrance to the Mughal baths and adjoining rooms. In the walls of these rooms, there is a place where hot water for the bath is prepared.
Furthermore, near the Delhi Gate, there is a large guardroom which used to be a quarter guard til Pakistan came into existence. Over the river Indus, there is a Hangman’s platform. A eulogy for Akbar the Great was written by the Kashmiri Khwaja Shamsuddin, builder of Attock Fort, and is still displayed at the Mori Gate.
Who Built Attock Fort?
Attock Fort was built on the orders of Mughal Emperor Akbar during his reign at Attock Khurd from 1581 to 1583.
The purpose of this fort is to protect the area and defend the passage of the Indus River. It was built under the supervision of Khawaja Shamsuddin Khawafi. It is situated between Peshawar Road on one side and the bank of the River Indus on a hill. From the capital city of Islamabad, it is located at a distance of 80km. Today, it is under the control of a military base (SSG), a special operations force of the Pak Army. And Attock Qila is not open to visitors and tourists.
Attock Fort Main Attractions for Visitors
The Attock fort is itself a magnificent fortification. Its location has incredible scenery and picturesque surroundings. Panoramic views of mountains and rivers views make it attractive and adorable. Outside the main walls, there is a beautiful panoramic view of the Sindh River and a large bridge that flies over the two-toned water of the river and the confluence of Kabul. The fort has four main ingress doors, namely Kabuli, Mori, Delhi, and Lahori. There are many chambers and many tunnels for escape. Over the Indus River, there is an excellent Hangman’s platform, also known as Phansi Ghat.
Emperor Jahangir Visited Attock Qilla Three Times during his Reign
First time in the year 1016 AH, on his way to Kabul. The second time was when Jahangir returned from Kabul, and the third time was in 1626 when he was going to stay in Kabul. Among the utmost aesthetics and historical sites, the beautiful views of nature, especially the lush green mountains, the meetup point of mountains, and the Indus river scenery, touch the depths of the soul. Especially the views at sunset and sunrise are mesmerizing. Not only due to its historical background, but its location and panoramic views of nature make this site a must-see and worth visiting.
Four Gates of Attock Fort
The fort is surrounded by four gates and a 1600m long wall. Every entrance has its significance and worth at its site.
The gates are namely the Delhi gate, Mori Gate, Lahori Gate, and Kabuli Gate.
Lahori Gate is located at the entry point to the lower part of the fort. Lahori gate is on the south side of Attock fort. In 1857, the arsenal was built on the site of the Lahori Gate.
Mori Gate of the Attock Fort has its significance. It is located at the entry point to the upper part of the fort on the east side.
Delhi Gate is located in the center of the Attock fort. This Dehli gate links the upper part of the fort with the lower regions.
The Kabuli Gate is the fourth gate of Attock Fort. It is located in the southeast part of the fort.
The Attock Qila is also famous for another feature of Hangman’s platform, also known as Phansi Ghat. Anyone who juts out over the raging river hangs on this platform. Moreover, no mercy is pleased even on the dead body and throws it over the executive board.
The Attock fort is located on the bank of the Indus river. The part of the Indus river between Khairabad and Mallahi Tola is challenging to cross. The rocky terrains of Jalaliya and Kamaliya make this route more dangerous. There was a boat bridge to cross the Indus river from Sarai to Khairabad. This bridge was also used to replace the boats by the boat people of the Ganges. Emperor Akbar, the great himself, brought these Ganges (the boat people). They were guaranteed a levy while crossing the river. The pillars of the bridge are still there.
During The British Raj, the British tried to make a hole underneath the waters of the Indus. Then, in 1883, they built a metal bridge. In 1970 after Pakistan came into existence, this metal bridge was replaced by a concrete bridge.
Tunnel in Attock Fort
There are many tunnels in the Attock fort. These tunnels escape warriors from the enemy during wars and attacks. Soldiers also used these tunnels to hide from the enemy. Many forts have tunnels, but Attock fort has long and large tunnels.
Bagh Neelab is one of the most attractive places near the Fort of Attock. Bagh Neelab is located where the Haro river joins the Indus river. The Indus river and the lush green and beautiful hills of Kala Chitta (at the height of 3800 feet) enhance the beauty of the fort and territory.
Present Conditions of Attock Fort
The Attock Qila can be a great tourist spot, but tourists and visitors cannot explore this historic Fort of Attock. Due to its tactical location, it is under the Pakistan military Special Services Group (SSG) custody. This fort is a marvelous creation of the 16th century and could be a great tourist spot. According to recent reports, it will be open to the public soon and is the most prominent tourist attraction and a source of earnest money in Pakistan.
Is it Open to visitors?
The Attock fort has yet to be opened to the general public and tourists. The new government of Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaaf (PTI) has certainly boomed the tourism industry. The government’s top priority is opening historic places and promoting Pakistani tourism. In this regard, the government is keen to invest in restoring its infrastructure and other facilities for visitors and tourists.
Where is Attock Fort Located?
Attock fort is located in the district of Attock, Pakistan. It is sandwiched between the Indus River on one side and Peshawar Road on the other side. From the capital city of Islamabad, it is at a distance of 80km by road. By local train, the city station Haassanabdal takes 30 minutes; from Jand station, it takes one hour and 30 minutes to reach the city of Attock. Local transport via highways is also available.
How old is Attock Fort?
Attock fort is a fortification from the 16th century. It is a historic place that has seen many conflicts and wars from the Mughal, British Raj, Sikhs, and then India-Pakistan Partition.
How far is Attock Fort from Islamabad?
Attock fort Pakistan is located at an accessible point. It is reached by roads, trains, and even by local transport. From the capital city of Islamabad, it is at a distance of 80km. It takes about 1 hr 27 min via Grand Trunk Rd/Main Peshawar Road, Peshawar-Rawalpindi Road.
There are many historical sports in Pakistan. Attock Qila is one of the significant 16th-century fortifications. In 1581, The Attock fort was built on the orders of Emperor Akbar the Great. It was completed in 1583 as a defense line against Afghan invaders. The British Raj then captured this Qila Attock. Emperor Jahangir, the son of the Great Akbar, visited Attock Qilla three times during his reign.
There are many forts in Pakistan, but Attock Qilla is a significant aesthetic site to visit among the old and historical sites and forts. The Indus river, the view of the mountains, the meetup point of the river and mountains, and nature add more colors to its enchanting flavor. Hope, along with others, Attock Fort Pakistan may soon open to the public.