Rohtas Fort

Sir Olaf Caroe described his initial impression of this fort in the following words-

"There it stands, sprawling across a low rocky hill a few miles north of Jhelum. Its great ramparts growing from the cliff like the wall of China, looking north a sandy stream bed to the low hills of the salt range and beyond them, to the snows of Pir Panjal. The circumference is large enough easily to hold a couple of Divisions of troops. As you approach the fort, the crenellations look like ominous rows of helmeted warriors watching you with disapproval. It is an awe-inspiring sight".

The plan of the fort is adapted to suit the terrain and it is defended by a number of deep ravines as well as the river Ghaan, which breaks through the low eastern spur of the Tilla range. The fort is about six km. in perimeter and surrounded with a massive wall and twelye gates. Its most striking feature is its majestic wall strengthened with 68 bastions. Besides providing strength to the wall, these bastions give a touch of elegance and grandeur to the fort. The wall, usually composed of two or three terraces, varies in thickness at different points, the maximum being 36 feet near the Mon Gate. The terraces are interlinked with each other by way of stairline and the top most terrace is the line of the merion shaped.

The height of the fortification wall ranges from 30 to 40 feet and a considerable number of galleries have been provided in the thickness of the wall for the soldiers and for use as storage space. The wall is built in sand stone coarse rubble masonry laid in lime mortar mixed with granular brick grit.

Although built for purely military purposes, but some of its twelve gates were exceptionally fine examples of the architecture of that period. One of these gates, that is, Sohal gate guarding the south west wall is in fair condition even today and it is being used as a rest house. This gate is an example which illustrates that how a feature built for strength could also be made architecturally graceful. As it is more than eighty feet in height so it provides a grand entrance to the magnificent fort complex. Every part of its structure has been carried out in broad and simple manner, each line and plane has a sober and massive elegance, while the whole is aesthetically competent.

Within the fort a small town has developed and several thousand people live here. The size of this town can be judged from the fact that there are more than ten schools and twelve mosques. So much vast areas are available within the fort even today that more than two towns of similar size could be developed.

The fort is approachable from the main highway if one turns right at Deena, which is a railway station as well as one of the busiest bus stops also about 100 km. from Islamabad. It is, however, difficult to reach Rohtas Fort during the rainy season as there is no bridge on the river Ghaan. Fortunately the river is not veiy deep and travellers can wade through. In the old days the G.T. Road used to pass by the Rohtas Fort but it was shifted during the British period to its present position and now it passes through Deena. Efforts are however being made for the development of a link road upto the fort.

In the fort there are over ten schools
and twelve mosques