Pakistan has a rich culture. There are hundreds of historical places in the country that are hundreds of years old. These places interface you to primitive life and tell stories of times gone by. In addition to the magnificent mountains in the North of the country, it has a celebrated arrangement of fortresses spread across the country. Forts in Pakistan fill the history of the nation with colours.
Historical places like forts and castles tell the stories of the lives of our ancestors. Each of these places has its uniqueness and connects the present to the past. They tell tales of our enriched history and contribute to our culture.
The extraordinary forts in the north include the renowned Skardu Fort and Khaplu. In the south, we have the marvelous Rani Kot in the Kirthar Range.
There are many more historical forts like these scattered in Pakistan. Each one of these forts is a brilliant piece of engineering and architecture. These breathtaking buildings were constructed for defensive purposes from the attacks of the enemies and were the strongholds of armies. They served a great purpose in warfare strategies.
Pakistan has many forts in every corner. Some are better known than others. In this article, we will try to cover as many forts of Pakistan as possible so sit back and keep on reading.
Best Forts in Pakistan
Rohtas Fort (Qila Rohtas)
Rohtas Fort has a recorded foundation. It was built during the time of Sher Shah Suri in 1547 AD after defeating the Mughal emperor Humayun in 1541 AD. This marvelous piece of architecture is situated on the Pothohar level, located in the residential community of Jhelum, Dina.
The massive walls of the fort are still intact to the present day surviving adverse weather and thousands of enemy attacks. Qila Rohtas spreads over an area of about 4 km. The walls are punctuated by monumental gateways and bastions. It is an exceptional example of early Muslim military architecture in South Asia.
The early history of the Lahore forts is shrouded in mystery. Architects believe that the fort was built as early as Lahore city. Its construction is ascribed to the mythic Loh, a son of the hero of Ramayana of Legendary age; 1200-800 B.C.
Its first-ever mention is found in connection to the invasion of Lahore by Muhammad Son’s in 1180 A.D. Lahore fort was repaired and reconstructed by Emperor Balban in 1267 A.D. Akbar, the third Mughal Emperor built the fort in its present shape in 1566 A.D. He used burnt brick masonry and removed the mud construction and enlarged it. In 1981, the United Nations declared this historical fort in Pakistan as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moreover, this famous fort in Pakistan is known for its unique architecture and design as it includes both Islamic and Hindu motifs.
It is the only building in Pakistan that shows the different phases of Mughal architecture. After emperor Akbar, his successors; Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb added various buildings around it.
Derawar Fort was built by a Rajput ruler or Bhatti clan, Rai Jajja Bhatti in the 9th century. In 1733, the fort was taken over by the Nawab of Bahawalpur, Sadeq Mohammad Khan I. He lost control of the fort in 1747 but took it back in 1804. It remained under the control of Nawabs of Bahawalpur until the 1970s.
We still have the Derawar fort intact due to its constant occupation whereas many other strongholds built for the medieval desert defense have perished.
Derawar Fort is a massive square structure built with clay bricks. The walls stand about 30 meters high and 1500 meters long. It has forty circular bastions; ten on each side. Each bastion has beautiful intricate patterns in cut brickwork. Fort Derawar is visible from many miles across the desert.
Ranikot fort was built in the first quarter of the 19th century. It’s a gigantic fort spread across an area of about 35 km in length. It connects barren hills. The walls of the fort follow the natural contours of the hills. It has several fortified semi-circular bastions at intervals. It has a fortification wall on three sides and the northern side has lofty peaks that serve as a natural wall. It considered being the biggest Fort in the world.
There is a small fortress about 5-6 miles inside the main gate which was the royal residence of Mirs, the ruling family. The south wall has a double-door gate. The main gate has two nitches that are decorated with carved fortresses and floral designs. The entire architecture is built with lime and stone.
Bala Hissar Castle
Bala Hissar Castle is located in Peshawar along the Grand Trunk Road. The fort was built in 1526 by Babur after capturing Peshawar. Before Babur captured it, it was a royal residence for the Afghan Durrani dynasty. The fort was demolished in 1834 and was rebuilt in mud by the Sikhs. Later British rebuilt it with brick.
Today, the Bala Hissar Castle the headquarters of the Frontier Corps therefore, you cannot access it inside. However, you can visit a small museum nearby and enjoy great views of the city from ramparts.
Red Fort or the Muzaffarabad Fort
Red Fort is also known as the “Rutta Qila.” It was built by the Chak rulers of Kashmir who anticipated the threat to the city from the Mughals. It served as a great strategic location against the attackers. The construction of the fort was started in 1559.
In 1587, the Mughal Empire annexed Kashmir and the fort lost its importance. However, the fort was still important to the Mughal Empire because of its strategic location. The construction of the fort was completed in the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Khan of the Bomba Dynasty in 1646.
Maharaja Gulab Singh of the Dogra dynasty started extension and reconstruction of the fort for military and political operations. Gulab Singh’s successor Maharaja Ranbeer Singh completed the construction. The fort remained under the Dogra military till 1926 when a new cantonment for them was built. Many of the fort’s relics were stolen and the earthquake of 2005 destroyed a major portion of the fort.
The Muzaffarabad Fort surrounded by the Neelum River on three sides. There is a terrace on the northern part of the fort which has steps leading down to the bank of the river.
Altit Fort stands tall in the lap of the mighty Karakoram atop a cliff. It was built in the 11th century and is still intact which is truly marvelous. It is the oldest monument in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. The fort is situated about 1000 feet above the Hunza River. According to folklore, the Altit fort was built on the command of a Balti princess who was married to Mir of Hunza.
It served many defense purposes and was the seat of power in Hunza until it was overtaken by Baltit. The fort was constructed in 6 different phases and different kinds of rocks were used in every phase.
Sadiq Garh Palace
Sadiq Garh is situated in the south Punjab region of Pakistan; Dera Nawab Sahib, Bahawalpur. The mansion is not as old as the other forts listed here but is a palace worth seeing. It was built by Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan in 1882. The palace is surrounded by luxuriously green gardens and massive dividers. Also, there is a beautiful arch in the focal point of the building and a bastion in each corner.
Faiz Mahal is a majestic remnant of the Talpur Dynasty of Khairpur. The unique traditional work of art seems to have taken over this grand architectural masterpiece. The exquisitely designed walls show the artistic virtue of artisans from the past.
Noor Mahal is an incredible work of art located in the heart of Bahawalpur. It was built by Nawab Subah Sadiq IV during the British colonial era in 1872. It was built using advanced building methods of that time. The palace remained unused amid their rule.
Meer Garh Fort
The fort is also known as “The Fort of The Sun.” It was built in 1799 A.D. and is situated about 15 km from Fort Abbas Bahawalnagar. The walls of the fort were built of mud and are in a bad condition.
It is one of the most beautiful forts in Pakistan. This fort was built by a designated warrior clan, the Gakhars in the early 16th century. It served the major purpose of defending the Potohar plateau. It is located about 17 km east of Rawalpindi city on G.T. Road.
Attock fort is situated in the small town of Attock Khurd in Punjab. It was built under the supervision of Khawaja Shamsuddin Khawafi during the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar in 1583. The purpose of the fort was to protect the passage to the River Indus. It held the utmost importance during the Battle of Attock which was fought between Afghan and Sikhs.
Fort Munro is a hill station locally known as Tuman Leghari situated at a height of 6,470 feet above sea level about 85 kilometers from Dera Ghazi Khan city.
Sheikhupura Fort or Qilla Sheikhupura
Sheikhupura Fort was built under the rule of Emperor Jehangir by his architect Sikander Moeen. Sheikhupura also has Hiran Minar. Both of these buildings date back to the earliest Mughal Era.
The historic fort of Pharwala has located some 40 km from Rawalpindi city. The fort is naturally defended by a small Himalayan range on one side and the Swaan River on the other side. It was built by Gakhars in the 15th century. Click here to see more