Thursday, 29 May 2014

Rasulnagar - A Historical City: Battle Of Ramnagar, Residence of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, A Hindu Temple and Fort of Alipur Chatha.

Rasul Nagar is small  but famous and historically important town  in Gujranwala district. I is situated near the river Chenab and was a busy ford to cross the Chenab. I visited this town on 16.03.2011, to discover some monument etc. or anything associated with the Battle of Ramnagar.

Before moving any further, I want to share an interesting piece of history that the old name of this town was Ramnagar and was changed to Rasulnagar after the independence. This is a well known fact. The real surprise for you would be that when the Sikhs captured this town from Chatthas in 1767, they changed it from Rasulnagar to Ramnagar, may be after the name of their fourth Guru Ram Das ji. So actually after the independence the name was not changed, only the original one was restored. 

During the second Anglo - Sikh war, the first of the three major battles, was fought here on 22nd November, 1848. Khalsa army has taken positions on both sides of the river in order to stop the advance of English army. The battle was not decisive and Sikhs retreated towards Chillianwala, where another historic battle was fought. The cemetery is about a kilometer away in the north east of the town. It is located at 32˚ 20' 12.32" N, 73˚ 47' 30.10" E.  

Graves of English army officers, killed in the battle of Ramnagar. (16.03.2011.)

View of the small cemetery of Engish officers from the norther side. (16.03.2011.)

A commemorative plaque, with some details of the battles and names of the officers killed. (16.03.2011.)

An other plaque. (16.03.2011.)

Another view of the same plaque. (16.03.2011.)

Probably the grave of Brigadier General C.R. Cureton, killed in the battle of Ramnagar. (16.03.2011.)

Another view of the cemetery, with residence of Mahraja Ranjit Singh in the background. (16.03.2011.)

As it happens often that some discoveries are made just by chance. I had had the same experience when searching for some kind of  monument of Battle of Ramnagar, I discovered a very beautiful house just beside the cemetery. It was the summer residence of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh from 1830 - 1837. It was in a very bad shape and just a ruin. Our apathy and negligence to such a historical monument shocked me, though not surprised, as I have seen it at many places. A few days ago, I read an article about this place, which even more saddened me. It was written by Mr Salman Rashid and published on 8 March, 2013. The link is given below: 

A plaque on the house in English and Urdu. (16.03.2011.)

A view from the south. (16.03.2011.)

View from the north. (16.03.2011.)

View from the north west. (16.03.2011.)

A closer view. I am sure you will not miss the cow dungs on walls. (16.03.2011.)

A view from the west side. (16.03.2011.)

My friend and cousin, Sahibzada Shah Sultan. (16.03.2011.)

Sure that's me. (16.03.2011.)

This is a beautiful piece of architecture. So far it is not occupied by anyone. I wish somebody authority could take it under its care and restore it. It can be used as a rest house, motel or restaurant. I also came upon a Hindu Temple in the city. It is located at 32˚ 19' 38.26" N, 73˚ 46' 43.17" E. A few pictures are given below:

View of the temple from the man street. (16.03.2011.)

View of the top.(16.03.2011.)

View from a side lane. (16.03.2011.)

Beautiful windows of the temple. (16.03.2011.)

An inside view. (16.03.2011.)

Probably statues of Hindu gods were placed here. (16.03.2011.)

Beautiful decorative designs on the ceiling. (16.03.2011.)

Upper floor of the temple. (16.03.2011.)

A general view of  Rasulnagar.(16.03.2011.)

Rasulnagar is not difficult to reach. From Gujranwala city it is 40 kilometers away and just 7 kilometers west of Alipur Chatha. Now that I have mentioned Alipur Chatha, which is also a historical city. Its old name was Akalgarh and probably was named such by Sikha, after capturing it from Chatha chiefs in mid 1760s. On my way to Gujranwala, while passing through this town I saw a gate of the old fort of Akalgarh and took some pictures.It seems to be not just a gate but a small fort, with some rooms and four bastions. It is located at 32˚ 16' 00.65"N, 73˚ 48' 07.15" E.

A gate in Alipur Chatha. (16.03.2011.)

A closer view. (16.03.2011.)

Inside the gate, rooms on the right side. Now a library. (16.03.2011.)

On the roof of the fortress, a bastion. (16.03.2011.)

Another bastion. (16.03.2011.)

Alipur Chatha is an old town and I was informed by the librarian saheb that many old houses exist in the town. Due to shortage of time I could not visit them. 

I shall appreciate your comments on the above post. Similarly I most welcome your suggestions to improve it or any more information on this subject, which  I shall use with all due credit. 

Tariq Amir

May 29, 2014.
Doha - Qatar 
+974 - 552 552 36

View Rasulnagar in a larger map

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Pharwala Fort - Islamabad

Ever heard about Pharwala? May be not. Although, it is not far away from Islamabad. So next time if you make a plan for an excursion, think about it. It is just 18 kilometers away from the airport signals on Islambad Highway. After travelling for about 2.5 kms in the direction of Rawat, turn to left on Mehfooz Shaheed road, and continue eastarward for 16 kms. You will reach Bagh Jogian, the nearest village to Pharwala fort. Now onward you will have to walk for about half a kilometer to enter the fort, as it is on the eastern side of the Soan river.
This is a big fort with an area of about 36 acres and situated just on the east of Soan river, on a high ground, at 33˚ 37' 14" N, 73˚ 18' 02" E. As we can expect, the fort is in a dilapidated condition, virtually a ruin. A few gates are still standing and still can be restored to their original condition. The walls of the fort have almost totally fallen apart.

History of this fort is very old. Hathi Khan Ghakhar established a dynasty and made this his capital. Babur attacked him here in 1519 but after the defeat, he became an ally of the Mughal. Finally it went into a rapid decline after 1819 AD, when Sikhs captured this fort.

Probably a mosque, on the way to Pharwala Fort. (5.4.2009.)

A distant view of a gate of the fort. (5.4.2009.)

Another view of a gate. (5.4.2009.)

Pharwala Fort across the river Soan. (5.4.2009.) 

River Soan. (5.4.2009.)

A portion of the wall of the fort. (5.4.2009.)

 Me in front of the fort. (5.4.2009.)

You will have to pass through the Soan, as Nasir sahib is doing. (5.4.2009.)

An imposing gate of the fort. Perhaps the best in condition of all the gate. (5.4.2009.)

North eastern wall. (5.4.2009.)

 A graveyard in the fort. (5.4.2009.)

 View from the north eastern corner, the highest point in the fort. (5.4.2009.)

Another gate of the fort. (5.4.2009.)

A gate on the south eastern corner of the fort. (5.4.2009.)

Another view of the above mentioned gate. (5.4.2009.)

Southern wall of the fort. (5.4.2009.)

 An old grave in the fort. (5.4.2009.)

Inside the fort. (5.4.2009.)

View of a gate from inside. (5.4.2009.)

A view from the south west. (5.4.2009.)

Closer view of the same gate. (5.4.2009.)

 A few families  live inside the fort in modest homes. There is an old graveyard in the fort. Most of the lands is covered with vegetation. North eastern corner is considerably at height. It is in an urgent need of repair as it is fast crumbling. If repaired, properly publicized and some facilities provided it can be turned in to a recreation place and picnic spot. Scenery is very beautiful. Soan river is passing by its western side. School or colleges trips can come here for a picnic as well as a study tour. For how long we shall keep on neglecting our history and heritage?

I shall appreciate your comments on the above post. Similarly I most welcome your suggestions to improve it or any more information on this subject, which  I shall use with all due credit. 

Tariq Amir

May 22, 2014.
Doha - Qatar 
+974 - 552 552 36

View Pharwala Fort in a larger map