History of Attock Fort on Indus River Pakistan in pictures

attock Fort

Come and see the history of Attock fort, located at the bank of River Indus in Pakistan, all in pictures.

Route Map to Attock Fort

Attock Fort is at a 2 hours drive from Islamabad and this is the Google maps pin of this Fort.

Who built the Attock Fort

It was built by Akbar the Mughal (in 1583) at the North-Western Tip of his kingdom. The fort was a bulwark against further invasions from the West by impoverished Afghans.

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attock fort

Ancient History of Attock Fort

 ‘Attock’ is derived from the Urdu word that means ‘go-slow layover’. Attock town was established at the Indus River crossing point between Punjab and Afghan-Pashtoon Frontier. Alexander the Macedonian (326 BC), Timur the Tartar, Babar the Mughal, Ibn e Batuta (AD 1350) and Chinese traveler Hwen Tsang (AD 631) are all thought to have crossed over at approximately this point, on their way to India.

Construction of Attock Fort

This  fort was built in two years. It is 800 yards by 400 yards in dimension. The fort has several compartments and sub-forts inside the premises. The long winding terrain leading up towards the main gate make this fort a nightmare to overpower. Furthermore, the eight bastions on the corner of this parallelogram are all reinforced with extra brick and mortar, and covered overhead against canon fire.

Who conquered Attock Fort

It’s no wonder that Attock fort was only run over twice in its 500 years history.  First time it was by the Marathas in 1758 from the Durrani Muslims of Afghanistan. Marathas couldn’t hold on to it for long and Ahmad Shah Durrani knocked some sense into them in 1761. Second time The fort was overrun by Ranjit Singh’s troops with the backing of British, in 1814. Three decades after that British lost patience with their ally Ranjit Singh and took possession themselves in 1848.

Recent History Attock Fort

Jawahar Lal Nehru while crossing this site remarked that he felt like he was in central Asia.

Religious History Attock Fort

The unique features of this Fort is that there are no non-Muslim religious sites inside the premises. This is very unusual for a fort in the Indus Valley. Muslim rulers of India made it a point to appoint non-Muslim subjects in their strategic outposts. The only Hindu Temples Attock has, lie outside the walls in a Attock Khurd town of boat people from Ganges.

Tour of Attock Fort

The fort is not open to general public and that is a real downer. However, we have managed to collect a sizable stash of lovely pictures from the inside that are fascinating. I hope the government opens the site to public so that Pakistan can make some serious money from this Heritage wonder.

Special Services Group (SSG) Attock Fort

Adding to the Attock fort’s history is the fact that it now in use of Pakistan’s elite Special Services Group (SSG). This stacks the legacy value sky high.

The Gates of the Fort

The fort has four major ingress doors called Kabuli, Delhi, Mori and Lahori. It also has several underground escape tunnels and chambers. It has a phansi Ghat or the Hangman’s platform over the river Indus. They would hang a convict at this platform that is jutting out over the raging river and throw the body over board — execution style. Story Closed!

All the surrounding walls are intact and are a meter and half thick. There are ramps to move elephants and big guns up the ramparts. Sentry posts on the walls and officer’s quarters are still livable.

Political Prisoners of the fort

Attock fort has gained notoriety recently because the political prisoners it has housed from Ayub Khan’s time to Musharraf’s, including Nawaz Sharif. So, I guess the gallows are morbidly livable too. Not that I want to experience it.

The main mess outside the walls has a beautiful panoramic view of the confluence of Kabul, Sindh Rivers and the bridges that fly over the two-toned water.

Attock Bridge over River Indus

The British tried to burrow a hole underneath the waters of Indus but couldn’t keep the water out and eventually built a metal bridge in 1883. That was replaced with a concrete bride by Pakistan in 1970. The metal bridge was a replacement for the boat bridge hooked up by the boat people of Ganges. These boat people were brought in by Akbar himself to man the waterways. They were guaranteed levy at the crossing.

Khairabad fort of Attock

There was another fort build by Akbar at the opposite end of Attock, called the Kharabad fort, which has long been demolished.

The engineer of Attock fort

The builder of Attock Fort is the Kashmiri Khwaja Shamsuddin wrote a eulogy for Akbar that is still visible at the Mori Gate.

No wonder he got the contract. Khawaja Shamsuddin was buried nearby in Hassanabdal, close to Punja sahib.

This is an old pic by a British missionary before the Afghan expedition.

Best Pictures of Attock Fort

The best historic parts of the fort were off limits to us as well.

If you want to visit the fort, please inbox me below 


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  1. Eisha Fayyaz says:

    Is attock fort open for public?

    1. no you need permission from Army.

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