Attock Pakistan, in the olden days was the strategic district on the Eastern bank of River Indus with the key bridge and land route that led invaders towards deeper India.
In BC times, Alexander used the bridge crossing was further North at a place called Hund.
What is the old name of Attock?
The original name of Attock was the same and it means “obstacle”. The colonial British renamed Attock as Campbellpur, but was reverted to its original name after Pakistan’s independence in 1947.
Which Province is Attock Pakistan located?
Now, Attock is the Northern Western most province of Pakistani Punjab and is located just about the centre of Pakistan.
Route Map of Attock Pakistan
It takes mere 1.5 hours to get to Attock from Islamabad on the motorway and 6 hours from Lahore.
Which Language do people of Attock speak?
The people of Attock are bilingual in Punjabi and Pushto.
There are several historical towns dotted across Attock which have now turned into ghost towns, because Attock Pakistan lost its strategic significance.
However, the historical and archaeological importance of Attock Pakistan remains.
What is Attock Pakistan Famous For?
Attock once was famous for its culture and multilingual – multi-faith society.
These are the things worth seeing in Attock Pakistan:-
- Attock Khurd Hindu Temples
- Attock Fort
- Attock Railway Bridge
- Makhad Sharif Attock
- Kot Fateh Khan Temple Attock
- Ghazi Barotha Power House Attock
- PAF Base Kamra, Attock
- Hindu Temples of Hazro Town Attock
Attock Khurd, or ‘small Attock’, is the town straddling the ancient trade route between India and Afghanistan. This town also supported the Indus River crossing and guard posts that emperors from Buddhist Asoka (268-232 BCE) to Muslim Akbar (1583) have erected at the site.
History suggests that Attock Khurd was mostly inhabited by boat people from the bank of Ganges to facilitate river crossing.
History of Attock Khurd
It is at this point in Attock Khurd that Kabul and Indus River combine and the span reduces to 1200 feet. Still, the crossing was so unpredictable; the British built a metal bridge (1881) further downstream for their Afghan Expedition. The British captured Attock Fort (a must visit) in 1849 and built a cantonment called Campbellpur in 1859.
How to get to Attock Khurd
Getting to Attock Khurd is pretty easy on the GT road right up to SSG Guard post, where they let you in if you say you want to see the old bridge and train station. It takes one hour to get there from Islamabad.
Behram ke Baradari Attock Khurd
Behram Ke Baradari (1501-1561), Begum ke Sarai (1539-1612) and Tomb of the unknown dancer are all located within a few hundred meters of each other. Considering this was the North Western most tip of the Indian kingdom, sarais (rest houses) and baradari were expected to be there.
Bairam Khan was Akbar’s chief General and Salima Sultan Begum was his wife. Begum went on to become the fourth wife of Akbar himself. Behram’s baradari is the most well preserved and still looks luxurious. It was probably a 5-star accommodation of yesteryear.
Hindu Temples of Attock Khurd
Two Hindu Temples are still standing at the heart of the old Attock Khurd town. The locals protect these structures by misleading travelers like me, probably out of their fear of crazy zealot mobs.
These temples were perched on top of stone hills that are no more that tall as the highway has come up close. These locals deserve appreciation for preserving heritage of their town, despite grinding poverty all around.
The perch from which you can get the best shots of Attock Fort, Indus confluence and new bridges comes right after the SSG post. This place looks lovely in the spring months. Driving further ahead you reach the Mori Gate of Attock Fort, which we have already covered.
The British never really trusted the native military detachments after 1857 and always kept European soldiers at the fort, just in case the locals got frisky again. The British thought the fort was not defensible because higher hills across the river made it vulnerable.
Attock Old Metal Railway Bridge
Driving a further 10 kilometers we reach the old Attock Rail / Vehicle Bridge over Indus. This bridge was erected in 1883 and renovated in 1929. This bridge is like a fort with metal rods slung over the raging river.
It’s more of a tourist attraction now.
Across the bridge is Khairabad town, frozen in time like a century before where the British recruited Khattak soldierss for their Pathan Regiments. It makes sense. If you can’t beat them, recruit em!
Kartoos Memorial of fallen Indian Soldiers in World War
Several thousand were sent to fight the world war for the British from here and they have a ‘kartoos memorial’ (Cartridge) for the fallen No. 40 Pathan regiment. I wish Pakistan would change course and produce more brains than cannon fodder for elites.
Attock Railways Station
Lastly, is the colonial Attock Khurd Railways station building that doubles up as a guest house. Mesmerizing landscapes, tasteful architecture, lovely weather and friendly Railway staff greets you as you enter the place.
History of this station says that the british had envisioned it to be fishing / hunting rest house. Pakistan Railway trains do not stop here anymore.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to the Attock Khurd police station.
I think a few hours on the weekend for a lecture on Colonial and Indian history combined, is not a bad idea for your family. Just don’t forget to get tandoor wala food on the way back.
Weather at Attock Pakistan
The weather and temperature at Attock Khurd is hot in summers like Punjab itself. The temperature ranges from 15 Deg C in the Winters to 42 Deg C in the Summers.
The best thing about visiting Attock is its heritage and history