Malot Fort is named after the first Hindu Rajput Raja Mal Dev, who converted to Sufi Islam.
History of Malot Fort Chakwal
The fort was built in the 10th century, soon after which the Hindu Shahi was destroyed by Mehmood Ghaznavi.
Trip to Malot Fort
Our journey to Malot Fort and Dharabi Dam started from Rawalpindi early in the morning, to beat the summer heat.
Route to Malot Fort Chakwal
We joined the motorway at Chakri interchange and after 2 hours, were at Kalar Kahar interchange. After Kalar Kahar, Malot village is just 15 Kms of the metaled road in Choa-Malot direction.
It’s in the last 15 minutes that the terrain becomes hilly and gypsum stone hills travel with you along the road. While you are in the vicinity you can visit
Road condition and Landscape
The access to Malot fort had to be difficult and narrow, because of its military necessity, and it was. After winding between Coal mine dumps, jagged rocks, and cement factories, we reached the foot of the ramp of Malot hill.
This ramp rises about 300 m in 15 minutes and at the opposite end is a fort that sits on top of a flattened out plot of approximately 3 miles square. Just beyond this fort’s back wall, is a sheer drop of at least a thousand feet. On either side of this ramp are deep ravines that the fort was meant to keep eye on.
Malot Fort settlement
The first evidence of an old settlement was the typical watering hole and banyan tree for weary travelers. Then comes the steep climb towards the fort entrance, which is now just the two dilapidated towers.
All the surrounding walls of this very important fort of the Janjua dynasty of the 10th century have been demolished. Evidence of reinforced walls and building rocks is strewn everywhere.
The village of Malot has now become a town and it is encroaching on what was once the enclosure of the fort. What I don’t understand is where they get their water supply from. I was trying to find Turkish features in the residents of the town, considering the first builders of the fort were of Turk descent – none were visible.
Hindu Shahi Raj Mal
Malot fort was the idea of a Hindu Janjua Rajput ruler of the 12th century, of this hilly part of Salt Range. Although, the fort itself, is dated around 980 AD.
This Raja Mal (Raja Ajmal Dev Janjua) was influenced by Sufi Islam and the local legend says he converted in 1005 during Afghan Shahabuddin’s raids.
Mughal Babar’s conquest of Malot
History also records Babar muscling this fort from Daulat Khan Lodhi in 1526 – so it was pretty important to the rulers of Delhi. I guess they didn’t want bad guys sitting on the heights overlooking the fertile plains of Jhelum and Chenab.
Temple of Malot Fort
The fort itself is nowhere to be seen but the two Shiva Hindu temple buildings have survived. The temples have Greek-styled figures carved in red sandstone. General Cunningham mentions the temples and their impressive architecture in his travelogue.
The far side cliff has finger-like rocks jutting out from thousand feet below that were probably search towers once. I can imagine Para gliders jumping off this cliff towards the canyon below.
Malot Fort and the moutain Ridge
Standing on top of the Brahman priest’s altar, I could see the beautiful landscape of Salt Range for several hundred miles.
I also saw the environmental damage caused by the cement plants about 20 km away; it wasn’t pretty.
On the way back locals informed us that there are two natural water reservoirs around 20 km from Malot deep down insider a natural rock formation.
The places are called Karoli & Neelwan. I intend to go there next time.
Dharabi Dam site
After Malot, we climbed back on the motorway, drove to Balkassar interchange, exited, and turned towards the Talagang side. As soon as we turned away from Chakwal, by crossing over the motorway, we took a narrow road that leads towards Dharab Dam. There is a signboard right at the turning pointing towards the dam.
The best part of the dam is the Islamabad club side, but the dirt track leading to that edge is washed away and even 4x4s cannot go there. The only option was to go to the irrigation guest house side, which is a 15 minutes drive on a metaled road.
The irrigation people had locked the gate of their guest house; luckily, I knew how to pick locks and simply drove right up to their parking. They have a very nice Guava farm where you can have your lunch, freshen up and walk to the Dam viewing point close by.
This dam was built for irrigation but doesn’t do much irrigation because the Agri land is higher than the reservoir.
It was a beautiful sight to see! They even have fish in the water but no one to arrange fishing or boating. This place is a potential gem for tourists and water sports fanatics, but nothing like that has been developed yet.
We drove back 2 hours to Rawalpindi and are planning another trip to Kahoon valley of this picturesque valley next time.
Thanks and enjoy the video.