What was the Rawat Culture like in Ancient Pakistan in 1,900,000 B.C.?
The etymology of the word ‘Rawat’ is said to trace back to the Arabic word ‘reboot’ which mean ‘sarai’ in Urdu – a roadside inn for travellers. Contemporary historians have also concluded that the building’s design resembles a sarai rather than a fort.
The history of the culture of this region dates back to ancient civilizations. Evidence has been found that the Indus Valley Civilization also occupied this area. Certain stones and remains of old civilizations are found which are a part of heritage of this area. These have been preserved in the Taxila Museum. Taxila is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It constituted a major part of the Gandhara Civilization. It was the centre of learning for Hindu and Buddhist communities. It came under the control of Persians and Alexander the Great. Other than this, the influence of Ghakhars, Sher Shah Suri and Mughls ruled this area later on. Important historical places in this region include the Rotas Fort, Rawat Fort, Mankiala Stupa, Pharwala Fort, Katasraj Temple etc.
Rawat Fort in the region was built by the Gakhars in 16th century where the grave of the Gakhar chief, Sultan Sarang Khan, is located.
Potohari regions has its roots in Sufism. A number of sufi tombs are found this region. These include Pir Mehar Ali, Bari Imam and Shah Abdul Khair among many others. People have a lot of respect for them. The people not only from this region but from other parts of the country as well, flock to these shrines at Urs.
The region is home to many Hindu temples that are preserved, showing the history of Hindu civilization and architecture in the region.
The shrine of Sufi mystic Pir Meher Ali Shah is located at Golra Sharif, which has a rich cultural heritage of the pre-Islamic period. Archaeological remains of the Buddhist era can still be found in the region. The shrine of Bari Imam was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Thousands of devotees from across Pakistan attend the annual Urs of Bari Imam. The event is one of the largest religious gatherings in Islamabad. In 2004, the Urs was attended by more than 1.2 million people.
Historically, many of these roadside inns lined the G.T. Road and were used by invaders from Central Asia and Afghanistan. According to traditions, Rawat Fort was built by the Ghakkar tribe in 16th century. The region is also said to have been the battleground between the Ghakkar chief Sultan Sarang Khan and Sher Shah Suri in 1546 AD.
The central courtyard of the fort contains mined graves, that supposedly belong to the tribal chief and his two sons, who died fighting Sher Shah Suri. The two main entrances open to the east and the west. The walls of the fort are lined with small rooms, perhaps rented out to travellers. A quadrangular building, resembling a baradari, can also be found within the fort, along with a mosque. However, the original shape of the fort has been modified several times as it has gone under renovation and maintenance.