Rs 28 million to be spent on conservation of Rawat Fort

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Islamabad : Department of Archaeology and Museums (DoAM) has finally initiated the conservation work of the majestic historical Rawat Fort, which was in dilapidated condition for the last many years.

Preservation of cultural heritage and archaeological sites not only relives a nation but also promotes rich cultural heritage of the country and tourism, bringing monetary benefits to the country.

Rawat Fort is originally an ancient Sarai (Inn) situated about 11 miles from Rawalpindi towards Jehlum close to the Grand Trunk road and appears to have been built during the Sultanate period in early 15th century A.D.

The department has started conservation work mainly to preserve the fort with damaged boundary walls, 19 ram-shackled rooms, three-domed altered mosque, crumbling graves and a deserted mausoleum after approval of PC-I for repair, maintenance and development of Rawat Fort with the cost of Rs28 million, an official of DoAM told APP.

The biggest problem was of the encroachments from three sides of the fort, which is sheer violation of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) law that prohibits construction within 200 feet of the historical monuments premises.

The issue has not been resolved yet despite writing to the authorities in CDA for several times to remove encroachments at the fort site, the official revealed.

According to the description board outside the fort with half omitted words, the fort is associated with the name of Masud, son of famous Mehmood of Ghaznavi in 1039 A.D. where he was arrested by his rebellious soldiers and eventually murdered in the fort of Giri near Taxila.

The fort is also associated with the name of Ghakhar tribe chief Sarang Khan who fell with his sixteen sons fighting against Sher Shah Suri and buried within the precinct of this monument, it says.

The locals altered the historical mosque and the mausoleum of Sarang Khan in the fort from their original architecture, violating the law that prohibits damaging or altering the historical monuments.

The graves of 16 sons of Sarang Khan and others are also in dilapidated condition as usually locals pull the bricks of these graves out when they need it.

DOAM, Islamabad protected this site under Antiquities Act 1975 but after devolution under 18th amendment of the constitution, Punjab government acquired it.

The DoAM again acquired the site and started initial working on a plan for its maintenance and preservation.

DoAM purchased the road linking the historical site with Grand Trunk Road but shopkeepers and roadside hawkers encroached that.

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