Revised PC-I for completion of Rawat Fort’ conservation work to be submitted soon

ISLAMABAD:Department of Archaeology and Museums (DoAM) has planned to submit the revised PC-I for the completion of remaining conservation work of the majestic historical Rawat Fort to National History and Literary Heritage Division within two weeks which would be forwarded to the Planning Division for final nod.

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 conservation work of Rawat Fort was initiated by the team of archaeology department soon after the approval of PC-I for repair, maintenance and development of Rawat Fort with the cost of Rs28 million, an official of DoAM told reporter.

So far, the department has restored the damaged cells and the mausoleum according to the standard height after water tightening and plinth protection and now the landscaping work of the fort is being carried out, the official said.

The project of repair, maintenance and development of Rawat Fort was earlier supposed to be completed till June 2020 but now the project is being revised at the proposed cost of around Rs60 million for executing the remaining tasks so its time of completion will also be revised with scope of work.

The conservation and maintenance of Rawat Fort was started mainly to preserve its damaged boundary walls, 19 ram-shackled cells, three-domed altered mosque, crumbling graves and a deserted mausoleum.

The biggest hindrance in the conservation work 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.

However, the conservation of the fort will at least help protect this ancient site from further ruining as well as stop the drug addicts and beggar residing in its cells through repair of boundary walls, the official said.

Rawat Fort had 45 cells (rooms), out of which 19 ram-shackled cells exist and others have fallen prey to intentional vandalism of private constructors who have merged the major parts of the rooms into their houses. These rooms once used by travelers of ancient era for staying.

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 said.

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 were also in dilapidated condition as usually locals use to pull the bricks of these graves out when they needed, the official informed.

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.