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Liaquat Ali Mirani   My Press Releases

The Kot Diji Fort, formally known as Fort Ahmadabad, dominates the town of Kot Diji in Khairpur District, Pakistan about 25 miles

Published on 11/7/2016
For additional information  Click Here

https://faqeerblog.wordpress.com/

The Kot Diji Fort, formally known as Fort Ahmadabad, dominates
the town of Kot Diji in Khairpur District, Pakistan about 25 miles east of the
Indus River at the edge of the Nara-Rajisthan Desert. The fort was built between
1785 to 1795 by Mir Sohrab Khan Talpur, founder of the Kingdom of Upper Sindh in
1783. In addition to the fort, a 5 kilometer, 12 feet wide mud wall was built
around the city. This defensive wall had bastions throughout its length and a
huge iron gate served as the city's only entrance.

 

The fort was considered invincible and served as the residence of the Ameers
of Khairpur in times of peace. It is, therefore, the ancestral home of royal
house. During war time the zenana (female members of the royal family),
would be shifted to Shahgarh Fort, formerly within the realm but since 1843,
after the conquest of the rest of Sindh, it is in the Jaisalmer desert, now in
India. When the Zenana moved into the comfort of palaces, it stood mainly
as a decorated reminder of more violent times. Throughout its whole history,
however, Fort Kot Diji was never attacked.

http://jamali4u.net/sindh/sindh/images/Fort-detail.jpg

Construction

 

  View from Kot Diji

    

 

Kot Diji is a very practical fort constructed on a limestone hill with
kiln-baked bricks. Bricks were used because the locally available limestone rock
was very brittle and would have shattered easily on impact with a cannonball.
The hill is about 110 feet high, above which the walls of the fort rise another
30 feet. It has three strategically placed towers about 50 feet tall.

 

The fort is over half a kilometer long. Its walls are segmented by about 50
bastions, and its 1.8 km outer perimeter wall identically follows the double
crescent-shaped contours of the hill it stands on. This allows the fort to
surround the attacking enemy on three sides on the west front. On the east,
where the entrance lies, the fort is divided by three elephant-proof gates into
three overlapping levels, so that the first two levels can be attacked by the
next level above them in the event of the lower level being overrun by the
enemy. The first gate is not a prominent portal but rather an indirect entry so
that the gate cannot be rammed on a charge. The walls and bastions have arrow
slits in them, allowing defenders to attack their enemy from two levels: from
the battlement on top and from within the wall.

 

The fort was built at a time when cannons had become common and its design
and position reveals that. It includes a multitude of stations for cannons and,
because it is positioned high on a narrow ridge, enemy cannons would have had to
fire at a great distance, permitting little accuracy. Cannonballs could either
hit the hill or perimeter or would simply fly over the fort and fall on the
enemies' own forces on the other

 

Location

Kot Diji was located at the edge of the desert; this provided an advantage 

over enemies marching from the east, because an exhausted army could be met
before it could take supplies and water from the irrigated lands. In fact, the
Mirwah canal was built in 1790 specifically to irrigate the lands west of thefort and bring water to the military base.

fort and bring water to the military base.Role under the 

 

Role under the 

British Empire

 

The Kingdom of Upper Sindh later was recognized by the British as the
princely state of Khayrpur, after the East India Company had reduced its area to
less than a third of its original size of over 50,000 km?.

 


    

        
        

            Map of Sindh. Confederacy of Talpur Kingdoms

    

 

The Fort was allocated the role of central military base for the Kingdom,
especially to resist Afghan invasion. It was the strongest of the 20 or so
Talpur forts and was named after the Persian architect Ahmed, who designed it.
According to folklore it took 30 years to build; in reality, a much shorter,
tactically feasible period may have been possible by mobilizing peasants and
soldiers on a massive scale.

 

Recent history

 


    

        
        

            

 

            Territory of Khairpur State in its reduced form shown within present
            day Pakistan

    

 

 

 

After the merger of the State with Pakistan in 1955, the fort could have been
included with the personal property of the Mir of Khairpur (as is the case with
other ex-sovereign rulers who still possess their forts). However, Mir Ali Murad
II thought it appropriate to hand it over to the government of Pakistan,
expecting better maintenance. Since then, the fort has fallen into serious
disrepair and is presently in a derelict condition. Most of the lime mortar
plaster has fallen of the walls, leaving the bricks exposed. During the
dictatorship of Ayub Khan, 192 cannons and mortars based at and collected in the
fort were stolen or destroyed by being thrown from the bastions; other
decorative fixtures and fittings were stolen as well. Apart from many
indigenously made cannons, the collection included those built for Nadir Shah,
the Qajar emperors, and the Kalhora, Mughal and Safavid dynasties, along with
antique European cannons.

 

In 1994 the provincial government of Sindh leased out the limestone hill on
which the fort stood for demolition and quarrying for limestone extraction, in
order to construct buildings and form foundations for government-built roads.
However, public outrage - focusing partly on the abundance of limestone
throughout the region - caused the surprised government to back down.

 

Today the town wall is barely visible. The massive historic iron gate was
sold for scrap soon after the takeover of Khairpur by Pakistan. Here, as with
other places, Khairpur's heritage and history are being erased; some claim that
this part of a deliberate effort by the federal government to erase the Khairpur
identity. In 1995 a check of 500 rupees (approximately US$8) was provided for
the repair of Kot Diji. Repeated requests by citizens for permission to repair
it privately have apparently been ignored. In 2005, about 25 million rupees were
handed over to a repair scheme which has apparently left it even more damaged.
Sand was used as mortar to replace the original mortar and, as a result, the
walls are highly susceptible to rainfall. Prince Mehdi Raza Talpur, son of the
former sovereign, stopped the repair scheme by the government of Pakistan and
exposed the corruption involved to the media.

 

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