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Friday December 03, 2021

Sangni Fort: A silent chronicler of Mughal, Sikh eras

August 17, 2020

Rawalpindi : The historical Sangni Fort that has apparently lost its importance and become obscure is still a silent chronicler, which speaks of the bygone era of the Mughals and the Sikhs.

Located on a hilltop, 25 kilometres away from Grand Trunk Road at the junction of two small streams, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Bewal Union Council in Gujar Khan. The fort is 65 kilometres away from Islamabad and the visitors can enjoy lots of picturesque agricultural lands and plenty of perennial streams before reaching its exact location.

The fort is in good condition with intact walls and the inside area has been decorated with glasswork due to the presence of the shrine of Sahibzada Abdul Hakeem.

Sangni fort is covered from three sides by a shallow ravine with water running through it. The entry point is easily accessible and the visitors find no difficulty to reach its premises.

At one corner of the fort courtyard is a hole in the floor. The streams down below provides an excellent place for swimming and cooling off in the summer season as no sunlight reaches that spot. Some hope that water can rid them of illnesses as water therapy is still a common practice at various shrines across the Potohar region.

The check posts at the gates are still intact despite the passage of over two hundred years. The fort has four bastions of almost equal diameter with stairways reaching the top of the bastions, which were used for guarding the fort and its surrounding area. Some history books point out that the fort was actually built by the Dogras of Kashmir and when Sikh rulers tried to establish their hold on the Potohar region they made it a garrison.

This area came under Sandhawalia Jat ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1814. The Fort was built to control the area and to facilitate tax collection. After the British takeover of Punjab the fort was relegated to the use of as a prison camp and later on as the shrine of Sahibzada Abdul Hakeem.