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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sikh-era Remains of a Fateh Jang Village

Qutbal is a historical village in Fateh Jang tehsil noted for its Sikh and Hindu period buildings. It was an important trade centre during the Sikh rule over Punjab and was also famous for Hindu merchants who controlled business in Fateh Jang and other towns in Attock district.
After Independence the Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India. Today the village is mainly inhabited by Khater, Mughal, Awan and other castes. The population of the village is about 5000, as confirmed by Qazi Arif, religious leader of the village.
Some of the monuments built during the Sikh and British periods still grace the landscape of Qutbal. The ban (pond) constructed of semi-masonry was used by Hindus for ritual bath with a small reserved area for women, which no longer exists.
Another building complex from that period is that of a temple, a samadhi and haveli (locally called Mari) which dominate the landscape of Qutbal village.
The temple is belived to have been built by Lakhi Devi in the memory of her father Narain Singh in 1924. The inscription slab is fixed on the façade of the temple. It is a square building. The sanctum is superimposed with a square shikhara (superstructure), different from other temples in the Potohar region, which have octagonal shikharas.
The artists of Attock have also added corner turrets to the structure which are normally found on Muslim tombs. In the temple architecture, the skhikara is always decorated with miniature shikhars or niches for placing the images (murtis). The temples found in other towns and villages of Attock district particularly at Makhad Sharif, Attock Khurd, Attock town, Hazro, Kot Fatah Khan, Fatah Jang, and Hasan Abdal do not have corner turrets or kiosks.
The corner turrets are only peculiar to the Qutbal temple. This is the innovation of the Attock artists, because the artists of the Attock were famous temple and haveli builders in the Potohar region. They built many havelis and temples in almost all four districts
of Potohar.
The top of the shikhara is also decorated with a turret, not with the kalasa or amalaka as found on the shikhars. Close to the temple is a Samadhi which is also built on a square plan.
The main entrance of the Samadhi is flanked by two niches which were used for placing oil lamps. From inside it is decorated with floral designs but most of its paintings have now been damaged.
“It has now been turned into a barn,” said Gul Faraz Khatar who lives close to
the Samadhi.
However, the impressive structure in Qutbal is the haveli. It is a two-storey building and decorated with fresco paintings on the inside as well as outside.
There is no such impressive haveli in the whole of Fatah Jang tehsil. One of the distinctive features of the Mari is the tower on the top of the haveli which, in Potohari havelis, is generally square or octagonal.
The havelis in Daultala and Kontrila in Gujar Khan, Khem Singh Bedi haveli in Kallar Syedan and Wah have towers for taking a panoramic view of the surroundings and enjoying the morning and evening breeze in the summers.
“The haveli was turned into government girls primary school when the owner of the building migrated to India,” said Muhammad
Ramzan Mughal.
Much of the painting work is now damaged. Floral paintings on the façade of the haveli are also in a bad condition. The wooden doors of the haveli are all gone. The wood carvings found on the windows and the ceiling of the haveli are also in a bad state of preservation.
All these historical buildings are victims of neglect. Authorities should take note of the crumbling condition of the temple, Samadhi and haveli. The haveli being used as a school needs to be repaired as it is serving a purpose and is a landmark of the history of the village.

The author is Research Anthropologist at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad. He may be contacted atzulfi04@hotmail.com
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2011.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Attock Travel and Information

By Train
This is the most comfortable and easiest way of travel. Attock is connected with Hassanabdal, Burhan and Jand by Local and national trains. The city station has two platforms. It takes 30 minutes from Hassanabdal and 1.5 hour from Jand to reach the city.

By Road:
The Attock city is connected with surrounding cities by highway connections from six major directions. So people can reach Attock city by bus or car. Attock Bus Stop is the main bus station for all buses and vans in Attock, and is located to the east of the city. Major Pakistan cities are connected to Attock by vans. However, the highway network are very well established and some highways are still under development.

Vans is the most efficient, fast and highly integrated way of transport in Attock. Daytime transport runs from 05.00 a.m. (mostly after Fajar Prayers) to 10.00p.p. It is used by around 400 million passengers per year and for different routes different vans are running to cover all areas of the district and other cities.

Auto Rickshaws:
Attock City has 5 km of tracks in the city and covers large areas of the city. It carries around 100 million people a year. Mostly in summer it operates 24/7, and in winters it start operating at 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. This is the most usable transportation system available in Attock City and all other Cities of District.

Get Around:
The public transportation system in Attock is one of the economical systems. Two-third of city's population makes use of the vans and buses. The public transportation system covers most of the areas local peoples are likely to visit frequently.

District Attock Topography

Attock district was constituted in 1904 by taking Talagang Tehsil from Jhelum district and Pindigheb, Fatehjang and Attock tehsils from Rawalpindi district. The district was named as Campbellpur after the name of Sir Campbell who laid foundation stone of Campbellpur City in 1908 a few kilometres away on south-east of Attock Khurd Town.

The name Attock was again given to it in 1978. District Attock is bounded on the north by Swabi and Haripur districts of N.W.F.P., on the East by Rawalpindi, on the South by Chakwal district, on the South-West by Mianwali district, in the West by Kohat district and on North-west by Nowshera district of N.W.F.P. The Indus River flows along the western boundary of the district for about 130 Kilometers. It divides Attock district from the three bordering districts of N.W.F.P. Attock district is spread over an area of 6,856.7 Square Kilometers having population of 1,264,564 and comprising of following 6 tehsils, 440 villages, 72 Union Councils and 3 Cantt areas:

1. Attock
2. Fateh Jang
3. Hassan Abdal
4. Hazro
5. Jand
6. Pindi Gheb
District Attock is a combination of hills and Plains. The area in the north-west and south is hilly on the north hills are southern extension of the hills of HariPur district. In the middle, along its western boundary are the famous Kala Chitta hills. This range is almost 50 Km and attains a greatest height of more than 1,000 m.The range is covered with forest. The Khairee Moorat hills range cuts boundary in Tehsil Fateh Jang.The district is divided in two portions i.e. one to north and north west of the Kala Chitta range and the other to the south and east of it. The former includes Attock, Hazro and Hassanabdal Tehsils and latter Fateh Jang, Pindigheb and part of Tehsil Jand.

Geography & Climate of Attock

Attock is located at 33° 46' 20N Latitude and 72° 22' 6E Longitude. It has an altitude of 348 metres (1,142 ft). The average annual rainfall in the district is 783 mm (30.8 in).

Attock District's climate is characterized by very hot summers and very cold winters. The maximum temperature reaches 40°C. The northern part is more humid, with a relatively moderate climate as compared to the southern part.

Attock District, is located in the northwest of the Punjab province of Pakistan. The district was created in 1904 by the merger of Talagang tehsil from the Jhelum District and the Pindigheb, Fatehjang and Attock tehsils from Rawalpindi District of British Raj. The original name was Campbellpore district after Sir Campbell who founded the city of Campbellpore to the southeast of Attock Town. The name of the district was changed to Attock in 1978.

History of District Attock & Attock City

The city's foundations were laid in 1908, and it was named Campbellpur after Sir Campbell.
The history of the District is practically the same as that of Rawalpindi district. Hassan Abdal, the chief relic of the Buddhist period, was one of the towns subordinate to the capital of Taxila, and under the Gakhars, Mughals, and Sikhs the District followed the fortunes of Rawalpindi. The chief historical events recorded are the defeat of Anand Pal near Ohind by Mahmud of Ghazni, the foundation of ATTOCK by Akbar, and its vicissitudes in the Sikh Wars. The District was constituted in 1904, the tahsils of Attock, Pindi Gheb, and Fatahjang being transferred from Rawalpindi District, and that of Talagang from Jhelum.

The district Attock was created in April 1904 by the merger of Talagang Tehsil in the Jhelum District with the Pindigheb, Fatehjang and Attock tehsils from Rawalpindi District of the Punjab province of British India.

Attock fort was completed in 1583 under the supervision of Khawaja Shamsuddin Khawafi, a minister of Emperor Akbar. The Mughal caravan sarai outside the fort, which is almost on the Grand Trunk (GT) Road, was also built during this period