How Hari Singh Nalwa Got Massive Fort Built in 54 Days!

Jamrud or Jamraud (Fatehgarh) a village at the southeastern approach to the Khyber Pass in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan NWFP for short where the Bab-e-Khyber (Khyber gate) built in 1964 stands across the road today.



In 1837, Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa a well-known and respected General of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Khalsa forces proposed the construction of a massive fort in order to provide a base for further advances through the formidable defile. Hari Singh built this massive mud fort in an unbelievably short time of 54 days.

However, Amir Muhammad Khan of Kabul (Afghanistan) clearly sensing the danger of allowing the Sikhs to have such a sizeable post from which to launch attacks deep into his Afghani territories attacked it in early 1837.

Defeated by the Sikhs his forces retreated to Kabul. In April 1837, the local tribesmen followed suit and attacked the fort as well. At this point Bibi Harsharan Kaur made her famous walk to Peshawar to retrieve the ailing Hari Singh Nalwa and Sikh reinforcements.

The superior Afgan force was defeated but the Sikhs suffered a major setback as Hari Singh Nalwa was wounded in the battle and died soon after on 19th Visakh, Samvat 1894 (1837).

There are many different tales of the general’s last stand. In one version he has one horse shot out from under him and is shot himself after he remounts and charges the Afgans again.

In another version the fabled General, after being ambushed and shot twice, sensing he was dying, had himself tied to the wall of his fort so the attackers, such was their fear even of his name, would continue to think he was alive and lose heart.

Such was his fame in the area that Hari Singh Nalwa’s name continued to be used by the Pathan mothers of the area to frighten their children into being quite and falling asleep by saying, “Chup Hariya Raghle” (Be quiet Hari Singh has come.) Modern research seems to point to the Dogra Brothers involvement in having him shot by one of their agents.

The fortress is situated on a mound covering a hundred square yards. It has an outer wall and an inner wall having only one entrance in each wall in the days of Hari Singh.

The route inside spirals to the top, from where one can get a commanding view of the stony barrenness that leads into the famous Khyber Pass. In 1924, the British took over the fort and constructed new barracks. Today it is part of the Peshawar garrison, and prior permission is required to tour the interior of the fort.
Jamraud fort is located about 18Km from Peshawar in FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Areas), and all foreigners must seek permission from the Peshawar administration to go to Jamrud.

Additional sites near the fort:

A Samadhi or shrine of Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, erected in 1892 by Baba Gajju mal Kapur of Peshawar.
Underground cells, once used as a prison.
The sweeping view of the Khyber Pass from the top.
Gurdwara Jogan Shah.
Gurdwara at Jamrud
Samadhi of Bhai Phola Singh

~ Source: DailySikhUpdate Via Baru Sahib

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