The name Balahisar is of Persian origin and most likely given by Afghan Ruler Taimur Shah Durrani (1773 - 1793). The origin of the fort is not clear, but it is as old as the city itself, 2000 to 2500 years. The main entrance faces the old route to India. A Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang, visited Peshawar in 630 AD, and he has described it as a royal residence of the city. According to Dr Dani, a channel of the old Bara River surrounded it once.
Historically Peshawar has always been a city of strategic importance, frequently mentioned as the seat of Ghandhara civilization. Subuktagin captured Peshawar in 988 AD, Mahmud of Ghazni in 1001 AD, Ghori in 1179 AD, and then came Babar in the 15 century and established the Mughal empire. Afghan King Sher Shah Suri destroyed the fort after the overthrow of Babar's son Humayun. Upon his return Humayun rebuilt the fort.
Ahmed Shah Durrani of Afghanistan finally took it from the Mughals and made it a residential palace. His son Taimur made Peshawar his winter capital. After his death in 1793, Shah Zaman lost it to the Sikhs in 1834, who destroyed it. Then Sher Singh on orders from his father Ranjeet Singh, rebuilt the fort. An inscription from the Sikh period still survives on a gate.
The British annexed Punjab in 1849 after defeating Ranjeet Singh's son, and extended their rule to Peshawar. At the time Balahisar was a mud fort, the British reinforced it with bricks and gave it the present day look. Till 1947, the fort also housed the treasury.
On 14 August 1947, the Pakistan flag hoisted over Balahisar, and the following year it became the Headquarters of the Frontier Corps (FC). A small museum has also been opened inside the Fort, which has a nice display of weapons, dresses, and photographs relating to the FC.
The Balahisar Fort has been opened to tourism, however prior appointment is a necessary convenience. It would be prudent to take a conducted tour, preferably through Sehrai Travel & Tours details below
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[Edit – This review has been retracted by staff as part of a retrospective moderation of reviews. This was carried out to deal with the issue of some reviews not meeting the minimum standard. The content of the retracted review has been left to stand as a comment. The author is welcome to contact staff about this. Edited by ericgolf
[Edited on 11/24/08 @ 04:05 PM]
Posted on 07/24/07 @ 03:56 PM
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