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MALAKAND FORTS

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MALAKAND FORTS: Though the British generally became victorious in the battles of Malakand and had taken control of a portion of the area of the Pathans, they were subjected to heavy losses to property and life on the hands of the Pathans as well. The British were using the already available forts of the Mughol and Sikhs empires.
In order to consolidate their hold, the British constructed forts at Dargai, Malakand and Chakdara. These forts were well garrisoned with crack troops. At that time, forts were the primary ingredients of ‘Operational Strategy’. For those interested in archaeology, these forts provide a very interesting study.
The Malakand Fort is situated on a lofty point and some of its parts inside and outside the building bear 1896 as the period of construction of the Fort. It is surrounded by a stone wall with fire slits and iron shutters. The highest point has a round platform on which the flag post is mounted. The same point is known as the ‘Signal Tower’. The highest of the point, which is 3190 feet above sea level has been engraved on a wooden mast. The huge iron brackets, which join the three pieces of the mast, are hand made and worth seeing. The platform can be reached by steps, duly clamped with iron strips. Though all the barracks inside the Fort are made of dressed stones, the oldest barrack, seemingly the first one to have been built, is made of undressed stones and is plastered properly.
There is also another small and auxiliary Fort, which is situated on the left of the main entrance to the Fort Complex. The construction at this portion dates back to 1898. It is also clear from the construction map that the construction was kept continued during the later years. The Fort was constructed after the Pathan Revolt of 1897.
The small and large forts have been combined and enclosed by a stone wall. The whole forts complex is converted into a single garrison. The main entrance to the garrison is connected through a metalled road with the main Malakand-Swat highway. The inside walls of the fort complex and the outer gate is decorated with majority of unit badges of different units of the British, Indian and Pakistan armies which had served in Malakand and had stationed here. At the entrance of the fort is also located a Hindu Temple where Hindu soldiers serving in these units of the past would worship. Nowadays a unit of AK Regiment has occupied the fort and doing duty with full support to the district government, Malakand.
Outside the temple there is a big marble plaque in the wall and is inscribed with the following information:

”Dedicated to his most beloved and august father “His Highness Ojaswai Rajaeya Projjioala Nepal Tara Atula Jyotirmaya Trishkti Patta-Ati Pravala Gurkha Dakshina Bahu Prithuladhisha. Sri Sri Sri
Maharajah Sir Joodha Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana GCB, (Mil), GCSI, GCIE
Heng Patwing Sunehiyan Lunchuyang Syanchyang
Hon Lt Gen in the Br Army
Hon Col of all the Gurkha Rifles Regets
In the Indian Army.
Prime Minister and Supreme Commander in Chief of Nepal
The friend and ally of Great Britain. The leader of brave and loyal people and the maker of modern Nepal by Col Kiran Shamshere Jung
Bahadur Rana.
Commandant The Mohindra Dal Regiment
Nepalese Contingent.
1941- Bickram Sambat 1898

There is also another such plaque on the outer wall with the following English words.

Constructed in 1936
Aided by 1st Battalion Gurkhas 4th PWO.

To the right direction of the forts complex of Malakand a large graveyard is located in which martyrs of the battles of Malakand are lying buried.
The straight road originating from the main gate of the fort complex leads to the centre of the complex. This area houses many residential quarters and other buildings. On crossing the central area one comes across to a Church building constructed of dressed stones. It is really an impressive building due to structure of construction. There is also another road from the building complex where the office and residence of the ex-political agents were located. Now these offices have been shifted to District Secretariat, Malakand at Batkhela. However, the District Coordination Officer is residing in the residence reserved for the then political agents. There is also an irrigation rest house inside the fort complex where some district officers, including Commandant of the Malakand Levies are residing. The whole area is covered with a thick pine and olive forest, which has great impact on the weather conditions in the area. In winter cold chilling winds blow while in summer the climate becomes very lovely.

DARGAI FORT: The Dargai Fort is some 15 kilometre away ahead of Dargai on the main Peshawar-Malakand road. The railway line terminates at Dargai because of the Malakand Pass. This Fort probably constructed in 1896 just after the capture of Malakand, is in good condition even today. The main purpose of this fort was to protect the railway terminal, used for reinforcements. Nowadays garrisons of the Pakistan Army are using two of the Forts i.e. Malakand and Dargai while one of the forts in Malakand has now been deserted due to collapse of the building.

CASTLE ROCK FORT: This Fort was constructed in 1899 in the memory of Major WW Taylor of 45th Rattray’s Sikhs who died in 1897 due to wounds sustained on this spot. An epitaph still identifies his memorial.
This Fort is situated on the top of the mountain on the east of Malakand. This Fort has been abandoned nowadays as the building has been collapsed.

DAMKOT FORT: Damkot Fort was constructed on the top of Damkot Hill just east of Badwan village in Malakand. The Fort was occupied in the first millennium BC. Around first century AD, the site was again occupied in Scytho-Parthian period. The coins of Wima, Kanishka and Vasudeva of Kushan dynasty have been found on the site.
The white Huns had occupied the fort in 528 AD and had destroyed the Buddhist Monasteries. With the rise of Hindu Shahi rule under Sri Vakka Deva, Damkot became a strong military garrison. The coins of its rulers like Sri Vakka and Sri Samanta Deva have been found here. The citadel of Damkot remained very important during the Hindu Shahi rule lasting 200 years. Stables, smithshops etc have been excavated at the Damkot site. A unique piece of a terracotta plaque showing seated Buddha based on Gupta period model of 16th century AD was also found in Damkot.

MAIN ENTRANCE OF MALAKAND FORT

This fort is presently accupied by troops from the Azad Kashmir Regiment.

AMANDARA PIQUET

This Fort was constructed in 1899 in the memory of Major WW Taylor of 45th Rattray’s Sikhs who died in 1897 due to wounds sustained on this spot. An epitaph still identifies his memorial.

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This was a mini fort which would be used for sawars who would carry Dak from one place to another. Now this is collapsed and a Malakand Levies check post has been established in it.