Sunday, 19 January 2020

The Never told Story of Tulajha Fort (2018)

All Research and text used in this blog  is own 
All pictures are own
Date of Visit of Tulajha December 23, 2018
At Tulajha


The Never told Story of Tulajha Fort

Salt range is series of hills and low mountains between the valleys of the Indus and Jhelum rivers, located in the northern part of the Punjab region of Pakistan.

Samarkand and Tulajha are the names of two ancient forts that situated at different locations in Salt Range. The one common thing in both of these forts is that both attributes to Jalaluddin Khwarazm.
Following the defeat of his father, Ala ad-Din Muhammad II by Genghis Khan in 1220, Jalaluddin Khwarazm came to the power. Jalal ad-Din retreated with the remaining Khwarazm forces, while pursued by a Mongol army and at the battle of Parwan, north of Kabul, defeated the Mongols. Due to the Mongol invasion, the sacking of Samarkand and being deserted by his Afghan allies, Jalal ad-Din was forced to flee to India. At the Indus River, however, the Mongols caught up with him and slaughtered his forces, along with thousands of refugees, at the Battle of Indus.
Famous travel writer Salman Rasheed mention in his article that,

in February 1221, Jalaluddin Khwarazm on the run from the Mongols passed through this area. Here, he befriended the local chieftain Rai Sangin of the Khokhars. With the Mongols breathing down on the man, I imagine he would have asked his host if there was a secret sanctuary to shelter from his tormentors.”

Jalaluddin Khwarazm was and along his last left troops jumped into mighty Indus near the place close to present village of Sojhanda Bata in Kohat. Mongols troops were also after them; Jalaluddin needed to find very fast some safe shelter for his fatigued army and himself. He reached to the foots of Salt range to the village which presently named Maira Aemah. Where, he pleaded for the help in front of Khokhar chieftain of that time Rai Sangin.

Rai Sangin might have feel pity on Khwarazam sultan and taken him to the fortress hidden away behind the ridges, which Jalaluddin Khwarazm named Samarqand in memory of his hometown. Samarqand was small settlement could not accommodate a large army and more a hideout place than a proper fort. The remaining troops were hiding on the bed of less active Ghambir river. Then the monsoon season arrived, water level started to rise in Ghambir River. Troops shifted to slippery and unsafe ridges of rugged mountains.

At Samarkand fort

Meanwhile to further strengthening relations among two chiefs; Rai Sangin the Khokhar chieftain married his daughter with Jalaluddin Khwarazm.

Rai Sangin gave one more favor to Jalaluddin that was shifting him and his troops to better place of Tulaja.

Tulaja is amazing place from the defence point of view a natural fortress, a large plain roughly of 19.2 acres and 1.46 Km periphery length located on top of   mountains bounded by sharp tall cliffs on all four sides. The view of whole valley is visible from the top of the Tulaja. On this plain debris and blocks of hundreds of houses, defence wall and other structures present. One of the most interesting structures found there was a square tank also a edifice that looks close to prayer hall.

There is only one way of entrance the fort and that is also through a vertical shaft like cave. It is said that this entrance was also at night with stone in old times.

Jalaluddin Khwarazm found an ideal shelter and said that he constructed a temporary residence at Tulaja. The residence consists of roughly three hundred houses, water supply and water tank. All construction done in stone masonry. There was no mortar used in this construction, this style basically found in Buddhist construction.

Few questions came to my mind after visiting Tulaja. Jalaluddin spent three year of exile life in Indian sub-continent and that tenure mostly passes while living in Delhi, Uch and Sindh.  His period of living in Samarqand and Tuljah could not be more than few months. How this large settlement constructed in such less time. Second question, that came to my mind was that, is there any other construction in salt range built on similar model.
I am travelling to different historical locations of the Salt Range from the last twenty five years; I had also visited the site of Samarkand Fort. It is located on hill top and required hiking of roughly two and half hour from Maira Aemah village. There were ruins and debris of an old fort everywhere and nothing is left except a defensive wall and bastion. There might be possibility that the Mongol troops who were after the Jalaluddin Khwarazm reached to the fort site. Jalaluddin army got an early alert and due to hilly terrain find the time to escape and in retaliation Mongol army destroyed the whole fort and turned into ruins. The stone masonry of defensive wall is somehow similar to masonry pattern found at Tulajha.

Samarkand Fort

At Ruins of Samarkand Fort

Earlier, I also visited another site in Salt Range that is the Amb Temple and its surrounding fort. It was constructed in Hindu Shahi period. I have seen similar block construction in defensive wall of Amb fort to what I have seen at Tulajha as well.

Amb temple and Fort 

Salt range was under Hindu Shahi Empire from (879-1026) AD and most likely Tuljah constructed in same period.

Association with Hindu Deity

Tulaja Meaning: Indian goddess of mercy, kundalini shakti and slayer of evil. That name must have been given to this town and fort in Hindu Shahi period but nothing can say with surety.

Settlements outside the Fort

Outside the fort in adjacent areas similar ruins and settlement found. It is believed that the less ranked army and minor citizen used to live there. So this also gives a new insight that Tulajha was sub-empire, a small town in Hindu Shahi period. The settlements outside the fort have different name they are called Tulaji by local peoples.

Buddhist Graves

One can also find large number of Buddhist graves in the valley, so the area is known to humans from prehistoric time.

The 5000 Year’s Old Myth

Few people made video blogs and highlighting that Tuljah site could be as old as 5000 years. There are no such historical findings that can prove these claims. However Tulajha located at one of the best site from the defensive point of views and as I said above Tulajha is natural fortress and an ideal place of shelter for pre-historic men.

How to Reach Tuljah

A metal road connects Khushab and Nowshera, on this road roughly travelling thirty three kilometer, you will find a sign board pointing towards right Baba Kacchayawala Shrine. The shrine is located fourty five minutes from that signboard. From there Tuljah fort is roughly and hour distance of moderate level of hiking.

** Specially wanted to thanks my friend Adnan Alam Awan from Soon Valley, who arranged a special tour for me to visit Tuljah.
Also wanted to thanks my friends Shiraz, Irfan Afzal and my brother Salman Baig who came along with me from Lahore.

At Tulajha


  1. The best ever research article written about Tulajha. I believe that now you have unlocked the mystery of Tulajha by piecing together few logical and accepted references from our history and concluding your own research. Thanks for all ur acknowledgements. The next demand should be that " Archeology department now declare this cliff fort in their category -1, ancient monuments and preservation list. I would like to thanks you dear friend Ali Usman Baig and all my "HAS" team members.

  2. WoW. I am gonna save it to my google docs, before this piece gets removed from here

  3. I am very happy to visit your site and i did like it. I was able to get some informative topics.Thanks fo share
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