H.A. Rose writes that The first settlement of the Gakkhar tribe in this district is generally admitted to be Abriām in Sultānpur, under the Lehri hills : thence they spread over the Khuddar, southwards towards the river, and as far as Landi Patti to the west, being constantly opposed by the Janjuas who were almost invariably defeated and ejected : in his first invasion of India Babar took the part of the Janjuas, and with them defeated Hati Khan, the great Gakkhar chief of Pharwala, but in a subsequent invasion made friends with the Gakkhars and procured from them an auxiliary force. When Babar's son, Humayun, was in A. D. 1542 ousted by Sher Shah, the principal Gakkhar chiefs took the side of the exile: to bridle their pride Sher Shah built the huge fort of Rohtas, about ten miles from Jhelum : and in the constant warfare that followed the Gakkhar country was terribly harried, but the tribe was never subdued, and on Humayun's return to power began to grow powerful.
Pharwala Fort is about 40 kilometres from Rawalpindi beyond Lehtrar road. The Gakhar ruler, Sultan Kai Gohar built it in 10th century on the ruins of a 10th-century Hindu Shahi Fort. Gakhars ruled Pothohar region for about eight hundred and fifty years. Emperor Babur attacked the fort in 1519 AD before Hathi (Hammad) Khan had acknowledged him. The fort is naturally defended by one side by a small Himalayan range and the other by the Swaan River.
The fort is in a bad shape. Being situated in the Kahuta area, is only open for Pakistani visitors. Foreigners need a No Objection Certificate to enter the area. A small community of Gakhars still lives inside the fort these days (around 50 people). An old and huge Banyan tree is also found inside the fort. There is no road to the fort. The Fort is not so easily accessible: there is no bridge, you have to cross the river by foot.
Distribution in Punjab
Villages in Gurdaspur district
Back to Jat Gotras