Ranikot Fort OR (Rannikot Qilla) is a priceless historical heritage site in Sindh; also known as the great wall of Sindh. Ranikot Fort is a historical Talpur fort located near Sann, District Jamshoro, Sindh, a province of Pakistan.
Ranikot Fort is also known as the Great Wall of Sindh. It is because the ‘Fort’ is 32 KM large, and thus the area count in the world’s largest Forts ever made in the history of mankind. The historians and tourists call this priceless heritage of Sindh as the great wall of Sindh, it is because they see many similarities of the heritage with a great wall of China.
How to Locate Ranikot Fort?
Ranikot Qila is located at 90 KM in North of Hyderabad City. A very sandy and rough track joins it with the Indus Highway near the Sann Railway Station. The wall which is over 22 miles in length infolds hills which appear to have never been populated. Ranikot is at a distance of around 2 hours’ drive from District Hala (The Land of Bhit Shah, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai). Kirtar National Park and Indus River are just located along with the Fort.
When to Visit Ranikot
It’s highly recommended to visit this priceless meritorious place in between October and March. Never recommended visiting in summers. If still any tourist plan to visit in Summers, it is recommended to get plenty of drinking water. There is generally a 30 KM drive from the National Highway and inside of the wall, there are more than 6 small forts inside which are not easily accessible. A tourist might need to walk around 10 to 15 KM for accessing every precious point inside the great wall of Sindh. A local tour guide is highly recommended.
Getting In and Around
You need to drive a jeep to see all of Ranikot, and can also camp overnight with the tour guides. The entry to the Fort is through the Sann Gate. Climb up on both sides for a beautiful view of the landscape. More down the road there is a small fortress, “Meeri”, housing the royal quarters. From there you can see another fortress named “Shergarh” up in the mountain. After driving and walking some more, head over to Mohan Gate. There are a number of valleys inside the fort, and small rain-streams used by the Spring villagers residing inside the fort. The ‘paryun jo talao’ (the pool of brownies) pool is quite deep and the stones around it are slippery. Beside Sann and Mohan Gates, there are two additional gates ‘Amri Gate’ and ‘Shahpar Gate’.
The History of Ranikot Fort
The original purpose and designers of Ranikot Fort is yet undiscovered. Some archaeologists attribute it to Arabs or possibly built by the Persians descent under the Abbasids by Imran Bin Musa Barmaki, who was the Governor of Sindh in 836 A.D. Others have suggested a much earlier period of construction attributing to either the Sassanians, Persians or the Greeks. Despite the fact that an ancient place of Amri is nearby, there is no suggestion of any old city inside the fort and the present structure has little evidence of prehistoric origins.
Archaeologists said that first building was constructed in 17 century, but now Sindh archaeologists agree that some of the present structure was rebuilt by two brothers Mir Karam Ali Khan Talpur Baloch and Mir Murad Ali Baloch in 1812.
The fort was planned and constructed under the supervision of Nawab Wali Mohammad Khan Leghari, the prime Minister of Sindh in 1819 A.D. it was named after an overflow (Rani Nai). As it was the main source of supplying water to the whole area.
When you enter the fort, you will find drains, building structure, supports, ammunition yards, rivers, hills, pools, valleys, watchtowers, fortresses. The watchtower and a mosque are later changes. There are three graveyards in the fort. One of the graves’ sandstone, there are scratched themes of sunflowers and peacocks. Sometimes local residents call one of the graveyards named as “Romans graveyard”. Animal skeletons and ancient fossils can be found on the top of Lundi Hills.
Features of Ranikot Fort
The fort is huge, connecting several bleak mountains of the Kirthar hills along outlines. The Ranikot Fort covers around 31 KM. The fort is scattered with several supports in between and three are of semi-circular shape. The northern part of the fort’s border is a natural high hilly foundation. While on the other three sides it is covered with the fort wall (the great wall of Sindh).
Inside the great wall of Sindh, there is a small fort named “Meeri” which is about 5–6 miles from the entrance of the Ranikot Fort. Meeri Fort is reported to have served as the fort of the Mir royal family.
The entire fort structure has been built with stone and sea green cement. The fort is built in a zig-zag form, with four entry gates in the shape of a diamond. Two of the gates, facing each is crossed diagonally by the Sann river; the first gate is on the western side and is located beside the river water which was meant to make its entrance difficult to approach for the invaders of that time. The southern entry gate has a double doors gate. Within the gates, there are two places which have flowered decoration and carved stones.
The Sann gate of the Ranikot Fort is well preserved and can be climbed by the tourist to reach the top of the fort from both sides to get an attractive view of the land around the fort. This gate is also the entrance to the Meeri Fort as well. Ranikot Fort is yet to be discovered, though historically this place has keen importance. Tourists can feel the resemblances of the great wall of china after visiting in practically this great wall of Sindh.
Note: The author was supervised By Mr Farhan Ali Soomro (PhD Scholar) & Teaching Assistant Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management Sciences, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur.
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