Rohtasgarh Fort is one of the ancient forts of India which was constructed in the city of Rohtas situated on the banks of Sone river. The fort has been ruined and now cannot be accessed easily due to Naxalite activities. The hill on which the fort is situated has the height of 1500m. Tourists have to climb the stairs to reach the gate of the fort which is very exhausting.
Rohtas district was created when Shahbad district was divided into Bhojipura and Rohtas in 1972. The district covers an area of 3850km2 and comes under Patna division. Tourists can reach here from Sasaram and Dehri on Sone towns which are connected by road and railways.
Ancient History of Rohtasgarh Fort
Some Historians say that the fort was built by Raja Harishchandra who belonged to solar dynasty. He named the fort after his son’s name was Rohitashv.
Rohtasgarh Fort under Khayaravala Dynasty
Rohtasgarh Fort was under the rule of Shri Pratapa during 1223CE. There is an inscription found in the fort which tells that Pratapa defeated the Yavana army and captured the fort. As per the inscription, the historians concluded that Pratapa belonged to Khayaravala dynasty.
The Hindu kings who succeeded Khayaravala dynasty built a road to the fort and built four gates on four ghats. One gate can be seen at Raja ghat and one can be seen at Kathauthiya ghat. Other inscriptions state that the fort belonged to Sher Shah Suri.
Rohtasgarh Fort under Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri captured the fort in 1539 and he did so because he lost Chunar fort during a war with Humayun. Sher Shah told Raja Hari Krishan Rai, the ruler of Rohtas, that he wanted to keep his treasure and women in the fort’s safety. He brought his women and children in palanquins but later on the palanquins that arrived have Afghan soldiers inside who captured the fort.
The king of Rohtas fled from the kingdom. During the reign of Sher Shah Suri, Jami Masjid was constructed by Haibat Khan in 1543. There are three domes in the mosque and the whole mosque was built of white sandstone.
Rohtasgarh Fort under Raja Man Singh
Raja Man Singh was a general of Emperor Akbar who ruled Rohtas from 1558 onwards. Rohtasgarh Fort was inaccessible and also was a place to look after Bengal and Bihar easily. So being the governor of those places, Man Singh made the fort his headquarters. He made improvements in the fort and built a palace for himself.
Rohtasgarh Fort under Mughals
Raja Man Singh died while being the ruler of Rohtas and due to this the fort came under the rule of a wazir of Emperor Akbar. Prince Khurram who later changed his name to Shah Jahan took refuge in the fort two times.
Once when he revolted against his father Jahangir and another time when he lost the battle of Kampat to capture Avadh. Murad son of Shah Jahan and brother of Aurungzeb was born here. During the reign of Aurungzeb, the fort was used as a prison and detention center.
Rohtasgarh Fort under British
The fort came under the rule of British when they defeated Mir Kasim, the nawab of Bengal. The Nawab came to take refuge in the fort but could not hide. Shahmal, the diwan of the fort gave the keys to the British Captain Goddard who destroyed many structures in the fort.
He left the fort after two months and put two guards to guard the fort. The guards also left the fort after one year and the fort was left in peace for the next 100 years. During the war of 1857, Amar Singh took refuge in the fort. There were many clashes between him and the British who finally won.
Rohtasgarh Fort – Architecture
There are many structures that the tourists can see during their visit to the fort. These structures include gates, temples, mosques palaces and many others. Some of these structures are as follows −
Hathiya Pol or Elephant Gate is one of the largest gates of the fort which was built in 1597AD. The gate was named so because number of figures of elephants can be found at the entrance. This gate is the main entrance to the fort.
Aina Mahal, which is located in the middle of the fort, was built by Raja Man Singh. The palace has four storeys having a cupola on the top. Assembly hall was built on the second floor. Third floor has women quarters and tourists can enter there through a tiny cupola. First floor has the residential quarters of Man Singh and there is a gate called Baradari which connects it to ladies rooms.
Jama Masjid and Habsh Khan Mausoleum are beautiful structures which were made through stucco style. The architecture of the buildings is of Rajputana style as there are cupolas on the pillars.
Ganesh Temple is situated to the west of Man Singh palace. The architecture of the temple is also based on Rajputana style and design is based on the temples constructed in Jodhpur and Chittorgarh.
There is a structure to the west of Ganesh Temple which locals call hanging house. The stricture is located at a place where there is a trench of 1500 feet. There is a legend which says that there was a fakir who was thrown down three times with his hands and legs tied but nothing happened to him so he was buried alive here.
Rohtasan and Devi Temples
Rohtasan and Devi temples are located in the northeast direction. Rohtasan was a Shiva temple whose roof and main mandap are destroyed. The manadap was used to keep the lingam.
The temple was constructed by King Harishchandra in which 84 steps are there which lead to the temple. The temple is also known as Chourasan Siddhi due to the presence of 84 steps. Devi temple is also a ruined temple and the deity inside the temple is missing.
Hence, I would like to conclude by stating that Bihar has been the oldest historical place and has been less explored. Therefore, through this article I would like to turn readers attention towards the precious heritage site of Bihar apart from the main stream historical monuments such as Tughlaqabad Fort , Adilabad Fort, Red Fort, Agra Fort etc. which have been more glorified by the historians and where as the other forts have been constantly neglected.
It is important to bring the regional historical sites into main stream history.