KHARPOCHO FORT: THE MAJESTIC FORT IN SKARDU

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Skardu Fort or Kharpocho means the king of Fortsis a fort in Skardu city in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Australian mountaineer and filmmaker Greg Child writes that the fort is “perched above the junction of the rivers” and overlooks the Rock of Skardu.[. This fort is an excellent example of mastery of ancient engineering techniques. Skardu Fort named, as Kharpocho Fort is the definite crown jewel of the city.

The king Ali Sher built the fort in the end of the sixteenth century. General Zorawar Singh of the Dogra Rajput clan working under Maharaja Gulab Singh realized the importance of the fort’s location in the town and so he occupied the fort. It was part of his many military campaigns to annex the areas of Baltistan to the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.  The fort was razed to the ground in 1857 under the guidance of Ranbir Singh. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb also tried to occupy the fort, which went in vain. Kharpocho fort, which means king of forts in Balti, is the mesmerizing site for a tourist. Fort stands at a height of 40 m above the city. Monarchs of Baltistan built this seven-storey fort. An instinctive wad of stone and rock along with the rough edges make it look like being forged out of the mountain itself. This fort dates back to 8th century CE.

kharpocho GB Trip
kharpocho GB Trip

The fort was destroyed in 1857 under the leadership of Ranbir Singh. Due to its strategic location, Mughal emperor Aurangzeb also attempted to conquer the fort, but in vain.

Fort was built in such a way that an underground passage was made for the monarch’s fort in the downtown to this fort. The structure and location of the fort show that it was built exclusively for defensive purpose. This is because it is built on the top of a small hill, which is surrounded by Indus River on one side and Skardu town on another side. If an attack was, obstructed Raja of the state had to move there. Having Indus River on one side blocked the enemy’s entrance, hence Raja was protected, and soldiers were to communicate through an underground passage.

kharpocho GB Trip

An ancient mosque in the fort attracts tourists, but it is closed for praying visitors.

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