The Punjab Archaeology Department has completed an archaeological survey in district Bakhar to explore the possibility of restoring traditional beauty of the ancient architectural structures with a view to promote tourism in the area.
Deputy Commissioner Bakhar sent a letter to the tourism department seeking a visit by experts to the historical places of the district, including Bagh-e-Dilkusha, Mandar Sheraanwala, Mankera Fort, Tomb of Nawab Sarbuland Khan, and Nawab Sahib Masjid, an archaeology department official told APP on Wednesday.
The tourism department referred the matter to the archaeology department following which a survey was conducted and report was sent to the higher-ups of the department.
The surveying officials, however, also found remains of another monument Handera (tomb) near Sheikh Rao bridge, which is believed to be the burial place of Bakhar Khan, the founder of the city.
The origins of Mankera fort, according to some traditions, dates back to one thousand years BC, the report says. Considered as the principal feature of the town, the monument lies half a kilometer to the left of the Bakhar highway. It was built in two phases. The initial construction of the brick fort was carried out during the time of the Baloch rule, and further fortification by making a thick mud wall was undertaken during the Pathan rule.
Today, the fort is mostly in ruins and save a wall, a tomb, and a few signs of masonry, everything else seems to have vanished. The fortification wall was also in ruins.
Schools and a hospital were constructed inside the fort along with the houses of the people who lived in it.
A small fort was also present inside Mankera Fort that was made exclusively for the royal family to stay in.
The mud bastions now barely stand and are at a risk of collapsing sometime soon.
The main citadel of Mankera Fort is covered by a Muslim graveyard and an enclosure tomb of Nawab Sar Buland Khan. The wall of this enclosure is in a precarious situation; however, the grave of Sur Buland Khan is in sound condition.
There was a mosque inside the fort that was constructed by Nawab Muhammad Khan, commonly known as Nawab Muhammad Sur Buland Khan in 1230 A.H. The mosque is Square in plan measuring 38’ x 6” x 21’ internally and its walls have a width of five feet.
This mosque was demolished some years ago and no signs of it remain on the ground, the report said. However, officials have the photographs of the mosque before its demolition which means that there exists a possibility of its restoration to its original form; a new mosque, however, is being built by the local community behind it.
Another monument,Sheranwala Mandar, is in the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB)administration’s control. Four families were found residing inside the monument, the report added. The ETPB was requested to provide drawings of the monument, according to the report, however, no drawings have yet been received, making it impossible to take correct measurements.
The historical Dilkusha Bagh situated on the western side of Bakhar on the old route of river Indus was dedicated to Mehr-un-Nisa (Noor Jehan), the wife of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. According to the information collected by the surveying officials from different sources, the royal couple stayed there for a long time before making the Dilkusha Bagh.
A building was also built in memory of a precious horse of a Mughal Sardar who had died there, however, no remains of that historical structure were found.
Dilkusha Bagh spread on 79 acres, 27 acres of which are controlled by forest department and 52 acres by agriculture department. The forest department set up a park at the garden adorning it with date trees of several varieties along with different kinds of fruit trees.
The report adds that the forest department has developed the orchard and no evidence of a historical structure being present in this area is available and the department of archaeology has nothing to do in this regard, the report adds.
Officials said that none of the above mentioned monuments were included in the list of Punjab archaeology department’s list of protected sites. There is a possibility that these monuments may find place in the list in the future and ultimately undergo restoration.