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The Salt Range: The Regal Glory

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The past gives us a window through which one can peep into the magnificence of an area

This window tells us exactly the rich history of the Salt Range in the matter of association to the regal authority. Its historical spam expands on the centuries, which is given as follows:

First Millennium BC

Alexander Macedonian invaded the region in 327 BC. The prominent king whom he confronted near the Salt Range and was forced to acknowledge his valor was Raja Porus. The latter had proven really firm against Alexander. Although he defeated Porus, yet was impressed on the bravery Porus showed during the battle. That is why Alexander appointed him as vassal king after reconciliation. Let me clarify that Porus was the one whom the Janjua aristocracy of the Salt Range describe as Rai Por, the ancestor of this royal clan. Notably, the loved horse of Alexander died at the battle of Hydaspus and is buried at the modern town of Jalal Pur Shareef, known Girjakh at that time and the part of the eastern Salt Range. The Greek Embassy has financed to build a mausoleum at the said place in memory of the horse.

Hindu Shahi Dynasty

The next memorable dynasty where the regal past of the area can be estimated is the Hindu Shahi Dynasty, stretching from Pothohar Plateau and Lahore Town to Ghazni in Afghanistan. In the last phase, Anandpala, the successor of Jayapala of Hindu Shahi Kingdom, was ousted from the avenues of power by Mahmod of Ghazni. The former shifted his center of authority to the Nandna Fort, some 22 km away from Pind Daden Khan in the eastern part of the Salt Range.

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Afterward, Ananpala commanded his later military campaigns against the Sultan Mahmood Ghazni from Nandna seat. But in the final round of Mahmood's holy wars against him, Anandpala was decisively defeated and the Nandna Fort was entirely demolished. Therefore, it shows the central position of the area in the royal authority during the Hindu Shahi Dynasty.

The Turkish Dynastic Period

In this period, the Turkish Sultans are seen to invade the region, which finally led them to establish their mightiest empires in the subcontinent. Meanwhile, Sultan Shahb ul Din Ghauri was martyred by the turbulent Ghakhars of the area and was buried near the modern town of Sohawa. Thus, the Sultan's mausoleum was built by Dr Abdul Qadeer khan near Sohawa. This saga is also adequate to highlight the royal association of the said area.

The Malot Fort in this era is another prominent feature of the royal past of SRA (Salt Range area). It was converted into the seat of power and influence by the Janjuas chiefs, prominently Raja Mal Khan, during the 12th century. Mal Khan was the first Raja who embraced Islam in this period with his inclination to the Sufi Saints. The Salt Range during the Mal Khan's era saw the remarkable alliance between the Ghakhars and Janjuas in the history, which later on witnessed the magnificent grandeur of the region that expanded further to Lahore and Multan in wake of Mal Khan's raid to the said towns. In this period, Raj Garh, the modern Malot Fort, was turned into the centre of authority. It is noteworthy that Mal Khan is the first ruler who started the salt mining at the present Khewra. Therefore, the central position of the area in the regal authority is self-evident, observing the cited sources.


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The Author is a junior scholar and researcher. He has presented his papers in several national and international conferences. He is also a freelance columnist and contributes to both national and international print media.

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