Welcome to Attock, or should I say, “foot of the mountain”. It is a city in Pakistan located in northern Punjab, close to the capital, Islamabad. The district Attock consists of 6 tehsils that are Attock, Fateh Jang, Hazro, Hassan Abdal, Jand and Pindi Gheb. It attracts tourism through the year.
As diverse as the rest of Pakistan is, so is Attock. Located close to the border of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa border, the main languages spoken here are Urdu, Pushto, special “chacchi” Punjabi with some minorities speaking Kashmiri and Hindko. The main casts of the Attock district includes Awan, Arian, Gakhar, Gujjar, Jat, Mughal, Pathan, Sheikh, Syed, Qureshi and Rajput. The Attock city population is approximately 1.2 million. The famous cuisines are Chana Pulao, Katwa Gosht, Fish, Sarson ka Saag, Makai ki roti, Makhadi Halwa and Lassi. In Attock, almost all men and women wear shalwar kameez. However, trend of modern clothing can be seen among few of the young generation. The major games played are Cricket, Volleyball and in villages, Kabaddi and Gully danda are a central part of sport activities.
Founded in 1908, It was formerly known as Campbellpur, in honor of Sir Colin Campbell. The name was changed in 1978. Attock has one of the richest historical backgrounds in Pakistan dating back to Mughal rule and invasion of Alexander, the great. There are a lot of historic sites, some of which I have mentioned in this article.
Attock has sandy plains, small plateaus and views of the Kala Chitta Mountains. Despite having immensely fertile land across the district, inhabitants still stick to centuries-old irrigation practices. The economy of the district is mainly agriculture-based with peanuts, wheat, maize, millets, grams, corn and pulses being the main crops. Peanuts are a major cash crop in Attock. Around 90% of the water in Attock is used for agricultural purposes, although surface water supplies do not meet irrigation requirements. This city depends mostly on rainfall to meet these agricultural needs.
Attock khurd, also known as “little Attock”, is located few kilometers from the main city. It connects Punjab to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa through the Attock Bridge. Historically and strategically, Attock Khurd is considered the “gateway to Central Asia”. Constructed in 1880, the Attock Khurd Railway Station has a rich history and beautiful architecture. It is located on the bank of the Indus River and the Victorian structure made of stone masonry is surrounded by the Manglot Mountain Range. Attock Khurd Railway station is an officially declared national heritage site of Pakistan.
The Fort was built at Attock Khurd during the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar from 1581 to 1583 under the supervision of Khawaja Shamsuddin Khawafi to protect the passage of the River Indus. It is sandwiched between Peshawar Road on one side and the River Indus on the other. After its construction, the fort was used as a key defense line against Afghan invaders. In 1956 the fort was handed over to the Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army. Today the fort remains in control of the SSG. As it is a military base, visitors are not allowed inside the fort.
Old Attock Bridge:
Attock Bridge is situated between Attock Khurd and Khairabad Kund on Indus river in Pakistan. It is commonly known as “Old Attock Bridge”. This bridge is one of the most important strategic and commercial crossing on the Indus River between Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, hence was heavily fortified. It was originally designed by Sir Guildford Molesworth and was opened to traffic on 24 May 1883. The bridge has 2 levels, the upper level is use for railway traffic and lower level was used for road traffic. The approaches to the bridge were built as solid fortifications – as a defense against raids from nearby Pashtun tribesmen. This bridge was a part of famous Grand Trunk Road. In 1979 a new bridge was constructed, and road traffic was shifted there.
Gurdwara Panja Sahib:
Gurdwara Panja Sahib is situated at Hassan Abdal, 31 km from Attock. This is one of the most holy places of Sikhism because it marks the spot where the founder of the faith, Guru Nanak dev visited. The shrine is particularly important as the handprint of the founder is believed to be imprinted on a boulder at the Gurdwara. Thousands of faithful Sikhs from all over the globe visit this shrine. However, twice a year, during special celebrations, an enormous number of Sikh pilgrims attend this Gurdwara from every corner of the world. Special visas are allocated by the Pakistan government to cater for the increased demand.