(Urdu: Rāwalpindī) is a city in the Potwar Plateau near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. The area was home to the ancient Soanian culture indigenous to this region. Numerous and endless shopping bazaars, parks and a cosmopolitan population attract shoppers from all over Pakistan and abroad. Rawalpindi is also the military headquarters of the Pakistan Armed Forces and also served as the nation's capital while Islamabad was being constructed in the 1960s. The city is home to many industries and factories. Islamabad International Airport, formerly known as "Chaklala" airport, is actually in Rawalpindi; it serves the city along with the capital. Rawalpindi is located in the Punjab province, 275 km (171 miles) to the north-west of Lahore. It is the administrative seat of the Rawalpindi District. The population of Rawalpindi is approximately 3,039,550, and Area of Rawalpindi City is about .
Sir Alexander Cunningham identified certain ruins on the site of the cantonment with the ancient city of Gajipur or Gajnipur, the capital of the Bhatti tribe in the ages preceding the Christian era. Graeco-Bactrian coins, together with ancient bricks, occur over an area of 500 ha (2 mi²). Known within historical times as Fatehpur Baori, Rawalpindi fell into decay during one of the Mongol invasions in the fourteenth century.
It appears that the ancient city went into oblivion as a result of the White Hun devastation. The first Muslim invader, Mahmud of Ghazni 979-1030), gave the ruined city to a Gakhar Chief, Kai Gohar. The town, however, being on an invasion route, could not prosper and remained deserted until Jhanda Khan, another Gakhar Chief, restored it and named it Rawalpindi after the village Rawal in 1493. Rawalpindi remained under the rule of the Gakkhars until Muqarrab Khan, the last Gakkhar ruler, was defeated by the Sikhs under Sardar Milka Singh in 1765. Singh invited traders from the neighbouring commercial centres of Jhelum and Shahpur to settle in the territory.
Early in the nineteenth century Rawalpindi became for a time the refuge of Shah Shuja, the exiled king of Afghanistan, and of his brother Shah Zaman. The present native infantry lines mark the site of a battle fought by the Gakhars under their famous chief Sultan Mukarrab Khan in the middle of the eighteenth century. Rawalpindi was taken by Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1818. It was at Rawalpindi, on March 14, 1849, that the Sikh army under Chattar Singh and Sher Singh finally laid down their arms after the battle of Gujrat and were decisively defeated.
On the introduction of British rule, Rawalpindi became the site of a cantonment, and shortly afterwards the headquarters of a Division; while its connexion with the main railway system by the extension of the North-Western Railway to Peshawar immensely developed both its size and commercial importance. The municipality was created in 1867. The income and expenditure during the ten years ending 1902-3 averaged 2-1 lakhs. In 1903-4 the income and expenditure were 1-8 lakhs and 2-1 lakhs respectively. The chief item of income was octroi (1-6 lakhs) ; and the expenditure included administration (Rs. 35,000), conservancy (Rs. 27,000), hospitals and dispensaries (Rs. 25,000), public works (Rs. 9,000), and public safety (Rs. 17,000). The cantonment, with a population in 1901 of 40,611, was the most important in all of British South Asia. It contained one battery of horse and one of field artillery, one mountain battery, one company of garrison artillery, and one ammunition column of field artillery; one regiment of British and one of Native cavalry; two of British and two of Native infantry; and two companies of sappers and miners, with a balloon section. It was the winter head-quarters of the Northern Command, and of the Rawalpindi military division. An arsenal was established here in 1883.
It has also been recently disclosed that the British Government tested poison gas on Indian troops during a series of experiments that lasted over a decade.
In 1951, Rawalpindi saw the assassination of the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan in Company Bagh now known as Liaquat Bagh Park (also called Liaquat Garden.) On 27 December 2007, Liaquat Bagh Park's rear gate in Rawalpindi was the site of the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Her father, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged in Rawalpindi in 1979.
The famous Murree Road has been a hot spot for various political and social events. Nala Lai, in the middle of city, history describes Nala Lai water as pure enough for drinking but now it has become polluted with the waste water from all sources including factories and houses.
Kashmir Road, was renamed from Dalhousie Road, Haider road from Lawrence road, Bank Road from Edwards Road, Hospital Road from Mission Road, Jinnah Road from Nehru Road.
Rawalpindi is chaotic but relatively dust-free. The literacy rate is 70.5% (January 2006). The population is ethnically and linguistically heterogeneous, comprising Pothoharis, Punjabis, Muhajirs,Hindkowans and Pakhtuns. The weather is highly unpredictable. The average annual rainfall is , most of which falls in the summer monsoon season. However, frontal cloudbands also bring quite significant rainfall in the winter. In summer, the maximum temperature can sometimes soar up to , while it may drop to a minimum of in the winter.
The images (of Rawal Dam)above belong to Islamabad and not to Rawalpindi...
Rapidly developing into a large city, Rawalpindi has many good hotels, restaurants, clubs, museums and parks, of which the largest is the Ayub National Park. Rawalpindi forms the base camp for the tourists visiting the holiday resorts and hill stations of the Galiyat area, such as Murree, Nathia Gali, Ayubia, Abbottabad, Swat, Kaghan, Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu and Chitral.
The best way to see Rawalpindi is by wandering through its bazaars, but you should orient yourself before setting out. The city has two main roads: the Grand Trunk Road runs roughly from east to west and is known as The Mall as it passes through the cantonment. Murree Road originates towards north from The Mall, crosses the railway lines and brushes the east end of the old city on its way to Islamabad. The two main bazaar areas are Raja Bazaar in the old city and Saddar Bazaar, which developed as the cantonment bazaar between the old city and the Mall. Another developing market is called the Commercial Market located in the area of Satellite Town near Islamabad.
Rawalpindi has been a military city since colonial times and remained Army headquarters after independence in 1947. Due to this, also located in Rawalpindi is the Pakistan Army Museum, wit h displays on colonial and present day armies, armoury of historical significance and war heroes.
Ayub National Park is located beyond the old Presidency on Jhelum Road. It covers an area of about and has a play-land, lake with boating facility, an aquarium and a garden-restaurant. Rawalpindi Public Park is located on Murree Road near Shamsabad. The Park was opened for public in 1991. It has a playland for children, grassy lawns, fountains and flower beds.
Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, built in 1992, has a grass pitch, floodlights, and a initial capacity of 20,000 but in mid 2008 it is being upgraded and then it can hold more than 40,000 people. The home team is the Rawalpindi Cricket Association. Also located in the city is Rawalpindi Hockey stadium. This small but well built facility plays host to the national side throughout the year.
Rawat Fort is located east of Rawalpindi, on the Grand Trunk (G.T.) Road leading to Lahore. Gakhars, a fiercely independent tribe of the Pothohar Plateau built the fort, in early 16th century. The grave of a Gakhar Chief, Sultan Sarang Khan is located inside the fort. He died in 1546 fighting against the forces of Sher Shah Suri. A climb up the broken steps inside the tomb is rewarded with a panoramic view of the plateau and the Mankiala Stupa. Besides Rawat, about an hours drive from Rawalpindi on the grand trunk road towards the city of Peshawar, is Attock Fort. This impressive fort is easily visible and located near the Shrine 'Hazrat Jee Sahib', the tradition burial grounds for the 'Bati' Family of the Paracha clan from the near by (deserted) village of 'Malahi Tola'. The Akbari fort is not open to the public as it is in active military use.
Pharwala Fort is about from Rawalpindi beyond Lehtrar road. It is a Gakhar fort built it in 15th century on the ruins of a 10th century Hindi Shahi Fort. Emperor Babur conquered the fort in 1519. Later, in 1825, Sikhs expelled Gakhars from this fort. Though the fort is in a crumbling state, it is still an attraction for castle lovers. The fort, being situated in prohibited area, is only open for Pakistani visitors.
There are many ways to get in and around Rawalpindi.
Rawalpindi is on the ancient Grand Trunk Road (also known as G.T. Road or, more recently, N-5) which links Rawalpindi to nearly every major city in northern Pakistan, from Karachi, to Peshawar, Lahore, Quetta, Multan, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Bahawalpur, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Kohat, Khanewal, Nawabshah, Nowshera and the Malakand Pass.
The city is also served by two nearby six-lane Motorways, M2 (Lahore-Islamabad) and M1 (Islamabad-Peshawar), which were completed in the 1990s. Somewhat further away is the famous Karakoram Highway, the world's highest international road, which connects Pakistan to China.
There is also an Islamabad/Rawalpindi central railway station that allows travel to every major city in Pakistan. In addition to freight, Pakistan Railways provides passenger rail service throughout the day, with train coaches that have air-conditioning in first-class.
Apparently there is no shortage of skilled manpower. The Technical/ Vocational Training Institute operating in the district turn out about 1974. Technicians/ Artisans annually trained in various fields of engineering. Airconditiong, Drafting, Metallurgy, Welding, Auto knitting and commerce etc.
Midway Centrum Shopping Mall
|Gakhar Plaza||Imperial Market||Bara Market||Raja Bazaar||China Market||Bank Road||Saddar||Moti Bazaar||Sarafa Bazaar||Singapur plaza||Kashmiri Bazaar||City Sadar Road||Dhoke Hassu Bazar||Commercial Market||Kohati Bazar||Dubai Plaza||Rabi Centre||Aashiana Centre||Gulf Centre||Bhabrra Bazar||Kashmir Road|
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