Kohat (Urdu: کوہاٹ) is a medium sized town in North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. It is the capital of Kohat District. The town centres around a British-era fort, various bazaars, and a military cantonment. There are a number of tombs of famous personalities in the area, like the Sufi saint and teacher Haji Bahadar Ali Abdullah Shah alias Haji Bahadar Sahib and Mian Fateh Shah (Sherkot, Kohat). The town boasts many mosques and schools. A British built narrow gauge railway runs through the town. To the north of the city lies Kohat Pass.
The early history of the district is limited to the vaguest traditions. It is said that in the Buddhist times, two Rajas named Adh and Kohat settled along with the northern border of the district.Raja Kohat gave his name to the town of Kohat , and Raja Adh to the ruins of an old fort on the hill side north of the Muhammadzai , a village four miles to the west of Kohat
The only other remnants of the Buddhist days is a road cut off the mountain side, on the western skirts of the Jawaki hills near Kotal Post which leads by an even gradient towards the crest.
He then narrates that in the year AD 1505 ,when at Peshawar he was induced by Baki Cheghaniani to visit Kohat on the false hope of obtaining rich booty Babar had never heard even the name of Kohat He reached the town through the Kohat pass in two marches and fell on it in luncheon time . After plundering it he sent foraging parties as far as Indus . Bulocks buffaloes and grain wee the only plunder . He released his Afghan prisoners .After two days he marched up the valley towards "Bangash". when he reached a narrow part of the valley , the hillmen of Kohat and that quarter crowded the hills on both flanks , raised the war shout and made a loud clamour . At last they foolishly occupied a detached hill .Now was Babar's opportunity . He sent a force to cut them off from the hills . About a hundred and fifty were killed . Many prisioners were taken . These put grass in their mouths in token of submission , being as much as to say "I am your ox" , a custom which Babar first noticed here . Nothwithstanding he had them beheaded atonce . A minaret of their heads was erected at the next camping place. The next day he reached Hangu . Here again he met with resistance . The Afghans held a fortified Sangar , which was stormed by Babur's troops , who cut off the heads of one or two huindred of them for another minaret .,Kohat has mix population of Pashto and Hindko speakers.It is the land of gayoor and ghairatman pathans.partial parda system is in kohat.
In the beginning of 19th century Kohat came under the control of Sikhs Ranjit Singh first marched to Peshawar in 1819 . In 1832 Azim Khan was defeated by Ranjit Singh with great slaughter near Naushera , after which Peshawar Sirdars became tributary to the Sikh Government , who sent an army each year to collect the revenue .In 1834 on the flight of the Sirdars , Hari Singh , the Sikh General , Autar gained possession of Peshawar and a Sikh Governor , Autar Singh Sindhanwalia , was now sent to Kohat . . ultimately withdrew leaving to the administrative control of Khan of Teri in 1836.
Kohat was finally annexed to the British dominion on 28th March 1849 with the rest of Punjab and an Assistant Commissioner was posted here to run the administration and to look after the British interests. In the initial stages of the British administration, the locals of the area posed considerable problems, although some of the tribe later joined with the British Government and helped them in running the area. Nevertheless, the Britishers were never at peace in this part of their Kingdom as resistance and opposition always cropped from one quarter or the other. But their tactics of "Divide and Rule" ultimately strengthened their hold over the region. They put one tribe against the other by giving preference to one against the other and finally succeeded in administration them. An example of unrest against the British empire are the actions of Afridi Ajab Khan, who forced the entire British administration of the district to surrender to his demands.
The main tribes are Bangash and Khattak along with Sayyids, Afridis, Orakzai, Awan, Shinwari, Gilanis, Banurian, Sheikhan and Paracha and Niazi which form the part of the population of the district. A good number of Muhajirs, Afghan Refugees and Bihari repatriates from Bangladesh have also settled in Kohat. The main tribes in Frontier Region Kohat are: Zarghun Khel, Akhurwal, Sheraki, Toor Chappar and Bosti Khel. Pushto is the predominant language while Hindku is mostly spoken and understood in Kohat city and adjacent areas.
The population of Kohat district is Muslim, the Sunni predominate and there is also large Shias population settled in the district and they stretch from Chikarkot Bala, Sherkot to Kachai (i.e. southern border of Kohat). Usterzai Payan is the largest village of Shia. It is an educated and civilized village. It is also popular because of Al-Asar College.Al-Asr college is run by an NGO.Shia Bangash live in Usterzai Payan and adjasent villages like Chiker Kot Bala, Ali Zo, Khadi Zai, Sher Kot, Usterzai Bala, Khwaja, Khizar, Jauzara, Raisan, Lodikhel, Imbrhamzi, and Kachai. All Shia territory is green and has got many springs ans beautiful gardens. Chali Bagh, Jauzara, and Kachai(Katsi) are famous for their natural springs. People come here in summer day from far of places. There are some Christian families, which settled during the British colonial rule, most of whom are employees of Municipal Committee, Cantonment Board and defence services also reside in Kohat city and Cantonment area. Some scattered families of Hindus also reside in Kohat, Kachai and Marai while a good numbers of Balmiks are employed in various local bodies. These sects are enjoying full religious freedom. People of Kohat are moderate and open minded and open hearted.
In Buddhist times, two Rajas namely Adh and Kohat settled along the northern border of the district. Raja Kohat gave his name to the town of Kohat and Raja Adh to the fort, the ruins of which are found on the hill side north of Muhammadzai, a village 6 kilometres to the west of Kohat. Another version about this name is that it is a combination of two words, "Koh and Hat" meaning mountain market i.e. a bazar situated in the mountain...... Modification:- (This nomanclature is not correct, as the word "Koh, meaning 'hill' is Persian and Hat (pronouced as 'Hut' is Sinskrit word. Words from these two languages are not combined to form one word. Instead the entire word is of one language is used in other language.The Two ruler brothers raja Kohat and raja Audh whose fort named 'Audh samodh (samodh is short form of "SAMADHI meaning Monument in Sinskrit) can be seen in ruins.This version of is more akin to Kohat name.
The district lies between 33° - 04’ and 33° - 34’ north latitudes and 70° - 29’ and 72° - 01' east longitudes. It is bounded on the north by the Orakzai Agency of FATA, tribal areas adjoining Kohat, Peshawar and Nowshera districts, on the east by Attock District of the Punjab province, on the south by Mianwali District of Punjab and Karak District and on the west by Hangu district and the Orakzai agency of FATA.
The total area of the district is 2545 square kilometres.
The topography of the district is dominated by the mountains and hills. In the northwest of the district the important ranges include lower Miranzai and Bangash, which run in an eastwest direction. Further in the south is Kamar -Tanda. The height of these ranges varies from 650 to 1000 meters above the sea level. In the northeast the Sowaki and Adan Khel hills run in a southwest -northeast direction. These hills gradually rise in the extreme northeastern part of the district. The intervening open valleys between the hills are seldom more than eight kilometres in width. The Kohat valley is most important agriculturally rich area. Generally, the district is elevated and the ranges attain only inconsiderable heights above the plain area. The headquarter town of Kohat is more than 550 meters above the sea level.
The river Indus forms the eastern boundary of the district, which separates it from the province of Punjab. Kohat Toi is a principal stream, which enters from Hangu district and flowing to east and southeast, drains into river Indus. The river has a small perennial flow, which disappears before it reaches the town of Kohat, it reappears again at some distance down stream and then flows continuously to the Indus. The Kohat Toi has several small torrents or tributaries, which join it at different places. Another, stream Teri Toi, which flows from west to east, in the southern half of the district, joins the river Indus. The river has a tittle or no perennial flow.
The common trees are ber, gurgulla, sanatha, phulal, olea etc. All kind of roses, bougain villea, kashmalo, gul-e-nargis, gui-e-dawoodi Chameli and other seasonal flowers are planted and sown in the district.
Typical wildlife found in the district are hare, jackal, wolf, fox, wild cat, chakor, black partridge, grey partridge, urial, chinkara, blue bull, hogdeer, water fowl.
Much of the transport is privately operated within the city limits. There are also many buses that pass through the city via the Indus Highway. Most going to Peshawar and running between Bannu, D.I. Khan, Islamabad and rest of Pakistan. The railway line is operated between Kohat and Rawalpindi only.
There is a total of 372 kilometres of metalled roads in the district. Indus Highway passes through the district. Some of the main roads include (i) Kohat Khushal Garh road (ii) Kohat Hangu road (iii) Kohat Dhoda Guddi road (iv) Jata Shakardara road (v) Kohat Tunnel Road (All Traffic From Pukhtonkhwa to Sind goes through this road.
Due to demand from the people for a tunnel at the Kotal hills, the Government has recently sanctioned a huge amount for this project, benefiting all the southern districts. Tunnel was completed in 2004. The following are some salient features of the project.