Walled City – Old Peshawar
The older portion of Peshawar KPK is a walled city, to which the British added their own Cantonment guarded by barbed wires. This old city answers to a traditional Central Asian concept of a high citadel dominating the widely-scattered houses of the generality of people. The city wall surrounded the habitation of common men. The extent of the city must have varied in historic times. But the citadel is most certainly marked by Bala Hisar that still crowns the highest spot of the city. The gates of the walled city afford an important evidence to study the development of the old city of Peshawar. These divide the walled town into three areas.
The old wall still runs round the city along with the gates, though renovated and some removed, marking the extent of the pre-British city. The gates are named (clockwise) as:
- Kabuli Darwaza (کابلی دروازہ)
- Kachehri Darwaza (Tangsali) (کچری دروازہ)
- Rampura Darwaza (رامپورا دروازہ)
- Lahori Darwaza (لاہوری دروازہ)
- Darwaza Ekkatut
- Saraki Danuaza
- Sar Asiya (or Tabiban) Danlvaza
- Dabgari Darwaza
- Darwaza Andar Shahr (Asamai)
- Reti Darwaza
- Hashtnagari Darwaza
- Ganj Darwaza
- Kohati Darwaza
- Sard Chah Darwaza
- Danuaza Ramdas
- Bajauri Darwaza
- Chowk Yadgar (چوک یادگار)
Chowk Yadgar or “The Square of Remembrance” is a famous landmark of Peshawar. It was built in the remembrance of first British Commissioner of Peshawar, Col. E. Hastings. its location at the heart of the old walled city of Peshawar makes it a must see for every traveler. It is located at the convergence point of different major roads and bazaars of the old city.
Before and after partition, Chowk Yadgar has been the main venue or starting point of various public meetings, rallies and protest demonstrations held by different political and social groups. Many anti-British protests and demonstrations for the struggle of independence had started out from this square.
Karavan Sarai Gor Khatri
The Mughal gateway of a Caravan Serai (کاروان سراہے) known as Gor Khatri (گور کھتری)” (Warriors grave) at the top end of Sethi Street, a huge Mughal (مغل) gateway leads into a courtyard over 200 meters (650 feet) square, which was once surrounded on all four sides by rooms for travelers. The site has been considered holy for nearly 2,000 years. In the second century AD, it was a Buddhist shrine and monastery known as the Tower of Buddha’s Bowl. With the decline of Buddhism, it became a Hindu shrine.
This was built by Shah Jahan’s Daughter. During the Mughal era, it was common practice throughout the empire for local notables to construct safe places where wealthy merchants could stay. The merchant and their retinues lodged in the lock-up rooms surroundings the central courtyard of the Caravan Serai, normally paying a charge for the privilege. The gates were locked from sunset to sunrise and the walls manned day and night by armed guard, so that merchant could rest secure in the knowledge that their goods were safe from robbers. Gor Khatri has been an important place for travelers, for thousands of years. But now, Gor Khatri is used as government offices and also houses police and fire stations.
Peshawar or Pushpapur was the land of Buddhist Pilgrimage for Chinese, Tibitians, Koreans and Indians when the Buddhism was at its peak in the days of the Kushan Emperor Kanishka who ruled in AD 78. Not far from Ali Masjid fort is Sphola Stupa of second century AD, stands on the right of the road above the railway at the village of Zarai. Beautiful Gandhara Sculptures of Bhudda were found here when the site was excavated at the beginning of this century. A guided tour to these historical settlements is must. Many of the findings from these sites can be found in Peshawar Museum. Kanishika build the empire’s most magnificent Buddhist Stupa at Shah j k Dheri but now it is site of brick factory.
Cunningham Clock Tower
Nearby the Chowk Yadgaar is a Cunningham Clock Tower, it was built in 1900 “in commemoration of the Diamond jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen Empress”, but is named after Sir George Cunningham who came along somewhat later. Cunningham started his Asian career as the political agent assigned to North Waziristan (in the Tribal Areas) and advanced to become governor of NWFP in 1937-46 and again after Independence in 1947-8.