Gakhars was the local community of this area and Rawal was their tribal chief. Village of the Rawal is the meaning of Rawalpindi. It came into existence in between the 15th and 16th century. Milka Singh Thepuria was the ruler of old Rawalpindi in the year 1765 after the Ghakar Mukarrab Khan. He gave it the status of headquarter by impressed with its geographical importance. Later on British followed his foot step and make it their headquarters. This city still has the honor to be the military headquarters of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
This city is 274 kilometers away from the Lahore and 166 kilometers away from the Peshawar. Lahore is situated on its west side while the Peshawar on the east. It is 1570 kilometers away from big city of Karachi, (from north) while 375 kilometers away from the Gilgit (from south).
Rawalpindi is the twin city of Capital. It is situated on the Grand Road or GT Road which is a national highway in current days. It is situated on the GT Road from Lahore to Afghanistan. India is situated on the North of it. Sarai Kharboza (a resting place) is situated next to this city which was constructed by the Mughals. Margalla hills are also visible from it. There were forts and villages in its surrounding areas where Mughals, Hindu and Sikh used to live. A large number of merchants used this road for the transportation.
The Hindu and Sikh business community settled here on permanent basis. In the British era this place was grand headquarter of their empires. It was the border of British Empire which touched the Afghanistan. British faced allot of trouble on this boarder from the Afghan warriors.
British ruler brought so many improvements in this city. They made the hospitals, schools and churches in the old rawalpindi. Most of their structures are still in the working condition. All the Mall road, Civil Lines, Cant and Railway station came to existence in the British era. Residency of British officers, a market (Sadder) and few other military sides (west-ridge) were also constructed in the same age. Rawalpindi Club, polo and cricket ground are few other remaining of British rules like the Racecourse.
A peace agreement was signed between the British Government and Afghans in this city. This agreement was signed right after the last war between them and that day is celebrated as an independence day in Afghanistan. Now days, Rawalpindi is a big city with over the 2.5 million of population. Narrow streets could be finding in the old Rawalpindi pictures which was built in the Mughal style. Few old houses and Havelis still exist in this ancient Mughal’s city.
Raja Bazaar is the oldest market of this city which also contained the residential areas. Several shrines of Hindus, Temples and Mosques were also present in this city and few of them are still in working condition.
Here are old Rawalpindi pictures: