By : Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti
Ranikot Fort, one of the biggest tourist attractions in Sindh, is protected as a historical site under the Antiquities Act, 1975. Due to its grandness and surprising resemblance to the China Wall it is also famous as The Great Wall of Sindh. This great historic fort has also been kept on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is 90 km away from Hyderabad and 261 km from Karachi on the Indus highway 87 km before Sehwan.
Although not much has been written about Ranikot Fort in Sindh, it is claimed that the Mirs commissioned this giant fort to serve a military stronghold and provide them with refuge in case the British forces took over the area.
Over the past few years, Ranikot Fort has become one of the most renowned forts in Pakistan, drawing a large number of domestic and foreign tourists alike.
A small fortress Meeri , about 7-8 kilometers inside the main gate, appears to have been the royal residence for the ruling family. The walls here are in better condition. Climb up on both sides as it offers a panoramic view of the landscape. The metal road twists and turns and takes people to “Meeri. From there, one can see “Shergarh”, another fortress, up in the mountain but there is no metal road beyond Meeri yet an old pass leads to Shergarh probably the highest place of the area.
The fort is grand which connects several bleak mountains of the Kirthar hills along contours. The entire fort structure has been built with stone and lime mortar. The fort is built in a zig-zag form with four entry gates in the shape of a rhomboid. The four gates are namely: Sann Gate, Amri Gate, Shah-Pere Gate and Mohan Gate. All other three gates are not in good condition whereas the Sann gate is well preserved and can be climbed to reach the top of the fort from both sides to get a scenic view of the terrain around the fort. This gate is also the entrance to the Meeri.
Although the weather around Ranikot Fort remains dry for the most part of the year and the area surrounding the fort is mostly barren, the view of the mesmerizing landscape from the top of the fortified walls is simply breathtaking. This place is also ideal for photography.
This historical site is easily accessible from Karachi. One has to drive through the well-paved Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway, more commonly referred to as Super Highway . It’ll take you about one and half hours to cross Jamshoro Toll Plaza. Then, you need to turn on Indus Highway and travel another hour and a half to reach the Ranikot Fort Road just after crossing Sann town from where almost 30 Km ahead lies this grand historical and tourist site. It can also be easily accessible from Dadu via Sehwan and from Hyderabad