Sheikhupura Fort Sheikhupura is a hidden jewel of the Mughal era.
It is located about 40 km northwest of Lahore. It was founded by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1607.
Sheikhupura is the sixteenth largest city and district of Pakistan in terms of population and its boundaries are shared by Lahore, Hafizabad, and Qasur districts.
The area was initially called Virk Garh or Fort Virk (Qila Virk) by the local Jat tribe.
When the Mughal emperor Jahangir laid the formal foundation of this city and ordered the construction of a royal fort here, the city was named Jahangirpura after Jahangir, which is mentioned in Jahangir’s autobiography “Tuzak e Jahangiri”.
History of Sheikhupura Fort (Qila Virk)
Jahangir’s mother affectionately called him Sheikho and from this nickname, the present name of the city Sheikhupura was adopted.
Jahangir also had the Haran Minar built near this city in memory of his favorite Haran Mansi Raj.
This forest area was used as a hunting ground for the royal family.
After the end of the Mughal Empire, Sheikhupura came under the control of the Bhatti clan.
The bandits and Sikh tribes of the surrounding areas started encroachment and attacks on the city limits, then the Bhatti tribe tried to maintain their possession which could not be effective.
In 1797, the Durrani king Shah Zaman briefly captured the city and the fort during his campaign to capture Lahore, after which the city fort was captured by the Sikh bandit Inder Singh.
As a result of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s removal of the Bhatti clan from the area and limiting it to the Pindi Bhatti and Jalalpur Bhatti area, the city finally became a part of the Sikh Musal Raj in 1808 and remained a part of the Sikh Empire until 1847.
When the British occupied the area, Jund Kaur, the last queen of the Sikh Empire, was imprisoned in the royal fort of Sheikhupura for 10 months and eventually exiled.
The lands of the Bhatti tribe, which had been occupied by the Sikhs, were handed back to them in keeping with the Act of Establishment of British Colonies. In 1919, Sheikhupura was given the status of a district.
At the time of the partition of India, the Sikh population in this district was 19%. The Sikhs believed that the area from Sheikhupura to Nankana Sahib (the birthplace of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism) would be annexed to India.
But this did not happen and as a result of the riots between Sikhs and Muslims between August 16, 1947, and August 31, 1947, around 10,000 people died here.
A camp of 100,000 Sikh refugees was established at Sacha Sauda near the city.
Note: Now this fort is a picture of helplessness and is a testament to the negligence of the administration, which must be preserved as soon as possible so that this Pak Virsa heritage can regain its lost vitality.