Ali Abid

SHEIKHUPURA - District Sheikhupura, which was established in 1922, is not only famous for quality rice in the country but also for its attraction due to presence of marvellously historical places.

Out of the famous sites are Hirn Minar, Sheikhupura Fort, mausoleum of Hazrat Pir Waris Shah located in Jandiala Sher Khan, Gurdawara Janam Asthan located in district Nankana Sahib some 55 km away from here. The shrines of Pir Bahar Shah and Daata Shah Jamal who were famous spiritual leaders also located in the city. A famous worship place of Sikh Yatrees is in Sacha Souda near Farooqabad where thousands of pilgrims arrive to perform their religious rites from across the world every year.

The important cities and towns are Feroze Wala, Safdarabad; Sharqpur Sharif, famous for religious saint Hazrat Mian Sher Muhammad (RA); Muridke, famous for cultivation of good quality rice; Narang Mandi, famous for rice production, and Khanqah Dogran which is famous for grain market.

At present, the district population has exceeded 2 million. There are five National assembly and 8 provincial assembly constituencies in the district. Eight other districts of the province are connected with Sheikhupura. They are Faisalabad, Narowal, Nankana Sahib, Hafizabad, Lahore, Kasur, Okara and India District Amratsar.

The main casts of the district are Virk (Jat) Rajpoots, Cheemas, Chattahs, Kharals, Bhattis, Arrians, Maans, Syeds, and Waghas etc. The history of Sheikhupura goes back to 100 BC. The research has established the facts that Sangla or Sakala was the capital of Punjab and it was here. Alexander the Great had fought his career’s most heroic and serious battles here.

The name of Sheikhupura was firstly quoted in the pages of Tuzuk-e-Jahangir, as Jahangir Pura due to the name of Salim Jahangir. Emperor Noor-ud- Din laid the foundation of Sheikhupura in 1607. The mother of Jehangir, who was Hindu, used to call her son Sheikhu Baba. Later due to his nick name of Jehangir’s nickname Sheikhu Baba, the name was changed as Sheikhupura. During the regime of emperor Salim from 1605 to 1627, Sheikhupura had the status of Royal Hunting ground. According to the Emperor Jehangir, a Minar and a grave of his deer antelope Mansraj were constructed 5 km away in northern east of the city. Hirn Minar is an interesting and popular tourist resort. Mughal Emperor Jahangir wrote in his biography book, Tuzke Jahangir, “I reside in Jahangir pura. According to my order, a Minar and a grave for my deer Mansraj were constructed here. He is best of all the wild deer.”

On this Minar, Mullah Muhammad Hassan Kashmiri who was the teacher of calligraphists wrote that in this ground King Jahangir caught a deer. After a month, when he became familiar with his surroundings he became the leader of all the deer. The name of the deer was Mansraj. One day when Jahangir was hunting in the Hirn Minar with his friends, unfortunately he saw a deer and attacked on it with his arrow and his deer died. He became very sad. The deer was buried in the same place where he died and constructed a tower, which got famous as “Hirn Minar”.

In front of the Minar, there’s a pool of water in which there is a beautiful Baradari. Irdat Khan constructed this Baradari in 1616. In April 1633, King Shah Jan came here and spent three days and ordered to maintain the building. He gave eight thousand rupees to make some changes in the building. When the construction of the Hirn Minar completed, it was some 130 feet high but later due to some accident its top story collapsed and now it is 110 feet high.

A spiral staircase consisting of 108 steps has been provided inside the Minar. Alongside the staircases, there are 11 ascending rectangular arched opening provided for air and light. From this ventilation, there is a good view of the pool, the Baradari and the surrounding areas. The Minar is entirely built of red stone with which gray stone has been used. There is a large pool of water, which is 750 feet wide and 890 feet long in the Hirn Minar. In the last few years, government used this pool for fishing contest, which occurs once in a year.

Local people are of the view that the government should take steps to renovate the buildings and provide facilities to tourists. It is good news for the tourists that the present government is constructing motorway interchange near Hirn Minar to provide maximum facility to the visitors and tourists. But the area people are disappointed due to the slow pace of work. They demanded the high ups for early completion of the interchange. 

The previous government had announced to set up a zoo at Hirn Minar but that dream could has not come true so for. But the boundary wall of the historical place is near to completion with the special interest of present government. It is responsibility of the authorities concerned to consider the matter to complete the zoo project as soon as possible to add more attraction to district.

The cleanliness condition is also poor. The responsible officials for the maintenance of the historical place did not bother to do their job. If proper cleanliness of this historical monument had been carried out, the number of tourists would have increased leading to increased income. The condition of rest house is also not so good. Moreover, the grounds are not properly levelled. The proper maintenance of grounds was also necessary. The security measures within the Hirn Minar were not effective as many incidents of theft, snatching of cars and motorcycles have become a routine matter.

Thus, the visitors are avoiding to visit this place. The overall repair of this monument was inevitable. If concerned authorities did not carry out the repair works of the entire building it is feared that this historical place’s glory would finish.