Gujrat is an ancient district of Pakistan located in between two famous rivers, i.e, River Jehlum and River Chenab. Because of it's proximity with the rivers the land is good for cultivation with rice and sugar cane as main crops. It is bounded on the North-East by Jammu and Kashmir, on the North-West by the River Jhelum which separates it from Jhelum district, on the East and South-East by the river Chenab, separating it from the districts of Gujranwala and Sialkot, and on the West by Mandi Bahauddin district. District Gujrat is spread over an area of 3,192 square kilometres and comprises of the three tehsils of Gujrat ,Kharian and Sarai Alamgir.There are many historic villages in the district such as Chakdina, Kunjah is also a historic town in this district having a wide political importance.
According to historians, Gujrat was founded by Bacchan Pal, a Hindu prince who migrated from the Ganga valley and settled near the Jhelum and Chenab in 460 BC. He became captivated with the beauty of the area, calling it Oudhay Nagri, or the city of eternal perfume. Later, Raja Bhadar Singh’s wife Rani Gujjran rebuilt the old city and gave it the name of Gujjar Nagar. However, General Cunningham, a British historian and researcher, claimed that Ali Khan, the chief of the Gujjar clan, rebuilt Gujjar Nagar and renamed it Ulkhana, which was destroyed by Shankar Verma between 888 to 901 AD. The area was largely Hindu until 1011 AD, when Mehmood Ghaznavi, on his sixth attempt, invaded and sacked the city. Gujrat was again rebuilt and Bhalole Lodhi founded the first Muslim government in 1453 AD. A town named Bhalolepur after him refers to the founding of the first Muslim city in the region. No local chiefs tried to expand or consolidate its domestic and political government until Mughal Emperor Akbar, who laid the foundation for Gujrat city in 1580 and appointed Dasnat Roy and Wazir Khan Mughal to supervise the construction work. Ganesh Das Wadera, a historian, in his book Chahar Bagh Punjab says that Gujrat was founded in 1589 and Nadir Shah destroyed the city in 1738. Ahmed Shah Durrani than conquered Gujrat in 1741 and appointed Muqarrab Khan as its governor. After that Kaka Singh, Charhat Singh and Gujjar Singh were the prominent Sikh rulers of Gujrat from 1765 to 1787.
Attractions: Gujrat Fort
The Gujrat Fort in Khawajgan, constructed in 1596-7 by Akbar, reflects the beauty of Mughal architecture and is facing extinction. The fort had eight gates, prominent among them the Kabuli Gate facing Kabul, the Faisal Gate, Shahdoula Gate, named after famous saint Kabiruddin Shahdoula Daryai, Kalra Gate, named after a shanty town on the outskirts of the fort, and the Shishianwala Gate, which was famous for the glass work carved on its roof. However, Professor Sharif Kunjahi, a local historian, argues that the word “Shishi” is a Scandinavian word for graveyard. Hence, there would have been a graveyard near the gate and the name stuck to it with the passage of time. According to the Gujrat Gazetteer (1893-4), Jalalpur Jattan city was founded by a Gujjar named Jalal and Kula Chor, and a place in Jalalpur Jattan, was built by Chander Gupt Morya, an Indian ruler in 300 BC. Excavations in the area revealed that Kula Chor was the mint of the Moryan Dynasty. A fort was also built at Islamgarh, near Karianwala, known as Islamgarh Fort. Mahaja Ranjit Singh also built his mint here in 1828.
BegumpuraThe locality of Begumpura is also of historical importance. According to historians, a girl was born in the home of Chitar Sen, a Hindu prince of Rajour during the reign of Shah Jehan (1628-1658). During that time, all female children were killed in Sen’s family, but he loved the baby and decided to break with tradition. In distress, he came to Shahdoula Daryai for advice. He named the girl Raj Bai and told Sen that his daughter would be the mother of the rulers of India. Bai grew up and married Aurangzeb, the son of Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. She gave birth to Moazzam Shah and Mohammad Shah, popularly knows as Bahaddur Shah, the last Mughal ruler of India. Raj Bai was buried near the Shrine of Shahdoula. Dinga, a small city, was called Shah Jehanpur and was founded by Chaudhry Wali Dad. It was given the name Dinga because of its narrow streets.
There are daily train and bus services from Islamabad, Multan, Lahore, sukkur, Karachi etc. to Gujrat.