Plateau (Punjabi: پوٹھوار, Urdu: سطح
مرتفع پوٹھوہار; alternatively spelled
Potwar) is a plateau in north-eastern Pakistan, forming the northern
part of Punjab. It borders the western parts of
Azad Kashmir and the
southern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The region was once the home of
Soanian culture, which is evidenced by the discovery of
fossils, tools, coins, and remains of ancient archaeological sites.
The major language of the region is Pothwari, while the standard Majhi
dialect of Punjabi and
Hindko are also spoken. Other dialects include
Dhani diaelect, Shahpuri and Chacchi.
Potohar is home to many different clans including Khatris, Abbasi,
Awans, Jatts, Bhatti Rajputs, Hanjra Rajput, [Janjua Rajput]]s,
Satti Rajputs, Mangral Rajput, Tarkhans, Gujjars,
Gakhar clans and many others.
3 Other facts
4 See also
6 External links
Plateau is bounded on the east by the
Jhelum River, on the
west by the
Indus River, on the north by the
Kala Chitta Range
Kala Chitta Range and the
Margalla Hills, and on the south by the Salt Range. The Kala Chitta
Range thrusts eastward across the plateau towards Rawalpindi; the
valleys of the Haro and Soan rivers cross the plateau from the eastern
foothills to the Indus. The land of Pothohar and in general the whole
of the Indian subcontinent was attributed as "Golden Sparrow" by East
India Company. The ramparts of the
Salt Range stretching from east
to west in the south separate
Potohar from the Punjab Plain. The
Plateau includes the current four districts of Jhelum, Chakwal,
Rawalpindi, Attock. The terrain is undulating. The Kala Chitta
Range rises to an average height of 450-900 metres and extends for
about 72 kilometres. The
Swaan River starts from nearby
ends near Kalabagh in the
Sakesar is the highest mountain
of this region.
Most of the hills and rivers are bordered by dissected ravine belts.
The streams, due to constant rejuvenation, are deep set and of little
use for irrigation.
Agriculture is dependent largely on rainfall,
which averages 380-500 mm annually; rainfall is greatest in the
northwest and declines to arid conditions in the southwest. The chief
crops are wheat, barley, sorghum, and legumes, onions, melons, and
tobacco are grown in the more fertile areas near the River Indus.
The diverse wildlife includes urial, chinkara, chukar, hare, mongoose,
wild boar, and yellow-throated marten. Due to low rain fall, extensive
deforestation, coal mining, oil and gas exploration, the area is
becoming devoid of vegetation. The under water areas of lakes (Uchali,
Khabeki, Jhallar and Kallar Kahar) have been reduced to much smaller
areas than in the past.
The plateau is the location of major Pakistani oil fields, the first
of which were discovered at Khaur (1915) and Dhuliān (1935); the Tut
field was discovered in 1968, and exploration continued in the area in
the 1970s. The oil fields are connected by pipeline to the Attock
Refinery in Rawalpindi.
A major oil reserve has been discovered near
Jhelum in Punjab, opening
up a new area for exploitation of hydrocarbon potential.
With an estimated production of 5,500 barrels per day, the Ghauri X-1
oil well is expected to be the country’s largest oil-producing well
and is likely to start contributing its output to the system by the
end of June,2014.
The major cities of
Islamabad and Rawalpindi, and the smaller cities
Attock are situated on the plateau.
Tilla Jogian, 2nd highest peak in Pothohar.
Rohtas Fort gate
Centuries old banyan tree inside
Pharwala Fort, Potohar.
Existence of the
Soanian culture finds its home on the plateau. The
Indus Valley civilization is known to have flourished in the same
region between the 23rd and 18th centuries BC. Some of the earliest
Stone Age artifacts in the world have been found on the plateau,
dating from 500,000 to 100,000 years. The crude stone recovered from
the terraces of the Soan carry the account of human grind and
endeavors in this part of the world from the inter-glacial period.
The Stone Age people produced their equipment in a sufficiently
homogenous way to justify their grouping. Around 3000 BC, small
village communities developed in the area, which led to the early
roots of civilization.
Rawalpindi Gazetteer 1894 (see also Baburnama). This clan now live all
over the region and famous villages are Samote, Sagri, Manyanda,
Sakrana, Bishandoot, etc.
The ruins of the
Shahi destroyed by
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni in the 11th
century and of ancient
Gandhara destroyed in the 6th century by the
Hunas (Indo-Hephthalites) litter the countryside.
Ancient Taxila is an ancient
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site located on the
plateau. Taxila (then called taksh-shila) was
Hindu and Buddhist seat
of learning, connected across the Khunjerab pass to the Silk Road,
attracting students from all over the world. Ancient Takshashila was
renowned all over the world as home to a great university. It came
under the control of the first Persian known then as the Achaemenid
Empire followed by
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great and then the Sassanians (see
Indo-Sassanian). As a city in
Gandhara it flourished during the
first-fifth centuries AD. It was finally destroyed in c.450-c.565 by
The material remains found on the site of the city of
the existence of a
Gandhara Buddhist establishment contemporary to
Taxila but less celebrated than its neighbor. It appears that the
ancient city also went into oblivion as a result of the same Hunas
devastation. The Gakhar chief Jhanda Khan restored it and gave it the
Rawalpindi after the village Rawal in 1493 AD. Today it is the
twin city of the capital of Pakistan,
Islamabad which was built next
Rohtas Fort located in the Potwar is another
UNESCO World Heritage
site, built by
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri in 1541 to control the
remained loyal to the deposed Mughal Emperor Humayun.
Rawat Fort is located 17 kilometres (11 mi) east of Rawalpindi,
Grand Trunk Road
Grand Trunk Road leading to Lahore. The grave of a Gakhar
Chief, Sultan Sarang Khan is located inside the fort. He died in 1546
AD fighting against the forces of Sher Shah Suri. If one dares to
climb the broken steps inside the tomb, one may get a panoramic view
of the plateau and the
Mankiala Stupa. The remains of this Buddhist
Stupa lie about 32 km south east of
Rawalpindi in Mankiala
village. Apparently, this
Gandhara stupa was built in the reign of
Kanishka (128-151 AD). According to legend, Buddha had sacrificed
parts of his body here, to feed seven hungry tiger-cubs. In 1930,
several gold, silver and copper coins (660 - 730 AD) and a bronze
Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions, were discovered from this
Pharwala Fort is about 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Rawalpindi
beyond Lehtrar road. The Gakhar ruler, Sultan Kai Gohar built it in
10th century on the ruins of a 10th-century
Shahi Fort. Emperor
Babur attacked the fort in 1519 AD before Hati Khan had acknowledged
Salt Range is dotted with
Hindu temples, of which the most notable
is the Katasraj temple. Located 25 kilometres (16 mi) from
Chakwal, Katasraj is notable in many ways. The temple was abandoned by
local Hindu's when they migrated to
East Punjab in 1947. Many legends
sacred to the Hindu's are associated with it, some of them involving
Shiva himself. It has always been the site of holy pilgrimage. Even
nowadays, through an agreement between India and Pakistan, Hindu
worshippers perform a pilgrimage to the temple every year and bathe in
the sacred pool around which Katasraj is built. Legend says that the
Pandava brothers, heroes of the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata,
stayed here for four out of the 14 years that they spent in exile.
While Katas Raj has not received much publicity, the two semi-ruined
temples of the
Shahi period (650-950 AD) have been frequently
photographed by newspapers and history journals.
A joint project with Professors Abdur Rehman, past Chairman of the
Department of Archaeology, University of Peshawar, and Farid Khan,
founder of the
Pakistan Heritage Society, has begun to analyse and
document these important monuments in the history of South Asian
temple architecture with funding from the University of Pennsylvania.
Two seasons of excavation have been carried out at the site of North
The Pothohar region also lends its name to the
Suzuki Jimny SJ-410
model, which was branded as the Suzuki
Potohar for the Pakistani
Sivapithecus indicus fossil skull, which was discovered in Potohar
Tribes and clans of the Pothohar Plateau
^ "Salt Range: A Hidden Treasure". Daily Times. Retrieved
^ "Pothohar the golden sparrow". ITslum Inc. Retrieved
^ Gohar Social Studies base 4 , By S.A. Siddiqi , PAGE 6 , Gohar
^ "Rohtas Fort". Travel Web. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
^ "Rohtas Fort". UNESCO-World Heritage. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
Salt Range Temples, Pakistan". University of Pennsylvania-School of
Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 2008-06-08.
^ A partial hominoid innominate from the Miocene of Pakistan:
Description and preliminary analyses
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pothohar Plateau.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Pothohar Plateau.
Jhelum - Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 Online Edition
Gujrat - Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 Online Edition
Plateau - Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia
Britannica Premium Service
Pothohar History in Urdu - Pothohari Sher songs drama, Sehat, Music
Regional Studies of the Potwar
Plateau Area, Northern
States Geological Survey
Kala Chitta Range
Sind Sagar Doab