Archaeologies

QALAMDARCHI FORT

Skardu Valley

It is strategically located at the junction of three valleys: Kilik, Mintika and Dilesung. The Qalamdarchi Fort was built by the British administration in 1932-33 as a way to control the Wakhan Corridor.

Name:    Qalamdarchi Fort

Period /Age:   75 years old

Location:   Misghar, Upper Hunza

Ownership:   Pakistan Army

Legal Status:   Not Protected

Cultural Heritage Type:  Fort

Documentation Date:  26-07-2005

Resource Person/Reference:

Significance:   This fort is part of the legacy of British colonisation in this region.


Site Description:     

The Qalamdarchi Fort was built by the British administration in 1932-33 as a way to control the Wakhan Corridor. It is strategically located at the junction of three valleys: Kilik, Mintika and Dilesung. The Kilik and Mintika valleys connect the region to China, while the Dilesung valley connects to the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan. The fort was named after an ascetic who wandered naked in the region. After the territory acquired independence from the British and was incorporated into the state of Pakistan, the fort fell under control of the Gilgit Scouts, The NLI (Northern Light Infantry) and the Pakistan Army successively. Its original structure has undergone several metamorphic changes during these periods.This fort has around sixty rooms, including dormitories, storage rooms, service rooms, and sanitation spaces. The outer fortified wall has a thickness of three to four feet, and is made of stone set in lime mortar. The boundary wall envelops the square-shaped area of the fort, with a watchtower on each of its four corners. The average height of the fortified wall is twenty feet. The height of each watchtower extends another ten feet above the boundary wall. The fort’s only entrance has a steel gate that is nine inches in thickness.


Salient Features:     

The most significant features of the Qalamdarchi Fort include its fortified wall with towers at each corner, and the thick iron gate at the main entrance. The fort has an impressively impenetrable appearance, and its construction reflects the colonial architecture of the Indian subcontinent.    

State of Conservation:     

The Qalamdarchi Fort is currently in a satisfactory condition due to the sustained maintenance efforts of the Pakistan Army. Its adaptive reuse should be given careful thought, especially in light of its custodian institution.
 

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