Pothohar Plateau
سطح مرتفع پوٹھوہار
Highest point
Elevation1,900 ft (580 m)[1]
Pothohar Plateau is located in Pakistan
Pothohar Plateau
Pothohar Plateau (Pakistan)
Range coordinates32°58′N 72°15′E / 32.967°N 72.250°E / 32.967; 72.250[2]
Mountain typePlateau

The Pothohar Plateau (Punjabi, Urdu: سطح مرتفع پوٹھوہار), also known as Pothwar or North Panjab (Panjistan Region), is a plateau in Punjab, Pakistan, located between the Indus and Jhelum rivers.[1][2]


Tilla Jogian, 2nd highest peak in Jhelum District

Pothohar 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 and the Margalla Hills, and on the south by the Salt Range.[1] The southern end of the plateau is bounded by the Thal desert.[1] The 5000 square miles of the plateau range from an average height of 1200 to 1900 feet above the sea level.[1] Sakesar in the Salt Range is the highest mountain of the region and Tilla Jogian is the second highest. One of the five rivers of the Punjab, the Jhelum River flows through the Pothohar.[3]


Ruins of Dharmarajika Stupa in Taxila. It was destroyed during the Hunnic invasions in the 6th century.

The earliest evidence of human habitation in Punjab traces to the Soan valley of the Pothohar, where Soanian culture developed between 774,000 BC and 11,700 BC. This period goes back to the first interglacial period in the second Ice Age, from which remnants of stone and flint tools have been found.[4]

The Sivapithecus indicus fossil skull of an extinct ape species was discovered in Potohar plateau.[5]

Taxila was the capital city of ancient Gāndhāra, situated on the eastern shore of the Indus River—the pivotal junction of the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia;[6] it was founded around 1000 BCE. Some ruins at Taxila date to the time of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, followed successively by the Maurya Empire, the Indo-Greek Kingdom, the Indo-Scythians, and the Kushan Empire. Owing to its strategic location, Taxila has changed hands many times over the centuries, with many polities vying for its control. When the great ancient trade routes connecting these regions ceased to be important, the city sank into insignificance and was finally destroyed in the 5th century by the invading Hunas. In the 15th century, Pothohar became part of Malik Jasrat's kingdom who had conquered most of Punjab from the Delhi Sultanate.[7] In mid-19th century British India, ancient Taxila's ruins were rediscovered by British archaeologist Alexander Cunningham. In 1980, UNESCO designated Taxila as a World Heritage Site.[8] By some accounts, the University of ancient Taxila is considered to be one of the earliest universities in the world.[9][10][11][12][13] Because of the extensive preservation efforts and upkeep, Taxila is one of Punjab's popular tourist spots, attracting up to one million tourists every year.[14][15]

During the Mughal Period, the Pothohar was a part of the Subah of Lahore.[16]

"The land is beautiful, its scented air is that of spring, and the Pothwar is an appealing and beautiful garden."[17]

— Kaigoharnameh, Medieval Persian Manuscript

The Punjab played a major role in the war effort of World War II, and a large proportion of these soldiers came from the Pothohar as well as the Salt Range.[18]


The native people of the Pothohar are Punjabis, speaking Punjabi and its dialects.[19] Pothwari is named after the region, and other commonly spoken dialects include Majhi (Standard Punjabi).[20]

The major biradaris of the region (Punjabi: برادری) include Rajputs, Jatts, Awans, Janjuas, Gujjars, Khokhars, and Gakhars.[21][22][23][24] Prior to the partition of India, other biradaris including the Khatris, Mohyal Brahmins, and Aroras were also present in large numbers throughout the region.[25][26][27]


The plateau covers about 7 percent of all the cultivated land of Pakistan and most of it is very fertile, but the region does not have any proper irrigation system, with the agriculture being largely dependent on rainfall.[28]

The plateau is the location of major Pakistani oil fields, the first of which were discovered at Khaur in 1915 and Dhuliān in 1935; the Tut field was discovered in 1968, Missa Keswal was discovered in 1992 and exploration continued in the area in the 1990s. The oil fields are connected by pipeline to the Attock Refinery in Rawalpindi.[29] Major reserves of oil and gas has been discovered at Chak Beli Khan near Rawalpindi in Punjab. A major oil reserve has been discovered near Jhelum in Punjab, opening up a new area for exploitation of hydrocarbon potential (e.g., Meyal Field[30]). 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.

Due to low rain fall, extensive deforestation, coal mining, oil and gas exploration, the area is becoming devoid of vegetation.

Important sites


Panorama of the Jaulian monastery

Taxila's archaeological sites lie near modern Taxila about 35 km (22 mi) northwest of the city of Rawalpindi.[31] The sites were first excavated by John Marshall, who worked at Taxila over a period of twenty years from 1913.[32]

The vast archaeological site includes neolithic remains dating to 3360 BCE, and Early Harappan remains dating to 2900–2600 BCE at Sarai Kala.[33] Taxila, however, is most famous for ruins of several settlements, the earliest dating from around 1000 BCE. It is also known for its collection of Buddhist religious monuments, including the Dharmarajika stupa, the Jaulian monastery, and the Mohra Muradu monastery.

The main ruins of Taxila include four major cities, each belonging to a distinct time period, at three different sites. The earliest settlement at Taxila is found in the Hathial section, which yielded pottery shards that date from as early as the late 2nd millennium BCE to the 6th century BCE. The Bhir Mound ruins at the site date from the 6th century BCE, and are adjacent to Hathial. The ruins of Sirkap date to the 2nd century BCE, and were built by the region's Greco-Bactrian kings who ruled in the region following Alexander the Great's invasion of the region in 326 BCE. The third and most recent settlement is that of Sirsukh, which was built by rulers of the Kushan empire, who ruled from nearby Purushapura (modern Peshawar).

Rohtas Fort

Rohtas Fort was built upon a hill overlooking the Pothohar Plateau.

Rohtas Fort is a 16th-century fortress located near the city of Jhelum in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The fort is one of the largest and most formidable in the subcontinent.[34] Rohtas Fort was never taken by force,[35] and it has remained remarkably intact.[35]

The fortress was built by Raja Todar Mal on the orders of Sher Shah Suri.

The fort is known for its large defensive walls and several monumental gateways. Rohtas Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, as an "exceptional example of the Muslim military architecture of Central and South Asia."[35]

Katas Raj Temples

The complex consists of several temples and associated structures.

The Katas Raj Temples also known as Qila Katas,[36] is a complex of several Hindu temples connected to one another by walkways.[36] The temple complex surrounds a pond named Katas which is regarded as sacred by Hindus.[37]

The temples' pond is said in the Puranas to have been created from the teardrops of Shiva, after he wandered the Earth inconsolable after the death of his wife Sati.[37][36] The pond occupies an area of two kanals and 15 marlas, with a maximum depth of 20 feet.

The temples play a role in the Hindu epic poem, the Mahābhārata,[38] where the temples are traditionally believed to have been the site where the Pandava brothers spent a significant portion of their exile.[37]

Rawat Fort

Rawat Fort

Rawat Fort is an early 16th century fort in the Pothohar plateau of Pakistan, near the city of Rawalpindi in the province of Punjab. The fort was built to defend the Pothohar plateau from the forces of the Pashtun king Sher Shah Suri.[39]

Tilla Jogian

An abandoned pond at Tilla Jogian

Tilla Jogian is an abandoned Hindu temple and monastic complex located on the summit of the Tilla Jogian mountain in the Salt Range of Pakistan's Punjab province. The complex was the most important centre for Hindu jogis in Punjab prior to 1947, and had housed hundreds of ascetics. The site is also important in Sikhism for its association with the founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak.

Khewra Salt Mine

Khewra Salt Mine tunnel (Crystal Valley)

The Khewra Salt Mine in Khewra is the second largest salt mine in the world.[40][41][42]

The mine is famous for its production of pink Khewra salt, often marketed as Himalayan salt, and is a major tourist attraction, drawing up to 250,000 visitors a year.[43] Its history dates back to its discovery by Alexander's troops in 320 BC, but it started trading in the Mughal era.[44]

Mankyala Stupa

Restored view of the Manikyala Stupa

The Manikyala Stupa (Urdu: مانكياله اسٹوپ) is a Buddhist stupa near the village of Tope Mankiala, in the Pothohar region of Pakistan's Punjab province. The stupa was built to commemorate the spot, where according to the Jataka tales, an incarnation of the Buddha called Prince Sattva sacrificed himself to feed seven hungry tiger cubs.[45][46]

Mankiala stupa's relic deposits were discovered by Jean-Baptiste Ventura in 1830. The relics were then removed from the site during the British Raj, and are now housed in the British Museum.[47]

Notable People

See also


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  2. ^ a b Öztürk, Münir Ahmet; Khan, Shujaul Mulk; Altay, Volkan; Efe, Recep; Egamberdieva, Dilfuza; Khassanov, Furkat O. (2022). Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability in Asia: Volume 2: Prospects and Challenges in South and Middle Asia. Springer Nature. p. 912. ISBN 978-3-030-73943-0.
  3. ^ MacLagan, R. (1885). "The Rivers of the Punjab". Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography. 7 (11): 705–719. doi:10.2307/1801407. ISSN 0266-626X. JSTOR 1801407.
  4. ^ Mohinder, Singh (1989). History and culture of Panjab. Atlantic Publishers and Distributors. OCLC 220695807.
  5. ^ A partial hominoid innominate from the Miocene of Pakistan: Description and preliminary analyses
  6. ^ Raymond Allchin, Bridget Allchin, The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan. Cambridge University Press, 1982 p.127 ISBN 052128550X
  7. ^ Lal, K. S. (1958). "Jasrat Khokhar". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 21: 274–281. ISSN 2249-1937.
  8. ^ UNESCO World Heritage Site, 1980. Taxila: Multiple Locations. Retrieved 13 January 2007.
  9. ^ Needham, Joseph (2004). Within the Four Seas: The Dialogue of East and West. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-36166-8.
  10. ^ Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (2004). A History of India (4th ed.). New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-32919-4. In the early centuries the centre of Buddhist scholarship was the University of Taxila."((cite book)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  11. ^ Muniapan, Balakrishnan; Shaikh, Junaid M. (2007). "Lessons in corporate governance from Kautilya's Arthashastra in ancient India". World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development. 3 (1). Kautilya was also a Professor of Politics and Economics at Taxila University. Taxila University is one of the oldest known universities in the world and it was the chief learning centre in ancient India."((cite journal)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  12. ^ Mookerji, Radha Kumud (1988) [1966], Chandragupta Maurya and his times (4th ed.), Motilal Banarsidass, p. 478, ISBN 81-208-0433-3. Thus the various centres of learning in different parts of the country became affiliated, as it were, to the educational centre, or the central university, of Taxila which exercised a kind of intellectual suzerainty over the wide world of letters in India."((citation)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  13. ^ Mookerji 1988, p. 479. This shows that Taxila was a seat not of elementary, but higher, education, of colleges or a university as distinguished from schools."
  14. ^ Raheela Nazir (2018-05-12). "Feature: Pakistan in efforts to rejuvenate Taxila, one of most important archaeological sites in Asia". XINHUANET.com. Archived from the original on 11 May 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  15. ^ "Taxila: an illustration of fascinating influences of multiple civilisations". Daily Times. 13 May 2018.
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  19. ^ "Population Profile Punjab | Population Welfare Department". pwd.punjab.gov.pk. Retrieved 2023-02-15.
  20. ^ John, Asher (2009). "Two dialects one region : a sociolinguistic approach to dialects as identity markers". CardinalScholar 1.0.
  21. ^ Panjab. (1895). Gazetteer of the Rawalpindi district. "Civil and Military Gazette" Press. OCLC 455118747.
  22. ^ Singh, Kumar Suresh (2003). People of India: Jammu & Kashmir. Anthropological Survey of India. p. xxiii. ISBN 978-81-7304-118-1. Gujars of this tract are wholly Muslims, and so are the Khokhar who have only a few Hindu families. In early stages the converted Rajputs continued with preconversion practices.
  23. ^ Malik, M. Mazammil Hussain (1 November 2009). "Socio-Cultural and Economic Changes among Muslims Rajputs: A Case Study of Rajouri District in J&K". Epilogue. 3 (11): 48. Rajputs Kokhar were the domiciles of India and were originally followers of Hinduism, later on they embraced Islam and with the passage of time most of them settled near Jehlam, Pindadan Khan, Ahmed Abad and Pothar. In Rajouri District, Khokhars are residing in various villages.
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  46. ^ Cunningham, Sir Alexander (1871). Four Reports Made During the Years, 1862-63-64-65. Government Central Press. p. 155. As Buddha offers his body to appease the hunger of the seven starving tiger - cubs , so Râsâlu offers himself instead of the woman's only son who was destined to ... Lastly , the scene of both legends is laid at Manikpur or Mânikyâla
  47. ^ The British Museum Collection