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Jackson's descriptive notes on the historic fort of Bukkur, located midstream in the Indus as it flows between the Rohri and the more recent town of Sukkur, read: 'The fort of Bukkur is built upon a rocky (limestone) island, in the Indus; it is about eight hundred yards long, and three hundred broad, and is situate between Roree and Sukkur. The walls of the fortress enclose the island, and slope to the water's edge, excepting on the northern side, where there is a small space nearly covered with date trees. There is a gateway on each side, opposite to Roree and Sukkur, and in the interior, numerous houses and mosques. The fort was given up to the British by the Ameer of Khyrpoor, Meer Roostum, after a lengthened and difficult negotiation, conducted by Sir Alexander Burnes, who had been munificently entertained by him in 1831, on his way to Lahore, with presents for Runjeet Singh, from the King of England. By the arrangement entered into with that officer, it was agreed that the fort should remain in the occupation of the British, so long as the character of our external relations to the westward rendered it necessary for the general security. It was made the general depot of the army of the Indus, in consequence of its important situation.'
The island of Bukkur achieved prominence early in its history. In 1327, the Delhi king Muhammad Tughlaq sent only trustworthy governors to command Bukkur. The fortifications were rebuilt by Shah Beg Argun using material taken from the ancient Alor fort five miles away. During the reign of Akbar, the fort was handed over to his representative Keshu Khan. In the struggle between Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb, the sons of Shah Jahan, for the Mughal throne, the two grandsons of Dara Shikoh were murdered in the fort of Bukkur.
Fort of Bukkur Seen from Rohri 1838
Fort of Bukkur and Rohri seen from Sukkur, 1838
A Gateway of Bukkur fort, 1838
Rohri on the Indus, 1844
The town of Rohri and the fort of Bukkur, 1838
Identified by Jackson as a view of 'Hajee Ka Tau, an island just above the fort of Bukkur on the Indus', the sketch would appear to be of the tomb of the river saint Khwaja Khizr, regarded as having been built in 925 A.D. (A.H. 341). According to the legend recorded in the Chachnama, the tomb was built in gratitude by a Delhi merchant Shah Husain who, traveling down the Indus with his pretty daughter on their way to Mecca, was called upon by Dalurai (the Hindu ruler of Alor) to surrender the daughter. In her anxiety to avoid such an impious alliance, the girl prayed to Khwaja Khizr for deliverance and as she and her father sought to escape in a boat, the saint diverted the course of the Indus towards Rohri bringing the harassed father and daughter to safety. Khwaja Khizr, known also as the Jinda or living Pir, is said to be particularly protective of travelers.
The Shrine of Khawaja Khizr, near Bukkur fort, 1838
Island on the Indus below Bukkur, 1838
Fortress of Bukkur, 1838
Sukkur on the Indus, 1841
Bridge of boats across the Indus at Rohri, 1841