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SEHWAN
A town of unimpeachable antiquity, Sehwan, some eighty miles north-west of Hyderabad, lay on the opposite bank of the Indus. Most historians have accepted the link between Sehwan and the Greek settlement of Siwistan. It was significant enough during the 8th century to be conquered by Muhammad bin Qasim in 711 A.D., and two centuries later by Mahmud of Ghazni. An abortive attempt was made by the Mughal emperor Humayun to capture it on his way to Umarkot but it finally fell to his son Akbar. Apart from the remnants of the ruins scattered about its environs, the most famous monument in Sehwan remains the shrine of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.

RUINS AT SEHWAN, c. 1838
Lithograph published in Sir K.A. Jackson Views of
Affghaunistan (London, 1841), plate 12.


The accompanying notes provided by Jackson read: 'On the north side of the town is the ruined castle or fortress of Sehwaun, by which it is completely commanded; this is perhaps the most extraordinary building on the Indus, and no doubt constructed before the invasion by Alexander the Macedonian. It consists of a natural mound sixty feet high, encased in many parts with burnt brick. In fact, the fortress and mount are so amalgamated, that it is difficult now to distinguish what portions of it are the work of art. The gate is opposite to the side of the town, and has evidently been an arched one. The Emperor Humaioon in A.D.1541, attempted to take it, and was unsuccessful, it was invested by his son Acbar for seven months, who at length succeeded in its capture.
Captain Del Hoste of the Bombay Army, writing in 1839, provided this additional description: 'It is an artificial mound 80 or 90 paces high; on the top is a space of 1500 by 800 feet, surrounded by a broken wall. We examined the remains of several old towers of brick, and I took a hasty sketch of the gateway, which is remarkably lofty. The mound is evidently artificial, and the remains of several towers are visible. The brickwork seems to extend to the bottom of the mound, or, at any rate, to a considerable depth, as we could see down the the parts washed away by the rains. A well, filled up, was observed. We were told that coins and medals were frequently found in and near the place' (quoted in Hughes (1876), 724).

Ruins at Sehwan 1838
ENTRANCE TO SEHWAN, 1844
Lithograph by Charles Haghe based upon a sketch
by William Edwards,1844. Published in Sketches in
Scinde (London, 1846), Plate 7.
Edwards described the entrance and situation of Sehwan in the following words: 'The approach to Sehwan is through a grove of beautiful tamarind and palm trees. The city is built' on a rising ground on the banks of the river Arul, and is distant about two or three miles from the mighty and classic Indus. In the environs are many fine mosques and tombs, and within the city is a remarkably splendid musjid, built in honour of the celebrated Muslim saint, Lal Shah Baz. An object of great interest is the old castle of Sehwan, which, although now in ruins, is yet sufficiently perfect to attest its former strength.' About its most famous patron Edwards wrote:
'Lal Shah Baz was a saint of Khorassan, said to have been buriecFhere about 600 years since. His sanctity and miracles are in such repute that pilgrims flock from Afghanistan and India, and even the Princes of the country did him homage.'
Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a Persian by origin, died in 1272. His real name was Shaikh Usman Marwandi. An initial tomb for the saint built by Malik Iktiyaruddin in about 1356 was expanded by two rulers of the Tarkhan dynasty, Mirza Jani and his son Mirza Ghazi, and later in 1639 improved and embellished by Nawab Dindar Khan. The gateway and the balustrade of hammered silver around the tomb had been reputedly provided by Mir Karam Au Talpur. The Urs of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qal~ndar is normally held on the 18th of Shaban each year.

Entrance to Sehwan, 1844
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