Khairpur is a large district of Sindh with several historical sites & monuments; the fort of KOTDIJI is one of them.
The former ruler of Khairpur state Mir Sohrab Khan Talpur founded three forts to safeguard the frontiers of his rule. Those were “Shah Garh”, towards Jodhpur – Jaisalmer, “Imam Garh” in the Thar region & “Qilla Ahmedabad” in capital town of Kotdiji.
This 19th century Talpur era fort is situated about 25 km north wards of district head quarter Khairpur in Kotdiji town was built between 1785-95.
This magnificent fort made from klin baked bricks sits atop about 110 ft. high semi-circular lime stone hillock. Its walls are 30 ft. high from surface level encompassing the upper most portion of the fort resulting a narrow width fortress with perimeter of 1.8 kms.
Kotdiji fort has its main entrance on the east placed at 90° saving it against any raiding enemy. It’s 13 ft. high & 10ft wide strong door was made by joining big wooden logs having 234 iron spikes fixed in it.
After passing through a curved narrow ascending path comes the second gate. It’s …. ft high having… Iron spikes fixed.
The main portion of this fort is beyond third & last gate locally known as “Shahi Darwazo” (The Royal gate).
The Kotdiji fort was solely designed & built for defence purpose. It was well equipped to offer fool proof security & encounter any invasion. Besides commander’s house it contained inside the supporting bastions, watch towers, ammunition depot, Mir’s Haram, Pavilion for holding Darbar/ court and cells or Barracks soldiers rank wize.
The fort possesses fifty strategically erected bastions for placement of small & big cannons as well as keep vigilant eye over enemy movement. In order to keep an identity according to their situation the bastions were named so for. A bastion/ Burj besides Shahi Darwazo was named as “Fateh Thul” (Victory Tower) It was so strategically constructed that from this point most of the fort either above or below is in close eye contact of the commander, for proper security check. The other bastions were named as” Saffan Saffa”, ” Mulk Maidan”, Mariam Burj, Jaisalmeri Burj & Shaheed Badshah Burj. Four big cannons were placed on them standing to each direction.
Facing the Shahi Darwazo there are two roofs less rooms. Amongst them one served as food commodity store & the other one used to be lamp godown. The prominent room having small square holes in the walls were once used as lamp godown of the fort where the clay & glass lamps were kept, cleaned & fuel filled for every cell. In front of it is water pond like place about 4 mtr deep, measuring around 11 mtr long & 7 mtr wide. Pillars standing inside & post holes indicate its past roofing. It was ammuni-tion depot of the fort where light weapons & gun powder was stored.
One of the fascinating feature of this fort is a sand stone made “Pavilion”. Its beautifully carved arches & the platform attract the visitors eye immediately. The than ruler of the state used to grace a court or Darbar & issue some important order on special occasions.
After British invasion the administrative offices were shifted to Khairpur. Hence forth the importance of Kotdiji fort was gradually declined. In the circumstances it was converted into a central prison where notorious criminals of the area & from native States were jailed. In 1955, after merger of Khairpur state with Pakistan this fort was handed over to Government by the last ruler Mir Ali Murad Khan Talpur II. As a result of 18th Constitutional amendment this historical monument came under the custody of Government of Sindh.