Population : 1,406,214
Language : Pothohari,Urdu
Phone Code : 051
Climate : Hot in summers , cold in winters
Activities/Interests : Parks, Cinemas
Shrines : Shah Chin Chiragh
Best Time to Visit : March,.April
Rawalpindi city, Punjab province, northern Pakistan. It was the capital of
Pakistan from 1959 to 1969. The city lies on the Potohar Plateau and is
situated 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Islamabad, the national capital.
Rawalpindi ("Village of Rawals") occupies the site of an old village
inhabited by the Rawals, a group of yogis (ascetics). Certain ruins on the
site are identified with the ancient city Gajipur, or Gajnipur, the
capital of the Bhatti tribe before the Common era. Destroyed during the
Mongol invasion (14th century AD), the town was restored by the Gakkhar
chief Jhanda Khan, who gave it its present name. It grew rapidly in
importance when Milka Singh, a Sikh adventurer, occupied it in 1765 and
invited settlers from the Jhelum and Shahpur areas to settle there. The
British annexed it in 1849.
The Leh River separates the city from the cantonment (permanent military
station), and a satellite town has been built on the Murree Road.
Rawalpindi is an important administrative, commercial, and industrial
centre. Its industries include locomotive works, gasworks, an oil
refinery, sawmills, an iron foundry, a brewery, and cotton, hosiery, and
textile mills; it also produces shoes, leather goods, pottery, newsprint,
and tents. An annual horse fair is held in April. Rawalpindi was
incorporated as a municipality in 1867 and contains Ayub National Park,
Liaqat Gardens, a polytechnic school, a police-training institute, an
armed forces medical college, and several colleges affiliated with the
University of the Punjab. It is also the Pakistan army headquarters.
Rawalpindi is the starting point of the route into Kashmir and is
connected by the Grand Trunk Road, rail, and air with the cities of
Peshawar and Lahore and by rail and air with Karachi.
Wheat, barley, corn (maize), and millet are the chief crops grown in the
surrounding area. The nearby Rawal Dam, on the Kurang River, completed in
1961-62, provides Rawalpindi and Islamabad with water.
In ancient times the locality formed part of Gandhara and was included in
the Achaemenid Persian Empire. The ancient city of Taxila has been
identified with ruins located near Shahderi, northwest of Rawalpindi.
Mankial, south of Rawalpindi, is a Buddhist stupa site (3rd century BC)
Pop. (1981) city, 794,843; (1981 prelim.) metropolitan area, 1,299,000.
The materiel remained found on the site of the city of Rawalpindi prove
the existance of a Buddhist establishment contemporary to Taxila but less
celebrated than its neighbor does. It appears that the Ancient city went
into oblivation as a result of the Hun devastation. The first Muslim
endeavor, Mahmood of Ghasni (979-1030 AD) gifted the ruined city to a
Ghakkar Chief, Kai Gohar. The town, however being on indavours route,
could not prosper and remain deserted until Jahanda Khan, another Ghakkar
Chief, resorted it and gave the name of Rawalpindi after the village Rawal
in 1943 AD. Rawalpindi remained under the rule of Ghakkars till Muqrab
Khan, the last Ghakkar rullar, was defeated by Sikhs in 1765 AD. Sikhs
invited traders from other places to settle here. This brought the city
into prominence. Sikhs lost the city to British Army and they established
a contonment south of the old city. In 1879 , the Punjab northern Railway
was extented to Rawalpindi but the train service was formally inagurated
on January 01, 1886.
Over the years, Rawalpindi has retained its traditional flavor. However
some modern residential areas and buildings have come up all over the town
since the creation of Pakistan. Pakistan's new capital, Islamabad, being
the twin city of Rawalpindi, equally shares the same archaeological and
The Old City and Bazaars
The bazaars of the old city offer exciting bargains. You can leisurely
browse in the quaint old shops in Saddar bazaar, Moti bazaar, Raja bazaar
and Kashmiri bazaar while Sarafa bazaar is famous for beaten gold and
silver jewellery, brass and copper-ware.
Rawalpindi specializes in handicrafts such as inlaid sheesham and walnut
furniture, Kashmiri silver, shawls and jackets, embroidered and woolen 'Kurtas'
and household linen, Potohar Jooties and Chappals (slippers), cane baskets
and furniture, walking sticks and hand-woven Kashmiri and Bokhara carpets.
You can go shopping for these items at handicraft and carpet shops in
Saddar bazaar, especially around Flashman's Hotel and Rawalpindi Club
building on the Mall.
PARKS AND GARDENS
Liaquat Memorial Hall and Garden
This hall was built in memory of late Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first
Prime Minister of Pakistan. It has a large auditorium and library. Art
exhibitions, cultural shows and stage plays are performed here frequently.
A well-laid garden with sports facilities and children's park has been
developed near the hall.
Ayub National Park
Ayub National Park is located beyond the old Presidency on Grand Trunk (G.T.)
Road. It covers an area of about 2,300 acres and has a play-land, lake
with boating facility, an aquarium, a garden-restaurant and an open air
Rawalpindi Golf Course
Situated near Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi Golf Course was completed in
1926 by Rawalpindi Golf Club, one of the oldest golf clubs of Pakistan,
founded on 2nd November 1885. The facility was initially developed as a
nine-hole course. After several phases of development, it is now converted
into a 27-hole course. The successive Presidents of Pakistan are
patronizing the club. From the elegant clubhouse, one can have a wonderful
panorama of Faisal Mosque, the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and
the Golf Course itself. Major national golf tournaments are held here
regularly. For more information, please contact the Assistant Secretary,
Rawalpindi Golf Club, G.T. Road, Rawalpindi (Tel: 56131346).
Rawalpindi Public Park and Cricket Stadium
Rawalpindi Public Park is located on Murree Road near Shamsabad. The Park
was opened for public in 1991. It has a playland for children, grassy
lawns, fountains and flower beds. A cricket stadium was built in 1992 just
opposite the Public Park. The 1992 World Cup cricket matches were held on
this cricket ground. The stadium is equipped with all modern facilities.