Kot Diji is an important Harappan civilization site located in the Rohri Hills of Khairpur province of Pakistan. The Kot Diji Fort was the forerunner of the Indus Civilization. The fort was built between 1785 to 1795 by Mir Sohrab Khan Talpur, founder of the Kingdom of Upper Sindh in 1783. In addition to the fort, a 5 kilometer, 12 feet wide mud wall was built around the city. This defensive wall had bastions throughout its length and a huge iron gate served as the city’s only entrance.
Archaeologists say that the discovery of this prehistoric site has furnished information of high significance since it pushed back the prehistorics of Pakistan by at least another 300 years from about 2,500 B.C. to 2,800 B.C. Evidence of new cultural elements of pre Harappan and pre Moen Jo daro time has been found at Kot Diji. Excavations have proved that the Indus Valley Civilizations borrowed or developed some of the basic cultural elements of the Kot Dijians.
The site consists of two parts: one comprising of the citadel area on the high ground where the ruling elite lived and an outer area inhabited by common man. The Kot Diji culture is marked by well-furnished, well-made pottery and houses built of mud bricks on solid stone foundations. In fact, the Kot Dijian ceramics, though different in form and technique, are in no way less artistic than the sophisticated back-on-red pottery of Harappans.
Kot Diji is a very practical fort constructed on a limestone hill with kiln-baked bricks. Bricks were used because the locally available limestone rock was very brittle and would have shattered easily on impact with a cannonball. The hill is about 110 feet high, above which the walls of the fort rise another 30 feet. It has three strategically placed towers about 50 feet tall.
The fort is over half a kilometer long. Its walls are segmented by about 50 bastions, and its 1.8 km outer perimeter wall identically follows the double crescent-shaped contours of the hill it stands on. This allows the fort to surround the attacking enemy on three sides on the west front. On the east, where the entrance lies, the fort is divided by three elephant-proof gates into three overlapping levels, so that the first two levels can be attacked by the next level above them in the event of the lower level being overrun by the enemy. The first gate is not a prominent portal but rather an indirect entry so that the gate cannot be rammed on a charge. The walls and bastions have arrow slits in them, allowing defenders to attack their enemy from two levels: from the battlement on top and from within the wall.
The fort was built at a time when cannons had become common and its design and position reveals that. It includes a multitude of stations for cannons and, because it is positioned high on a narrow ridge, enemy cannons would have had to fire at a great distance, permitting little accuracy. Cannonballs could either hit the hill or perimeter or would simply fly over the fort and fall on the enemies’ own forces on the other side.
The tomb of Fakir Qadir Bakhsh, after whom this site is named, lies to the west of the village of the same name. Inside the tomb there are two graves, one obviously being that of Fakir Qadir Bakhsh, of whom little is known, but nothing is known about the other; it is presumed to be that of a disciple, the Fakir never having married. The tomb of Golo Shahani, the commander-in-chief of the army of Mir Suhrab Khan, is also situated here, as well as a number of other graves of the Shahanis. Golo Shahani died in battle at Shikarpur in AH 1249 (AD 1833). On the eastern side of the tomb of Fakir Qadir is the tomb of Syed Saleh Shah, of whom nothing is known, and to the west of it, a mosque which is said to have been constructed by Fakir Qadir Bakhsh himself. The village has a population of approximately 500 individuals, who live in fifty houses.