Golden Hour at Rohtas

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Rohtas Fort is one of the biggest forts in South Asia, it has a unique history as no invading army has ever been able to storm it. It was built by Sher Shah Suri, founder of the Suri dynasty that lasted for hardly 2 decades but managed to construct the Grand Trunk Road connecting Kabul and Delhi, among many other infrastructural developments. Legend holds that when Sher Shah Suri ordered construction of the Rohtas Fort, he received a very cold response from the locals, who believed that the construction site was impossible to build anything on. When Sher Shah realized that people were not willing to put their lives at risk for the fort’s construction, he announced that anyone who brought one stone (of specific dimensions) for fort’s construction would be given one gold coin (ashrafee) in return. As a result labor from around India rushed to Rohtas to seize the opportunity. The workers were compensated handsomely in gold. To realize his dream Sher Shah brought about a gold rush of his times, a gold rush that any ruler of India could conveniently afford back in the day.

During my recent trip to Rohtas fort some five hundred years after it was constructed, I took a little walk outside its back gate. This gate leads to a graveyard and the narrow road goes to some villages nearby. It was close to sunset, i walked further into the graveyard for a better view of the fort’s exterior. As the last rays of daylight touched the fort, i realized it was a photographer’s dream, it was a golden hour. I took out my mobile in a desperate attempt to catch my golden hour at Rohtas. At the same time i though of the labor that constructed this magnificent fort and received one gold coin for every stone, perhaps they enjoyed a fairly different and literal Golden hour at Rohtas.

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