From small and scruffy settlements to towns that boast of old-time charisma, Pakistan is home to a number of hill stations that offer quick getaways to local as well as foreigner tourists. With the snow-capped mountain peaks, jagged escarpments, thickly forested slopes and glittering lakes, the varied topography of the country serves as an impressive backdrop to these places.
One such example is Fort Munro, which also happens to be the only hill station in southern Punjab. It is also listed in the famous forts in Pakistan. It straddles the Punjab-Balochistan border.
The pine trees and bushes, rickety architecture and panoramic views that stretch to the hazy horizon make it a popular tourist spot for those who are looking for respite from the scorching heat of the province.
Graana.com, Pakistan’s smartest property portal, has prepared a guide on all that you need to know before visiting Fort Munro.
History of Fort Munro, Pakistan
Fort Munro, a famous fort in Pakistan, was formerly called Tuman Leghari and Anari Mool (the latter translating to ‘hilltop with pomegranates’ in Balochi). The locals of the area are known as ‘Legharis,’ who are direct descendants of an old Baloch tribe. Although it is not too well-preserved, the area still holds onto the remnants of its rather interesting past.
Robert Groves Sandeman, an officer of the British Indian army, founded the town in the 19th century. He named it after Colonel George Monroe, the Deputy Commissioner of the Derajat Division at that time. The British would often spend their summers here.
The locals were apprehensive of the foreign visitors, so the latter would usually leave behind onions and jaggery (gur) as a friendly gesture. They also built a conventional filtration system near the famous Fort Munro lake, which helped provide clean water for drinking purposes.
A unique aspect of the area’s history, however, dates back to about 65 million years ago. There happen to be several clues here of the massive asteroid impact that led to the extinction of dinosaurs. A thin grey/brown line on the rocks marks the cretaceous and tertiary boundary (known as the K-T boundary).
Research on one of the exposed layers of the rocks links it to the time when the largest land mammal (Baluchitherium) existed (the fossils of which were discovered by an English palaeontologist in Balochistan).
In the same mass of sedimentary rock, there is also a point where ancient ‘walking whales’ were discovered in Pakistan by local and US palaeontologists.
How to Get There
Sprawling at the foot of the Sulaiman mountain range in central Pakistan, Fort Munro is located at a height of 6470 feet above sea level. It is often called the ‘jewel’ of southern Punjab due to its massive height.
It is at a distance of 85 km (just an hour’s drive away) from Dera Ghazi Khan, and is conveniently linked with the National Highway 70. You can choose to travel on your personal vehicle or on one of the several bus services available.
On the way, you will pass by a number of sand dunes and the tomb of Sheikh Rakhi Sarwar, a famous Sufi saint in the 12th century. After reaching Sakhi Sarwar (named after the Sufi mystic), the roads leading to Fort Munro become steeper and more dangerous.
On the other hand, its distance from Multan is about 185 km. From there, the route to Fort Munro is more picturesque, with mango trees and fields of wheat stretching along both sides of the road.
Although there is minimal traffic, trucks often use this route to transport commercial goods, which makes driving here difficult. The range begins near Rakhi, a border-post between Balochistan and Punjab. The last stop is at a small town called Khar, before finally entering Balochistan.
In recent years, the Fort Munro steel bridge project has been underway, with financial and technological resources provided by Japan. This would make access to the hill station safer and more convenient once it is fully operational. It is also set to be the second-largest steel bridge in the world.
The first phase, involving the route from Rakhi Gaaj-Khar-Bewata, has already been completed. Eight steel bridges have been constructed to accommodate heavy traffic and, thus, reduce travel time between Punjab and Balochistan.
Weather at Fort Munro
It was especially developed by the British as a summer hill town since the weather in Fort Munro stays cool throughout the year.
However, it can drop to freezing temperatures during winters – in fact, it is one of the few places in Punjab that receive snowfall once in a while. Thus, it is advised to take thick, warm clothes with you when you visit.
The slow-paced rural life in the area attracts a number of visitors each year. At the top of Fort Munro is the Commissioner’s House, the Deputy Commissioner’s House (Munro’s Lodge), a regional court and a smattering of ruins of a historic fortress.
The colonial residence of political assistant (PA), called Sandeman Lodge, is also situated here. With its sprawling lawns and well-maintained billiards room, it provides visitors the chance to relax and unwind. There is also a cemetery just around the corner that can be traced back to the period of British rule. It has 5 graves in total.
Outside the PA house is a monument from 1950, which commemorates the union of various Balochi tribes. Names of prominent leaders (including those of the Mazaris, Gurchanis, Legharis) have been engraved on its stony surface. There is also a flag pole nearby, which is traditionally hoisted each time the PA is visiting.
There are also a few walking tracks winding around the verdant valleys and craggy cliffs of Fort Munro. Visitors can climb these to check out the sweeping views of the mountain range from the top.
The Fort Munro picnic points near Dames Lake are also frequently visited by tourists, who prefer to laze around in the cool shade of the surrounding orchards. However, the lake shrinks to a pond throughout the year, depending on the amount of rainfall the area receives.
The government has recently taken note of the lack of development in the area and has launched several projects to improve the infrastructure. It plans to build parks, a chair lift, and cable car that would be suspended above a steep gorge.
Where to Stay
Fort Munro hotels are mostly in the low to mid-range bracket. In most places, a night’s stay can cost as low as Rs. 1000. TDCP Resorts are a popular choice among visitors, with its 5 bedrooms, a restaurant and a snack bar. They are located near the Dames Lake and even offer boating facilities to the guests. They also serve a traditional dinner of Balochi Sajji.
Fort View Guest House, Agosh Hotel and Royal Hotel are some of the other options for accommodation in the area. The crisp mountain air and the local hospitality make Fort Munro an ideal summer retreat. For more guides on tourist places in Pakistan, visit Graana blog.
Here are some FAQs related to Fort Munro:
What is Fort Munro?
Fort Munro is a hill station located in the Dera Ghazi Khan district of Punjab, Pakistan. It is situated at an altitude of 6,470 feet above sea level and is surrounded by mountains and valleys.
What are the attractions of Fort Munro?
Fort Munro offers many attractions to tourists, such as the picturesque view of the mountains, the pleasant weather, and the scenic drives. There are also many hiking trails, picnic spots, and camping sites. Additionally, the area is famous for its strawberries and other fruits.
How to reach Fort Munro?
Fort Munro is accessible by road from major cities such as Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. The nearest airport is the Dera Ghazi Khan airport, which is located approximately 70 kilometers away. There are also local buses and taxis available for transportation.
What is the weather like in Fort Munro?
The weather in Fort Munro is generally pleasant throughout the year, with cool temperatures and occasional rainfall. The best time to visit is during the summer months, from May to August, when the weather is mild and the scenery is lush green.
Is there accommodation available in Fort Munro?
Yes, there are several accommodation options available in Fort Munro, ranging from hotels to guest houses and resorts. It is recommended to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
What are the nearby tourist attractions to Fort?
There are several nearby tourist attractions to Fort Munro, such as the Khar Shrine, the Musa Khel Dam, and the Taunsa Barrage. Additionally, the nearby towns of Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan also offer several cultural and historical sites.
Is Fort safe for tourists?
Yes, Fort Munro is generally safe for tourists. However, it is advised to take necessary precautions such as avoiding isolated areas at night, keeping valuables safe, and following local customs and traditions.
What is the history of Fort?
Fort Munro is a historical fort located in the Dera Ghazi Khan district of Punjab, Pakistan. It was built by the British in the 19th century as a military outpost to maintain control over the region. The fort was named after Sir Thomas Munro, the Governor of Madras at that time.
What is the altitude of Fort Munro?
Fort Munro is situated at an altitude of approximately 6,470 feet above sea level. It is located in the Sulaiman Mountains range, which makes it a popular destination for tourists who want to escape the hot weather of the plains.
What are the top attractions?
Some of the top attractions at Fort Munro include the scenic views of the Sulaiman Mountains, the historic Fort Munro itself, the Khergam Valley, and the Thal Desert. Visitors can also enjoy hiking, camping, and paragliding in the area.
What is the best time to visit Fort Munro?
The best time to visit is during the summer months from May to September, when the weather is mild and pleasant. However, visitors can also visit during the winter months from December to February to experience snowfall and colder temperatures.
What are the accommodation options at Fort Munro?
There are several accommodation options, including guest houses, hotels, and rest houses. Visitors can also choose to camp in the area, as there are several camping sites available.
How do I get to Fort Munro?
Fort is located approximately 185 kilometers from Dera Ghazi Khan and can be accessed by road. Visitors can take a taxi, private car, or bus to reach the fort. It is also possible to hire a local guide to take you around the area.
Why is Fort Munro famous?
This Fort is famous for its stunning natural beauty and its rich history. It is a popular tourist destination in Pakistan, with visitors drawn to its scenic vistas, hiking trails, and historic fortifications.
Where is Fort Munro situated in Pakistan?
Munro is situated in the Dera Ghazi Khan district of Punjab province, in the southwestern region of Pakistan. It is located at an elevation of 1,524 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level, in the Sulaiman Mountains.
Which district is Fort Munro located?
It is located in the Dera Ghazi Khan district of Punjab province, in the southwestern region of Pakistan. The district is known for its diverse landscapes, ranging from the desert-like terrain of the Cholistan Desert to the lush green hills of the Sulaiman Mountains.