Bhera: The Forgotten City in The Helm of River Jhelum
The Story of Bhera is Long — And it Has Much to Offer.
A city on the river Jhelum. The best thing that is most famous of Bhera is “pheonian”, a kind of vermicelli, to be the best in the subcontinent with wood-carved objects, quilts and khussas other specialities.
The Forgotten City Came into Light
Bhera has a long history. It was somehow unknown to the people of Pakistan until the motorway came to existence in 1997 and then it came to be recognized as a popular pitstop in a way to Islamabad from Lahore.
The History of Bhera
Bhera is dated back some 400 BC, clues are that it has its existence from ancient times. The Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the town in the 10th century and then armies of Genghis Khan later attacked it. Bhera was more recently a trade town on the West side of the Jhelum River, turning easterly from the river after numerous forces invaded at the start of the 16th century.
Bhera was built in shape of a fort with tall walls and about eight gateways, as was usual in those times. Few of these structures are today and, due to disregard for heritage, everything left is on its way quickly to the ruins.
Some of the gates have named after the major cities to which they are heading: Lahori, Kashmiri, Multani, Chinioti and Kabuli; others such as Peeranwala and Haji Gulab Gates are names for unusual local reasons.
The Warriors Contributed to Its Architecture
After crushing Mughal Emperor Humayun, Sher Shah Suri camped near Khushab and decided to cement its hegemony in shape of Rohtas Fort to curb the threat of Pharwala fort Ghakkars. In 1541 he also commissioned the building of the Sher Shah Suri Jamia Mosque in Bhera to appease the local people.
In a typical Mughals pattern with a doorway, a broad courtyard, a water ablution in the middle, the main mosque with domes in front and four corners of minarets.
The mosque has an architecture similar to the Mosques of Badshahi and of Wazir Khan. It had a small museum and a seminary and since the 19th century, it has been managed by the Bugvi Family.
The Structural Beauty of Bhera
Bhera is divided into an old city within surrounded walls and is now stretching beyond the walls. The old city is divided into mohallas. It is interesting to note that, while these boundaries have lost their significance but still each Mohalla has distinctive features and is populated by different castes— Mohalla Piracha, Mohalla Sheikhan and Mohalla Sethian.
In Mohalla Piracha there is a beautiful haveli that is a long time old. The view from this old haveli's roof was sublime and green fields were on the way to the Jhelum river and the Salt Range. Here, you could spend a relaxing day reading books and drinking tea with an amazing view.
Another thing that is notable over there is a maze of narrow streets into other parts of Mohalla Piracha that has old wooden arches, balconies and wood-carved doors in almost every old haveli over there. The lanes and alleys are reasonably clean to indicate that local government is doing a good job.
Your next step would be towards an elegant Peeli Kothi in Mohalla Sheesh Mahal. It’s a tall building on a mound with a broad expansive courtyard. It belongs to the colonial origin and gives an idea in possession of the local landlord.
Bhera walled city has a total area of about 400 acres and the actual population of 80,000 to 100,000 is estimated, including some communities outside the old city. The city had a mixed religious population until the time of its partition in 1947, who live in harmony. The Hindus were less but by business and wealth, they had a greater weight.
Although Bhera is a historical place, the problem is that it is not recognized as an ancient place. Many people just don’t know exactly it’s true history. Most folks are based on guesses about these Havelis. The house was apparently built on centuries-old ruins of a haveli as delicate brickwork suggested on the outside walls.
Another important palace that comes next is Mohalla Sheikhan. The tale of its glorious past is revealed through a few major Havelis. Here you will find a white mosque of the 1840s with three domes looked beautiful.
Again, a few large Havelis told the story of a glorious past. The white 1840s mosque looked beautiful with its three domes.
Many Sikh and Hindu temples are still standing there tell their own story. The local myth is that many people have found the hidden treasure that had been the belongings of Sikh and Hindu Maharajas. They might have left their belongings at the time of partition.
According to the people in Bhera, they still find these treasures occasionally.
The amazing thing is that here you will find an Eiffel Tower. Yes, Eiffel tower of Sikhs as locals call it. This is an old Sikh Gurdwara with a tower that provides a panoramic view of the town in the very centre of bustling bazar. After Sikh left this place in at the time of partition in 1947, this place was turned into an imambargah.
Schools and Colleges in Bhera.
Inaugurated in 1927 by Sir George Anderson, Bhera Government High School was a traditional colonial school with the expansive ground, which over 90 years have churned various leaders, civil servants and other prominent people.
The Bhera's residents grew up into judges, actors, doctors and contractors, but few remained behind or maintained their links with the city, which is why Bhera was somewhat forgotten somehow near Sargodha.
The city has a long history and the authorities might propose carrying out a heritage plan in line with the Lahore Shahi Guzargah Plan. Most Havelis, temples and buildings still can be saved.
Bhera has the potential to be our own historic resort in the heartland of Panjab with a river in one end, ancient mosque, and colonial railway station in another.
Bhera hasn't the glamorous trappings of a modern city, but the effect of contemporaries can still be studied because the old hasn't been eroded. The city exists in the minds and imaginations of inhabitants.
Since 1980, the conventional Bhera culture has been disrupted by the growing use of modern technology. Capital demand increased and more and more young men left Bhera and settled in major cities, ideally in foreign countries to earn money.