Exploring Jhelum — A City Steeped in History and Cultural Heritage

Raja Muhammad Mustansar Javaid
10 min readMay 1, 2023

Jhelum is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, and it is considered one of the oldest cities in the region.

There’s something special about exploring a city that holds a deep personal connection, and for me, that city is Jhelum. As a native of Jhelum, I’ve had the opportunity to explore the city’s many historic landmarks, experience its rich cultural heritage, and connect with its friendly and welcoming people.

In this article, I invite you to join me on a journey of exploration through Jhelum — a city steeped in history and cultural heritage.

Jhelum- The City of Soldiers

Jhelum is a city located in the province of Punjab, Pakistan. It is situated on the banks of the Jhelum River, from which it derives its name. The city is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, and it is considered one of the oldest cities in the region.

Jhelum has been an important center of trade and commerce for centuries due to its strategic location at the crossroads of the ancient trade routes. The city has witnessed the rise and fall of numerous empires, including the Mauryan, Gupta, and Mughal empires.

Jhelum is locally referred to as the ‘City of Soldiers’ or ‘City of Martyrs.’ It is known for providing a large number of soldiers to the British Army before the independence and then later to the Pakistan Armed Forces.

Meanwhile, the city’s name is believed to have been derived from the words ‘Jal,’ which means pure water, and ‘Ham,’ which translates to snow. ‘Jhelum’ basically refers to the river that originates in the Himalayas and flows right next to the city.

In the 19th century, Jhelum became an important military station under the British Raj. The city played a significant role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and many of the regiments of the British Indian Army were stationed here.

Today, Jhelum is a bustling city with a population of over 400,000 people. The city is known for its diverse mix of cultures and religions, with a significant Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh population. The city is home to several historic mosques, temples, and gurdwaras that are considered architectural masterpieces.

Jhelum is also a hub of education and economy, with several prestigious educational institutions and industries operating in the city. The city is known for its rich agricultural produce, including wheat, rice, and sugarcane.

Jhelum is a city with a rich history and cultural heritage that has been shaped by centuries of trade, warfare, and cultural exchange. The city’s strategic location and diverse mix of cultures make it a fascinating destination for visitors and locals alike.

Historical Significance of Jhelum

Jhelum has a rich historical significance that dates back to ancient times. The city has been the site of many historic battles and has played a significant role in shaping the political and cultural landscape of the region.

One of the earliest recorded historical events associated with Jhelum is the Battle of the Hydaspes in 326 BC, fought between Alexander the Great and King Porus. This battle is considered one of Alexander’s toughest victories and is said to have taken place near the modern-day city of Jhelum.

The city continued to play a significant role in the region’s history during the Mauryan Empire, which lasted from 321 to 185 BC. Emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest Mauryan rulers, is believed to have visited Jhelum and left inscriptions in the city.

During the Mughal era, Jhelum was an important military outpost and was frequently used as a base for military expeditions. The city played a vital role in the Mughal campaigns against the Pashtun tribes of the northwest frontier region.

In the 19th century, Jhelum became an important military station under the British Raj. The city played a significant role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and many of the regiments of the British Indian Army were stationed here.

Today, Jhelum’s rich history is reflected in the city’s numerous historic landmarks and monuments. These include the Rohtas Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by Sher Shah Suri, and the Gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi, a Sikh shrine that dates back to the 17th century.

Jhelum’s historical significance spans several centuries and is characterized by numerous battles, conquests, and cultural exchanges. The city’s rich history is reflected in its numerous historic landmarks and monuments, making it a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Cultural and Religious Diversity

Jhelum is a city that prides itself on its cultural and religious diversity. The city is home to a diverse mix of people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs.

One of the most notable examples of this diversity can be seen during the city’s various cultural and religious festivals. For example, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which are celebrated by the city’s Muslim population, are occasions for feasting, prayer, and family gatherings. During Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, the city is adorned with colorful lights, and people come together to celebrate the victory of good over evil.

The Sikh community in Jhelum is also an important part of the city’s cultural fabric. The Gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi, a Sikh shrine that dates back to the 17th century, is located in the heart of the city and is a popular destination for pilgrims from all over the world.

In addition to these festivals and religious landmarks, Jhelum is also home to a vibrant arts and crafts scene. The city is famous for its embroidery, pottery, and woodcarving, which are often sold at local markets and bazaars.

Jhelum’s cultural and religious diversity is a source of pride for its residents and has played a significant role in shaping the city’s history and identity. Whether it’s through festivals, religious landmarks, or local arts and crafts, Jhelum’s diverse mix of cultures offers a fascinating window into the city’s past and present.

Education and Economy

Education and economy are two important pillars of any city’s growth and development, and Jhelum is no exception. The city has made significant strides in both areas in recent years, and is poised for even greater progress in the years to come.

On the education front, Jhelum has a number of quality schools, colleges, and universities that offer a range of educational opportunities to its residents. The city is home to some of the oldest and most prestigious schools in the region, including the famous Government Jinnah High School and the Murray College, both of which have produced many notable scholars and leaders over the years. Jhelum also has a number of private schools and colleges that offer high-quality education to students.

In terms of the economy, Jhelum has a diverse mix of industries, including textiles, agriculture, and manufacturing. The city is well known for its high-quality textiles, which are exported all over the world. In addition, Jhelum is home to several large manufacturing plants that produce a range of products, from cement to consumer goods.

Jhelum’s strategic location on the Grand Trunk Road, one of the oldest and most important trade routes in the region, has also contributed to its economic growth. The city is a major hub for trade and commerce, and is home to several large markets and bazaars that attract shoppers from all over the region.

Jhelum has made significant progress in both education and economy in recent years, and is well positioned for even greater growth in the future. Its quality educational institutions and diverse mix of industries make it an attractive destination for students and businesses alike, and its strategic location on the Grand Trunk Road makes it a key player in the region’s trade and commerce.

Tourist Attractions in Jhelum

Jhelum is a city with a rich history and cultural heritage, and there are many tourist attractions that showcase its unique blend of ancient and modern cultures. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Jhelum:

  1. Rohtas Fort — This ancient fort was built in the 16th century by Sher Shah Suri and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort is famous for its impressive architecture and strategic location, and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

2. Tilla Jogian — This scenic hill station is located just outside of Jhelum and offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding mountains. Visitors can hike to the top of the hill to see the historic Tilla Jogian Shrine and enjoy a picnic in the beautiful surroundings.

3. Jhelum River — The Jhelum River is a major waterway that runs through the city and is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and other water sports. The river is also a great place to relax and enjoy the scenic beauty of the region.

4. Shiva Temple — The Shiva Temple is a Hindu temple located in the heart of Jhelum and is dedicated to the god Shiva. The temple is a beautiful example of Hindu architecture and is a popular destination for pilgrims from all over the world.

5. Pind Dadan Khan — This historic town is located just outside of Jhelum and is famous for its natural hot springs and beautiful scenery. Visitors can relax in the hot springs, explore the ancient ruins, and enjoy the local cuisine.

6. Khewra Salt Mine — The Jhelum Salt Mine is one of the most significant natural resources in the region, attracting visitors from all over the world. Located in the Salt Range mountains of Pakistan, the mine is known for its high-quality pink rock salt, which is prized for its unique taste and health benefits.

The Jhelum Salt Mine has a long and fascinating history that dates back to ancient times. It is believed that the mine was first discovered by Alexander the Great’s army during their invasion of the region in the 4th century BC. The salt was later used by the Mughal emperors for culinary and medicinal purposes, and it became an important source of income for the local communities.

Today, the Jhelum Salt Mine is a major tourist attraction that offers visitors a chance to explore its vast underground tunnels and learn about the history and science of salt mining. The mine is also known for its therapeutic properties, with many visitors claiming that the salt’s negative ions help to reduce stress, boost energy, and improve overall health and well-being.

In addition to its health benefits, the Jhelum Salt Mine is also a significant source of employment for the local community. The mine provides jobs for thousands of people, both in the mining industry and in the tourism sector.

The Jhelum Salt Mine is a remarkable natural wonder that has played an important role in the region’s history and culture. Its unique pink salt and therapeutic properties make it a must-see destination for visitors to Jhelum, while its economic significance makes it a vital resource for the local community.

Jhelum has a wide range of tourist attractions that showcase its rich history and cultural heritage. From ancient forts and historic temples to scenic hill stations and natural hot springs, there is something for everyone in this fascinating city.

Personal Experience: Growing up in Jhelum

Growing up in Jhelum was a unique and enriching experience that has had a profound impact on my life. As a native of the city, I had the opportunity to experience its rich culture, history, and traditions firsthand, and these experiences have shaped my identity in many ways.

One of my earliest memories of Jhelum is of the beautiful Jhelum River that runs through the city. I remember spending hours playing on the riverbank with my friends, watching the boats go by, and enjoying the cool breeze. The river was always a source of fascination and inspiration for me, and it instilled in me a deep appreciation for the natural beauty of the region.

Another aspect of growing up in Jhelum that I cherish is the city’s diverse mix of cultures and traditions. Jhelum is home to people from all over Pakistan, and each community has its own unique customs and beliefs. This diversity was evident in the food we ate, the clothes we wore, and the festivals we celebrated. I remember eagerly anticipating Eid, Diwali, and Holi every year, as they were occasions for us to come together as a community and celebrate our shared heritage.

Finally, growing up in Jhelum gave me a strong sense of pride in my heritage and identity. As a child, I was fascinated by the city’s rich history and the stories of its brave warriors and leaders. I was inspired by the legacy of people like Alexander the Great, Sher Shah Suri, and Ranjit Singh, who had all left their mark on the city in different ways. This sense of pride in my city and its heritage has stayed with me throughout my life and has helped shape my values and beliefs.

growing up in Jhelum was a formative experience that has left a lasting impression on my life. The city’s natural beauty, cultural diversity, and rich history have all contributed to my personal growth and identity. I am proud to be a native of Jhelum, and I look forward to continuing to explore and appreciate all that this amazing city has to offer.

Final Thoughts — Jhelum’s Past and Present:

Jhelum is a city steeped in history and cultural heritage, with a rich legacy that dates back thousands of years. From its strategic location on the banks of the Jhelum River to its historic forts, temples, and shrines, the city has played a vital role in the region’s development over the centuries.

Despite its ancient roots, Jhelum is also a modern city that has adapted to the changing times. Today, it is a thriving commercial center with a bustling economy and a vibrant cultural scene. Its educational institutions are among the best in the region, and its people are known for their warmth, hospitality, and entrepreneurial spirit.

As a native of Jhelum, I am proud of my city’s past and present. I am proud of its rich history and the role it has played in shaping the region’s culture and traditions. I am also proud of its modern achievements and the contributions it has made to Pakistan’s development and progress.

Jhelum is a city that embodies the best of both worlds — a proud and vibrant past that is intertwined with its modern and dynamic present. Its historical significance, cultural diversity, and economic potential make it a city that is poised for a bright and prosperous future. As a native of Jhelum, I am confident that the city will continue to thrive and make its mark on the world stage in the years to come.

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Raja Muhammad Mustansar Javaid

"Versatile Wordsmith | IT Solutions Strategist | Motorcycle Voyager | Multilingual Enthusiast". I’m so deep even the ocean gets jealous