Bhambhore - Baab-ul-Islam
(The Gateway of Islam)
Why add Bhambhore ruins to Landmarks list of Pakistan? I know this question may arise with some of my visitors. I could have added this in the archaeological remains section of Pakistanpaedia, but then I thought that everyone knows about Moen-Jo-daro and Taxila, but few know that it was this abandoned place from where Islam spread to all corners of the then Indian subcontinent.
Bhambhore - a city that lies in ruins today was previously known as Debel, a thriving Hindu stronghold ruled by Raja Dahir in 712 AD and before. Strategically located, Bhambhore is believed to be some 2,100 years old costal town on the Arabian Sea. Its location even prompted Caliph Umar (RA) to send his forces from Oman to attack Sind and other adjoining areas. However, it was Muhammad Bin Qasim, a young man of barely 17 years, who came with a Muslim army, invaded Debel and defeated Raja Dahir and his forces. Although the city was heavily guarded and protected, many believe that one of the reasons for the success of this expedition is the unhappiness of the Buddhist people and it is believed they helped the coming invaders. From here, Muhammad Bin Qasim made inroads to interior Sind and onwards to Multan and spread the torch of Islam.
Muhammad Bin Qasim's Attack on Bhambhore (left) - Ruins of mosque constructed by Muhammad Bin Qasim
In view of its significant size and remains, which even have a fort, make historians believe that this must have been the city of Debel, Raja Dahir's abode and seat of government. In 1958, the ruins of a mosque were also discovered in the area - which makes it the first ever mosque in the South East Asian region.
As per historians, the city had been inhabited by the Scytho-Parthians, followed by the Buddhists and Hindus - eventually falling to the Muslims. The city remained intact till the 13th century, when due to the changing course of the river Indus, it was ruined and ceased to exist. Today, the museum at Bhambhore has on its display many pieces of earthwork, figurines and pottery, in use of the people who once lived here. The finely polished pottery is believed to from the first century Scytho-Parthian occupants of Bhambhore.
When talking of Bhambhore, it would be injustice to our culture and folklore not to make a mention of love story of Sassi, was the only daughter of King Adam Khan of Bhambour, and her beloved Punhu or Punnu, which immortalizes the love of these two great lovers.
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