MUKHLISGAṚH FORT on the lower slopes of the Śivālak foothills in Saḍhaurā parganah of Sirhind sarkār was established by Mukhlis Khān, a minor chief during the reign of the Mughal emperor Shāh Jahān (1628-58). Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur (1670-1716), after the conquest of Saḍhaurā and Sirhind in 1710 which made him the virtual master of the territories between the Yamunā and the Sutlej as also of the sub-mountainous tract up to Gurdāspur and Pāṭhānkoṭ made Mukhlisgaṛh his headquarters renaming the fort Lohgaṛh (lit. Steel Fort). When emperor Bahādur Shāh heard about the exploits of Bandā Siṅgh, he commanded the governors of Delhi and Oudh to quell the Sikh rising, and himself hastened north to supervise the operation. A massive Mughal force of sixteen thousand horse and foot laid a siege around Mukhlisgaṛh which continued for several months. For want of provisions, the Sikhs were reduced to rigorous straits. On the night of 10 December 1710, Bandā Siṅgh in a desperate bid to escape hacked his way through the imperial cordon and escaped towards the higher reaches of the Sivāliks.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)