ROHTĀS (30º-55'N, 73º-48'E), town in Jehlum district of Pakistan had a historical Sikh shrine, Gurdwārā Chohā Sāhib, commemorating the visit of Gurū Nānak (1469-1539) during his western udāsī or preaching tour. Later in 1542, Sher Shāh Sūrī raised around the habitation a strong fort which he named Rohtās after one of his important citadels in Bihar. Rohtās is the name which the town now celebrates. Gurdwārā Chohā Sāhib on the bank of a seasonal stream, Ghān, stood outside the Fort to the north of it. A legend similar to the one connected with Gurdwārā Pañjā Sāhib, Hasan Abdāl, grew up here. It is said that the nearest source of water for the people of this place during dry season was a spring controlled by jogīs at Ṭillā Bāl Gudāī about 14 km west of it. Gurū Nānak, who is also said to have visited the Ṭillā, caused another spring of sweet water to flow into Rohtās which came to be called Chohā Sāhib or Choā Sāhib, i.e. the holy stream. A gurdwārā was later raised here and the spring water pool was lined to form a sarovar or holy tank. The Gurdwārā Chohā Sāhib was managed by the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee before it was abandoned consequent upon the partition of India in 1947.

         Rohtās is also notable in Sikh history as the native place of Mātā Sāhib Devāṅ, a spouse of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, and commonly designated as the Mother of the Khālsā. Rohtās was conquered by a combined force of Gujjar Siṅgh Bhaṅgī and Chaṛhat Siṅgh Sukkarchakkīā in 1767. Shāh Zamān, grandson of the Afghān invader Ahmad Shāh Durrānī, reconquered it in January 1787, but it was seized a few years later by Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh under whom it remained an important military post and halting station during his northwestern campaigns.


  1. Narotam, Tārā Siṅgh, Srī Gurū Tīrath Saṅgrahi. Amritsar n.d.
  2. Khan Muhammad Waliullah Khan, Sikh Shrines in West Pakistan. Karachi, 1962

Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)