This article has been extracted from
THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.
OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.
Fort and temporary head-quarters of the tahsil of the same name in Attock District, Punjab, situated in 33° 53' N. and 72 15' E., on the North-Western Railway and the grand trunk road; distant by rail 1,505 miles from Calcutta, 1,541 from Bombay, and 882 from Karachi. Population (1901), 2,822. The fort rises in three tiers to a commanding height above the Indus, just below the point where it receives the Kabul river. Opposite it a whirlpool eddies between two jutting precipices of black slate, known as Kamalia and Jalalia, from the names of two Roshania heretics, who were flung from their summits during the reign of Akbar. The buildings of the town formerly stood within the fort, but have been removed to a site on one side of it. The fort, which commands the passage of the Indus, is garrisoned by two companies of garrison artillery and a detachment of infantry.
Alexander is supposed to have crossed the Indus by a bridge of boats at Ohind, 16 miles above Attock. The fort was built by Akbar in 1581, to protect his empire against the inroads of his brother, Hakim Mirza, governor of Kabul ; and he named it Atak-Banaras in contrast to Katak-Banaras, the fort which lay in the south-east corner of his empire. Another story goes that Akbar, finding the Indus impassable, named the fortress Atak, ' the obstacle,' and that when he effected a crossing he founded Khairabad, '. the abode of safety,' on the western bank of the river. In 181 2 Ran jit Singh surprised the fort, which was in the possession of the Wazir of Kabul. In the first Sikh War it was taken by the British, but lost in the second despite a long and gallant defence by Lieutenant Herbert. It returned to British occu- pation at the end of the second Sikh War. The road and railway bridge over the Indus were completed in 1883. Attock is administered as a ' notified area.' The income and expenditure of cantonment funds during the ten years ending 1902-3 averaged Rs. 249 and Rs. 216 respectively.