This is an old trading junction on the northern side of the Malakand Pass, where Alexander the Great forded the Swat River en route to India. Its strategic location has long been known – at nearby Damkot Hill archaeologists have found evidence of Gandharan Buddhist occupation as well as a Hindu Shahi fort. Mughal emperor Akbar garrisoned Chakdara in 1587 during an unsuccessful attempt to subdue Swat. The attempt was repeated three centuries later by another great leader, the young Winston Churchill. Nervous after the Chitral siege, in 1897 the British built the present bridge, fort and hilltop picket (named for Churchill). The Pakistan army occupies the fort so Damkot Hill is off limits to visitors.
Last updated: Apr 17, 2009
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