Rawalpindi lies on the Grand Trunk Road 177 from Peshawar and 275 kms from north-west from Lahore. The twin city of Rawalpindi/Islamabad lies against the backdrop of Margalla Hills on the Potwar Plateau. On the basis of archaeological discoveries, archaeologists believe that a distinct culture flourished on this plateau as far back as 3000 years. The material remains found on the sight of the city of Rawalpindi prove the existence of Buddhist establishment contemporary to Taxila but less celebrated than its neighbours.
It appears that the ancient city went into oblivion as a result of the Hun devastation. the first Muslim invader, Mahmood of Ghazni (979-1030 AD), gifted the ruined city to a Gakkhar Chief, Kai Gohar. the town, however, being on invaders' route, could not prosper and remained deserted until Jhanda Khan, another Gakkhar Chief, restored it and gave the name of Rawalpindi after the village Rawal in 1493 AD. Rawalpindi remained under the rule of Gakkhars till Muqarrab Khan, the last Gakkhar ruler, was defeated by Sikhs in 1765 AD. Sikhs invited traders from other places to settle here. This brought the city into prominence.
Sikhs lost the city to British in 1849 AD. It then became the General Headquarters of British Army and they established a cantonment south of the old city. In 1879, the Punjab Northern Railway was extended to Rawalpindi but the train service was formally inaugurated on January 1, 1886.
Over the years, Rawalpindi has retained to traditional flavour. However, some modern residential areas and buildings have come up all over the town since the creation of Pakistan. Pakistan's new capital, Islamabad being the twin city of Rawalpindi, equally shares the same archaeological and historical background.
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