Patan Minara is one of the most ancient archaeological sites in Rahim Yar Khan district of Southern Punjab. It is located 8 KM to the east of Rahim Yar Khan city. The site has never been excavated so far. Had it been excavated, it would have made an interesting case study for the archaeologists around the world. It could have been a tourists’ hotspot like Harappa and Mohenjo Daro. In 2007 I met Prem Chand Gandhi, one of the scholars from India who was touring Rahim Yar Khan. He told me that there was a similar minaret in Rajasthan, India. Both were part of the Hakra Valley civilization and the minarets though located in the city, were lighthouses along the rivers.There is a vast field of ruins of an ancient civilization at the site. Amidst them stands a tall minaret. It’s said that the minaret was one of the pillars of a tall building, which stood its ground even after the building collapsed. ‘Patan’ is a raised dry piece of land near a river. Hence the two names have been coined into Patan Minara. The remains of a fort, a temple and a few tunnels also point out to an ancient civilization.There are four other smaller minarets near Patan Minara which collapsed with the passage of time as well. Over a century ago, Colonel Minchin, the political agent of the state of Bhawalpur, received a permit to get the site excavated. He employed labourer’s for the site’s excavation. But soon the work had to be stopped due to an accident in the areaOver a century ago, Colonel Minchin, the political agent of the state of Bahawalpur, received a permit to get the site excavated. He employed labourers for the site’s excavation. But soon the excavation work had to be stopped due to an emergence of a sticky rotten liquid and swarms of stinging flies that resulted in a lot of deaths at the site.There are many theories and stories about the origin and existence of Patan Minara. According to one of the traditions, it was a Buddhist monastery. Colonel Toy in his book about Rajasthan has mentioned the Prince and Princess of Patan Minara. However, there is no mention of their locale. Other historians believe that it was built in the Hakra Valley Civilization by Mauryan emperors and suggest that it used to be the capital of a Hindu civilization for a long time.The site is also said to have served as a resort for royals and their guests. The location, scenery and aura of the place support this contention. It would have served as an entertainment place as well given its historical significance.There are many theories and stories about the origin and existence of Patan Minara. According to one of the traditions, it was a Buddhist monastery. Colonel Toy in his book about Rajasthan has mentioned the Prince and Princess of Patan MinaraAccording to a number of historians, Alexander the Great also conquered the state and stayed in the ancient city. As was his routine, he rebuilt the minaret area after the city was destroyed during the fight and appointed his own governor.Some books suggest that the city was rebuilt during the Soomro Dynasty in the area in the 10th century AD. It remained the capital of the Soomro empire for a long time.The origin and history of Patan Minara remains shrouded in mystery. Undeniably, its origin will remain obscure until the site is properly excavated and studied by archaeologists.Patan Minara, the sole remnant of the civilization and its remains, is eroding with the passage of time, and it seems like it wouldn’t stand another decade.If the Government and the Department of Archaeology pay attention to this gem of history and initiate excavation work at the site, it can not only reveal its true self but also help us discover the likes of another Harappa or Mohenjo Daro.The writer works with Pak Voices as a citizen journalist from Rahim Yar KhanPublished in Daily Times, December 6th 2017.