Sudhum Rustam is a beautiful valley situated in the east of Mardan District bordering District Swabi and District Buner in District Mardan of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Recently it has been upgraded to the level of Tehsil. It is located at 34°21'0N 72°17'0E and has an altitude of 369m (1213 feet). Chanry (chengay baba) and Aman Kot (east), Kara Maar (south), Sakra (northwest) And Sar Malang (North East) from three sides enhance the beauty of the area. Sudhum Rustam is famous for its agricultural products like oranges of beruch and mustard oil.

1. Etymology

The valley has got its name after Hindu religious leader/ prophet Sudhum who lived here in exile and very difficult conditions. Ashoka The Great had erected stopas and temples in the memory of Sudhum. These were visited by Hindu and Buddhist followers from far and wide at that time. It's not known exactly how this valley got its name (Rustam) but as per folk legend, it is being told that the name Rustam was given to this area after the name of Rustam Khan. A person named Saud Khan came from Swat here with his three sons (Rustam Khan, Mian Khan, and Jaan Khan). Saud Khan died here and his sons buried him here. At that time this area was a forest. Jaan Khan went to Hazara, Mian Khan to Babozai and Rustam khan stayed here. The second view is that Rustam the famous wrestler lived here. But this view is not too strong nor available any historical document about this.

2. History

The exact early history of Sudhum is not known but the ancient ruins reveal that Sudhum Rustam has been the residence of great civilizations. According to a folk legend, Takht e Chengay (Chengay Baba) was the capital kingdom with other small city-states of Ruins of Sra Qabroona, Ruins of Malandri, Ruins in Kashmir Smasta.

2.1 Kara Mar

The mountains of Kara Mar to the south of Sudhum Rustam were sacred for Budhist, Hinduism and followers of fire worshipers. The ruins of an ancient Aatash Kada still prevails this day.

2.2 Sakrah

In the mountains called Sakrah in the North of Sudhum Rustam existed the ancient ruins of Budhist era. There is a historical and sacred ancient cave called Kashmir Smast. In this cave Budhist followers used to practice their religiuos rituals. There is a water tank fed by rainwater and a place for religious rituals inside the beautiful cave. In this mountain, there was a small fortified city whose ruins exited till late 1850 AD. But the ruins has been ruthlessly devastated by the local population. This ancient Budhist city was destroyed by Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi.

2.3 Beruch

In the footsteps of Sakrah Mountains, there existed a small dwelling of people from Aryan era to Hindu emperial era. Mahmood Ghaznavi conquered this dwelling in a historical battle. This battle is famous in the name of battle of Beruch. There is an ancient man made water tank which is called Rani Talaab. Fish exists in this water tank the hunt of which is prohibited till this day.

3. Education

In education, Sudhum Rustam has recently moved forward with the establishment of private sector colleges such as Sudham Children Academy & Science College, The Rustam Model School and College Rustam Mardan, Unicom College of Business Studies, The Unique Model School, Iqra Hoti Group of Schools, The Mass Children Academy Rustam and Savera Children Academy etc. The Government High Schools for boys and Girls are well established and many well known social contributors have been educated in these schools. Government Degree College Khair Abad Mardan and Government Degree College for Girls are the public sector degree level institutions.

4. Climate

The summer season is extremely hot. A steep rise in temperature is observed from May to June. Even in July, August and September record quite high temperatures. During May and June, dust storms are frequent at night. The temperature reaches its maximum in the month of June i.e. 41.50-degree centigrade. Due to intensive cultivation and artificial irrigation, the track is humid and heat is oppressive. However, a rapid fall of temperature has been recorded from October onwards. The coldest months are December and January. The mean minimum temperature recorded for the month of January the coldest month is 2.09-degree centigrade.

Most of the rainfall occurs in the months of July, August, December, and January. Maximum rainfall was recorded for the month of August the rainiest month is 125.85 mm. Towards the end of cold weather, there are occasional thunderstorms and hail storms. The relative humidity is quite high throughout the year while maximum humidity has been recorded in December i.e. 73.33 percent.

5. Agriculture

Rustam is known as the best agricultural area in the country. Its land is very suitable for cultivation of sugarcane and tobacco. The major crops grown are wheat, sugarcane, tobacco, maize, rapeseed, and mustard etc. Rustam's mustard Oil is famous throughout the country. Fruits and vegetables are also grown here. Orange of Bheroch and Palo Dhery are very popular. The important fruits are orange, plum, peach, apricot, and pear etc.

6. Transportation

There are good road connections to Mardan and Bunir. The alternate road to connect Sudhum Rustam to District Buner passes through Sar Malang (a recreational spot for picnics). Sudhum Rustam is also connected to Shewa Adda via Canal Road Machai. Buses, High Ace, and private vehicles are the main ways of transport.

7. Sports

In 2016, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa government with the help of Government of Pakistan created a sports complex in Rustam. The complex, Rustam Sports Complex, has facilities for all major sports such as cricket, football, field hockey, swimming and basketball. The Sports Complex is still under Construction is expected to be completed at the end of December, 2018.

8. Streams and Canals

In this area, generally streams flow from North East to the South West. There are two main streams, Lund Khwar and Wach Kwar which converge at Kamargai. Both streams discharge into Nala Kalpani (at Mardan). A canal flows near Nawan Kali which originates from River Swat.

9. Forests and Wildlife

Sakrah (also called pajja) is a mountain in the northwest of Rustam, famous for the historic cave named Kashmir Smast. Kashmir Smast is famous throughout the world and is the center of attraction for archaeologists. The peak of the Sakrah is the highest peak in district Mardan 2056 meters high. A kind of wild goat which weighs not more than 30kg is found in the peaks of Sakrah. But unfortunately due to loss of habitats and extensive hunting its numbers are decreasing drastically. Its fuana includes birds, reptiles and mammals like the Wild Hare and black-backed jackal, wild boars and monkeys etc.