District Poonch or Punch is one of the remotest districts of Jammu and Kashmir. It is bounded by the Line of Control on three sides (north, west and south). The 1947-48 war between India and Pakistan divided it into two parts. One part occupied by Pakistan and the other became part of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Poonch district offers a representative of the State in clime, culture and secular outlook. The people speak Gojri and Poonchi. Both the languages have rich folk lores Potari and folk songs. During the 1947-48 war between India and Pakistan, Poonch city was under attack of tribals from Pakistan and the Pakistan army for about one year. It was in the month of November 1948 that Poonch city was re-united with India.
Poonch has witnessed many historical events and has been ruled by outsiders and locals at different junctures till it became a part of Independent India. In the 6th Century A.D. Chinese traveller Huien Tsang passed through Poonch. He wrote that Poonch was famous for graphics, fine tea (Musloom) and good horses. Around 850 A.D., Poonch became a sovereign state when Mr. Nar, a horse trader declared himself Raja of Poonch . In 1596 A.D. Mughal King Jehangir nominated Siraj-ud-din of village Kahuta as Raja of Poonch . In 1798 A.D. a Gujjar leader Rooh-ullah-Sangu became the ruler of this area.
From 1819 A.D. to 1850 A.D. Poonch remained a part of Khalsa Darbar , Lahore. In 1850 A.D. Dogra Raja Moti Singh laid foundation of Dogra Raj in Poonch . On the death of Raja Jagat Dev Singh in 1940, Sardar Abdul Qayoom Khan became administrator of Poonch under the orders of Kashmir Government. In 1947 two and half tehsils of Poonch principality went under the illegal occupation of Pakistan, while the rest became a constituent of Rajouri Poonch district. In 1967 for administrative convenience this district was further divided into two parts , viz district Rajouri and district Poonch.
The District headquarter is situated in the Poonch city. Presently District Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir is divided into four tehsils:
- Haveli Tehsil
- Mandi Tehsil
- Mendhar Tehsil
- Surankote Tehsil
Each tehsil has its Tehsildar, who is the administrative head. The district is further divided into six blocks: Poonch, Mandi, Mendhar, Balakote, Surankote and Buffliaz. The administrative head of each block is the Block Development Officer (BDO). Each block consists of a number of panchayats.
Poonch District has 3 assembly constituencies:
- Poonch Haveli
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Poonch one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the three districts in Jammu and Kashmir currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
Historical Places and Monuments
Twent five Kms.in the north east of Poonch town is situated an ancient temple of Lord Shiva on the left bank of Pulsta stream. The area is known as Rajpura mandi two Kms.above mandi village. This is a unique Shiva Temple which is located on the foot hill and not on the hill top and secondly the Shivaling of white stone is not self-made.The stream which flows near it,is loran stream but it is belived by the locals the Ravan’s grand father Pulasta Rishi performed his tapasya and thus is known as Pulsta stream. This shrine is said to be older than of Amarnathji of Kashmir. Thousands of people visit on Rakhsa Bandhan.
Another well known shirne located about 68 Kms.from Poonch town is that of Ram Kund. Believed to be of Mahabharat period,it is just 11 Kms.away from Mendhar. The temple was said to be constructed by Raja Lalitaditya while others believe that Raja renovated it,and originally it was constructed by Lord Rama when he was on his way to Kashmir. There are three springs. People take bath on first of bright half of Chaitra.
Situated in village Guntrian,10 Kms.from Poonch,the Ziarat of saint Sain Mira Sahib is a popular pilgrim centre,Hundreds of devotees visit this Ziarat.
Nangali Sahib Gurudwara is situated on the left bank of Drungli Nallah,which is four Kms.away from Poonch City. This gurudwara was established by Sant Bhai Mela Singh who is said to have visited this shrine in 1810 A.D.when he was on his way to conquer Kashmir.
Ziarat Chhotay Sahib
Located 58 Kms.away from Poonch and 4 Kms.from Mendhar this Ziarat is situated in the village Sakhimaidan. Hundreds of piligrims come to this place every day.
There are several beautiful spots on the foothill of Pir Panchal mountain range.These are:
Situated at the foothill of 8,600 ft.high Rattan peak on the historic Mughal Road about 45 Kms from Poonch Town. It is small plateau surrounded by mountains and forests.Just near to it is the confluence of Thatta pani and Parnai streams which further adds to its otherwise scenic and natural beauty.
A famous water fall in the district also connected with the Mughal Emperors is located in the north east of Behram Gala.This water fall is yet another scenic spot which has tremendous tourist potential.The fall of the stream gives rise to dense clouds of water vapours which engulfs the area and spread all over.The emperor Jahangir had developed so much fancy and liking for this fall that he named it Noori Chamb after the name of his beloved queen Noorjahan.
Another beautiful hilly spot situated on the foothill of Peer Rattan range is Buffliaz,39 kms.east of Poonch town.The village named after the horse of Alexander the great(Bunifales)who is said to have died there, is situated on both the banks of Poonch river.
A small town situated 34 Kms.north of Poonch town was once the capital of Poonch State under Hindu ruler upto 1542. According to Rajatarangini,it was then known as Lohar Kote.There are ruins of the Lohar Kote Fort which was called as Gateway of Kashmir but now it is destroyed.At this fort,Raja Trilochan Pal defeated Sultan Mahmood Gazanavi.This spot is surrounded by forests and some snow clad peaks.
In Rajatarangini,this town was described as Sawernik in the past.Nealy in 1036 A.D.there was a big fort called kote. It is very charming valley surrounded by snow clad peaks and is known as Pahalgam of Poonch.
This beautiful hilly and forest area is located 24 Kms.from Poonch town.The hill top,known as Krishna Ghati gives a commanding view of natural scenic beauty.The area is connected with a dependable road.
It is bewitching valley of seven lakes.This valley is located about 70 Kms. from Poonch town.This area is also important from trekking point of view. Neel Sar,Nandan Sar,Katora Sar are among the fascinating high altitude lakes.Several trekking expeditions used to come in this valley and trek to these lakes.
The foundation of historic fort building in the capital truncated Poonch district,was laid by Raja Abdul Razak Khan in 1713 A.D.
Poonch District Overview
An official Census 2011 detail of Poonch, a district of Jammu and Kashmir has been released by Directorate of Census Operations in Jammu and Kashmir. Enumeration of key persons was also done by census officials in Poonch District of Jammu and Kashmir.
|Area Sq. Km||1,674|
|Proportion to Jammu and Kashmir Population||3.80%|
|Sex Ratio (Per 1000)||890|
|Child Sex Ratio (0-6 Age)||895|
|Total Child Population (0-6 Age)||84,112|
|Male Population (0-6 Age)||44,390|
|Female Population (0-6 Age)||39,722|
|Child Proportion (0-6 Age)||17.64%|
|Boys Proportion (0-6 Age)||17.60%|
|Girls Proportion (0-6 Age)||17.69%|
|Population (%)||91.90 %||8.10 %|
|Child Sex Ratio (0-6)||894||902|
|Child Population (0-6)||79,746||4,366|
|Child Percentage (0-6)||18.20 %||11.30 %|
|Male Child Percentage||18.30 %||10.36 %|
|Female Child Percentage||18.09 %||12.56 %|
|Average Literacy||66.74 %||89.03 %|
|Male Literacy||79.54 %||95.23 %|
|Female Literacy||52.63 %||80.49 %|