My friends outside Jammu always pop me the question whether there are some other places of tourist interest in Jammu other than Katra, Bagh-e-Bahu and Patnitop. To find an answer to this quest I plan short trips to adjoining areas in Jammu region.
During such a similar getaway, I, Vikas along with a biker buddy ‘Aman’ happened to reach a Heriatge spot ‘Jasrota Fort’ near Kathua. Its existence to the passer-by on NH is reliant on a single board on road-side. While moving in the direction of fort, we found another nice spot ‘Ujjah Barrage’ which was inaugurated in 1980 by Sheikh Abdullah. However it was abandoned and whole structure was in shambles. Even the wooden steps of surveillance tower were missing.
It promised enormous potential for being developed as a place of tourist interest due to its scenic beauty, abundant water and its strategic location, but it was in complete state of neglect. The park built near it has been installed with fountains but there is no water supply to it and the park was totally dry.
If I compare it with Asang Barrage situated near the border of Uttarakhand & Himachal Pradesh, Asang has been developed as Bird Sanctuary, Water Sports Park and Holiday Resort with cottages. They offer various packages for good value to persons opting for longer stay, but here no such provision exists.
After visiting ‘Ujjah’ we went to Jasrota Fort and it was impossible to find without the help of shopkeepers there as the boards were not properly placed.The fort was few kms inside from the road and the connecting passage was rough and not even the suspension of bike rattled but the columns of our spine also.
We parked the bike near a temple and decided to cover rest of distance of few metres by foot.Ruins of walls of fort were visible. The way was full of bushes giving it a haunting and deserted look.On reaching the destination we found a large deep pit like structure which on close examination revealed a dry pond in which vegetation had acquired jungle like structure. If this pond was restored, it would surely beautify the place. And the fort was in even worse conditions as most of structure had fallen down.
On one or two walls we found beautiful paintwork, the paintwork on others had faded with tough weather and no maintenance and to make them worse, some morons had written their names on these ruins. The remaining structure of the Fort is prone to collapse anytime and it is duty of the concerned authorities to restore it else we will loose a beautiful Heritage Fort.
In the end,we would like to request the concerned authorities please take care of this beautiful heritage before its too late.