History of Poonch District
Poonch district has witnessed many historical era. Around 326 BC when Alexander the Great attacked the lower Jhelum belt to battle with Porus, this region was known as Dravabhisar. In 6th Century AD, the famous Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang passed through this area. Around 850 AD Poonch became an independent state ruled by Raja Nar, who was mainly a horse trader. In 1596, Mughal emperor Jahangir made Siraj-Ud-Din ruler of Poonch. In 1819 this area was captured by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and it remained under the occupation of Khalsa Darbar of Lahore till 1850. The epoch from 1850 to 1947 is considered as the Golden Period of the history of Poonch. The Principality of Poonch got status of a state from British Raj in 1901 AD during the reign of Raja Baldev Singh.
Geography of Poonch District
Poonch is the smallest district of the Jammu and Kashmir State. It is situated between 33 degree 25' to 34 degree 01' north latitude and 73 degree 58' to 74 degree 35' east longitude. The district is bordered by Kashmir Valley (Baramulla, Pulwama, Badgam, and Anantnag Districts) in the north east; district Rajouri in the south and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) in the west. Spread over an area of 1,674 sq. Kms, Poonch District is entirely undulating and mountainous except few-low lying valleys. During winters all the areas height are covered with snow.
Administration of Poonch District
The district Poonch comprises 178 villages including 10 uninhabited villages, 115 panchayats, 51 patwar halqas, 12 girdawar circles, 8 niabats, 6 blocks, 4 tehsils, one sub-division and 190993 khasra numbers. At present under single line administration, the heads of different departments are working under the administrative control of District Development Commissioner. The District Development Commissioner is also known as Deputy Commissioner and is Revenue head of the District. The Deputy Commissioner is also vested with Powers of District Magistrate and is responsible to maintain Law and Order in the District. The law confers him very extensive powers for preserving peace and harmony. The administration of Police force is vested with Superintendent of Police in the District.
Economy of Poonch District
The economic condition of people of Poonch district is not adequate. Industrial environment is completely absent and commercial activity exists on a very low scale. Unemployment problem among youth, both skilled and unskilled workers is quite huge when compared to other districts of the State. The State Government is trying its level best to eliminate the problem by implementation of different employment generation schemes.
Culture of Poonch District
Culture of Poonch district is wide and varied. The people of different faiths, caste and creed live peacefully in the district. Races like Gujjars, Bakerwals, Punjabis, Kashmiris and Rajputs, mostly Muslims live in harmony nourishing their composite culture lavishly. Gujjars and Bakerwals speak Gojri whereas rest of the population (excluding Kashmiris) speaks Pahari or Poonchi. Literature in languages of Poonch is rich in folk songs. Most of the Punchi folk songs make women as their vital theme. Family feuds, marriage ceremonies, battles, love, social rituals, social evils and superstitions are also have been given attention. Chann, Kainchi, Sepaiah and Maiah are some of the admired folk songs of Poonchi and Gojri. Folk songs also speak of the courage and heroism of the peoples of Poonch.
Tourism in Poonch District
Poonch district has a lot to offer when it comes to tourism. Set amidst royal snow-capped mountains, dotted with beautiful lakes and twisty streams, affluent in nature's choicest gifts of fruit, flower, forests and age-old historical monuments, Poonch district offers the panorama of a vacation. Noori Chammb is associated with the name of Mughal Queen Nur Jahan is famous for its scenic beauty and water fall. Girgan Dhok is a valley of seven lakes. These lovely lakes have their own charm which a visitor would long remember. Poonch Fort bears the magnificence of Mughal architecture. As peoples of the place follow different religions, different religious places exist in the district and are renowned for the pilgrimage.
How to reach Poonch District
District Poonch is connected to other parts of the state and country through Road links. It is about 250 Km form Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir State. Everyday from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. a number of buses, Video Coaches, Tempos Traveller, Sumo, and other vehicles leave Bus-Stand Jammu for Poonch.