Poonch has witnessed many historical era. Around 326 BC when Alexander the Great invaded the lower Jhelum belt to fight with Porus, this region was known as Dravabhisar. In 6th Century AD, the famousChinese traveller Huien Tsang passed through this area. According to his observation, this region was known as Part of Kashmir. Around 850 AD Poonch became a sovereign state ruled by Raja Nar, who was basically a horse trader. According to Rajtrangani Raja Trilochan Pal of Poonch gave a tough fight to Mahmood Ghazanavi who invaded this area in 1020 A.D. In 1596, Mughal King Jahangir made Siraj-Ud-Din ruler of Poonch. Siraj-Ud-Din and hisdescendent Raja Shahbaz Khan, Raja Abdul Razak, Raja Rustam Khan and Raja Khan Bahadur Khan ruled this area upto 1792 AD.
In 1819 this area was captured by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and it remained under the occupation of Khalsa Darbar of Lahore till 1850.
In 1850, Raja Moti Singh who was son of Raja Dhayan Singh, the Prime Minister of Khalsa Darbar set up its separate Principality known as Poonch state. This dogra dynasty ruled Poonch state from 1850 to 1947 when the traumatic events of partition of the country affected this area. Half of the Tehsil of Haveli (85 villages out of 173), some part of tehsil Mendhar (14 villages out of 99) and whole of Bagh tehsil (113 villages) and tehsil Sadhnuti (101 villages) of Poonch state were grabbed by the raiders from Pakistan.
The era 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.
The rule of Raja Moti Singh, Baldev Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Jagatdev Singh and Raja Shiv Rattan Dev Singh witnessed all round development of Poonch state.
Fort Building Poonch
The historic Poonch fort was renovated and redesigned. Town Hall and Court building were constructed on the line of Mubarak Mandi of Jammu, Fountain garden Poonch was established on the pattern of Shalimar Garden of Kashmir,. Baghi Khanna, Bagh Deodi the gateway of city and number of other buildings were also constructed. Palaces of rulers called Baldev Mahal, Moti Mahal and Sheesh Mahal reflected the aesthetic of the rulers. A number of temples, mosques and gurdwaras also emerged during these years.
[ Moti Mahal. and Bagh Deodi (from left to Right) ]
The photographs shown in this page are contributed by Maharajkar Singh Isher, Everest Mountering Club Rajouri.