Glimpses from history: Dhanidhar Fort in Rajouri

Insight on Kashmir // Danidhar fort in Rajouri district of Jammu Kashmir attracts less visitors than any other place of attraction in the area perhaps because of its dilapidated condition. However, its grandeur and loftiness is still worthy to be viewed particularly when one is inside the huge building. The Rajauri government describes that this historic fort was built during the reign of Mian Hathu- the then governor of Rajouri. He ruled this small governorate from 1846-1856 AD under the rule of the Lahore Darbar. In this very period, the governor started the construction of Dhannidhar Fort. The Fort was completed in 1855 AD. The main intention for the construction of the Fort was to keep Dogra Forces in this safer place because from this place, the whole Valley of Rajouri could be viewed. Apart from this during the Dogra regime, the revenue was collected from the farmers in the shape of grains and the grain was dumped in the fort which was sold later on.

Dhanidhar Fort in Rajouri

The fort has been constructed utilizing the remains of the Jarral Rajas buildings. Lt Nawang Kapadia describes that before the advent of the Muslims, Rajouri was ruled by Hindu Kings belonging to the ‘Pal’ dynasty who claimed to be descendants of the Pandavas. Dhanidhar Fort is believed to have been built by one of the kings of this dynasty. The fort commands a complete view of the Rajouri town. The name Dhanidhar was given to this highest elevation of land portion overlooking Rajouri town and the valley below, on the basis of a village called Dhanidhar in its close proximity.

A view from Dhanidhar fort

Rajouri”‘ is situated to the south of the Pir Panjal mountain range. Poonch
is in its” west while Bhimber lies in the south.

Nazakat Hussain, a Ph D scholar of the Aligarh University mentioned in his thesis titled ‘Archeology of Kashmir’ that the fort was originally built by the Mughal emperors.

Being on the Imperial route it was the halting place of Mughal Emperors during their visit to Kashmir. The fort was built by the Mughals with the help of stone blocks and baked bricks. There were mosques, gardens, rooms, assembly halls and hammams. All the structures, except the ruins of a small mosque in the market’ (Gujar Mandi) were once occupied by the cixil Hospital and forest department. Therefore it was not possible to trace out and prepare plans of the structures. Only the fortress wall towards riverside is standing there perhaps due to strong ‘ built of huge
stone blocks and bricks. These could have been part of a riverside summer
palace which used to be a common feature of the Mughal buildings on imperial route leading to Kashmir.

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