Although no fully documented or detailed history is available about Kathua, it is believed that about 2,000 years ago, a Rajput of Andotra clan named Jodh Singh came to Kathua from Hastinapur. Later, his three sons established hamlets in this region by the name of Taraf Tajwal, Taraf Manjali and Taraf Bhajwal. Together, these hamlets were popularly called Kathai in older times, which is the present day Kathua.

It has been said by Greek historians that a prominent record of existence of this area can be accounted for the time when India was invaded by Alexander. It mentions the existence of two powerful empires, the Abhisara (Poonch) and Kathaioi.

In Kathua, there are many places, which are proof of the visit of Pandavas. It is also said that Lord Krishna visited this area in order to take back the diamond back from Jamabant. That diamond is now known as Koh-i-Noor and has become known as a priced collection of Crown Jewels of United Kingdom.

Kathaioi is located on the foothills along Ravi River. It has been described as a powerful republic of that era. The topography of Kathaioi corresponds with the present day Kathua. The people of this region have been described as an epitome of bravery and courage as records mention that that they put up a tough fight to stop the invading army of Alexander.


Kathua is the sixth largest city of Jammu and Kashmir after Srinagar, Jammu city, Anantnag, Udhampur and Baramulla. Kathua District generally consists of three diverse zones viz. Border, Kandi and Hilly. This district is made up of approximately 587 villages. The principal media of education are English, Hindi and Urdu. Kathua, like Jammu district, has primarily Hindu population.

Known for an interesting assorted topography of rich agricultural areas along the Punjab/Kashmir border, a mountainous region in the east and extensive plains stretching eastward to the foothills of the Himalaya, Kathua is an interesting tourist destination.

Kathua district is situated at 320 17' to 320 55' North Latitude and 750 70' to 760 16' East longitude. This District is bordered by Himachal Pradesh in the North-East, Punjab in South-East, Jammu in the West, Doda and Udhampur in North and North-West and Pakistan in the South-West. The city of Kathua is also surrounded by three rivers. The three important rivers surrounding this interesting city are Ravi, Ujjh and Khad. Kathua city is situated along the banks of Khad River, which divides it into two regions. The two regions are Parliwand, which means the other side and Orliwand, which means this side. Both the sides are connected through three bridges.

The district can suitably be separated into three different Agro-climatic regions. The major area lies south of Pathankot-Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. It consists of deep alluvial soils and is mostly irrigated and fairly productive. The second zone lies north of the National Highway and stretches till the foothills of Himalayas. It is called Kandi area. This area is marked by thin soil, which is full of rocks and boulders with insignificant ordinary water resources. This land faces extreme scarcity of water and the output of soil is extremely less.

Beyond Shivalik ranges is the third area and it extends till Pir Panjal ranges. Due to its mountainous feature, Shivalik range has very little possibility for agriculture.

The climate of this city can be called typical sub-tropical. Interestingly, this region is known to experience six seasons because it lies close to the river bed. This means it sees moderate summers (up to 41 degrees) and harsh winters (-2 to subzero degreed). Rainfall is also substantial here as the place registers an annual rainfall of 700 cm mainly during monsoons and winters. Kathua city does not get any snow. However, white slopes can be seen in surrounding higher peaks such as at Bani Tehsil. February and March experience heavy hailstorms.

Major crops of the district are Paddy, Maize and Wheat. Wheat and Paddy and maize constitute the staple food. This District has one wildlife sanctuary at Jasrota. The Sanctuary houses wild animals like Leopard, Deer, wild boar and snakes.


Kathua District is primarily divided into three zones - Border, Hilly and Kandi. Areas of Billawar, Basohli and Lohai-Malhar Blocks are the hilly areas where you see a predominance of Pahari culture. It is much like the culture of the neighboring state Himachal Pradesh. The remaining people of Kathua follow Dogra culture. Dogri is also the primary language spoken here. While generally Dogri is influenced by Punjabi accent, this rural area is liberated from that tone. Kashmiri is also spoken in this area, primarily by people residing in Lohai-Malhar and Bani areas. Kathua also has a small Gujjar community, who speak the Gojri language.

High on the cultural quotient, Kathua is known to celebrate festivals on a grand scale. Religious festivals like Baisakhi, Lohri and Id-ul-Fitr are celebrated here, along with Ram Navmi and Martyr's day of Guru Arjun Dev.

The nine days of Navratras make an exceptional juncture for pilgrimage worship so it’s a great time to visit the holy places in Kathua. This is the time when Ram Lilas are performed in all parts of the district. The Ram Lila which is performed in Basohli is considered the most famous.

Temples and Shrines

Kathua is also the land of many religious shrines. One of the most famous temples here is Mata Baal-Kanya. This temple is in Changran village, which lies at a distance of 2 km from the city. Some other temples and shrines here are the Mata Ashapurni Temple, Mata Jasrota and Peer Chattar Shaw.

Special Attraction

Basohli Painting

This is a style of painting characterized by vigorous use of primary colors and a peculiar facial formula prevailed in the 17th and early 18th centuries on the foothills of Western Himalayas in the states of Jammu and Punjab.

Basohli, a town of Kathua district which is well known for its paintings, is a symbol for vigorous, bold and imaginative artistic styles. These artistic styles are popular for their style, richness and unconventional appeal.

How to Reach

By Air

Kathua is just 80 km away from Jammu city, which has a well-connected airport.

By Rail

Kathua is connected by rail to Delhi. There are also railway links to Jammu and Pathankot from Kathua. Kathua Railway Station at Gobindsar is about 4 km from the city.

By Road

The bus journey from Kathua to Jammu takes approximately 2.5 hours. Video Coach AC buses from Kathua to Jammu are available from morning 05:00 am to evening 10:00 pm. There are two bus stands in Kathua. Buses for long route do not come inside Kathua.

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