One of the most beautiful places in Kashmir is Poonch, which is affectionately called Mini Kashmir with the LOC surrounding it on all sides. The India and Pakistan war 1947-48 divided it into two parts where one went to Pakistan and the other became part of the Indian state.

There is sufficient evidence in the Mahabharata and in accounts of 7th century Chinese traveller Xuanzang, it is detailed that Poonch, along with Rajouri and Abhisara, were under the influence of Republican Kambojas during epic times.


Located at 33.77°N 74.1°E, Poonch has an average elevation of 981 metres (3218 feet). Poonch Valley is separated from the Kashmir Valley by the Pir Panjal ranges. For quite some time, the only road connecting the two valleys was from Jammu. Now with the completion of the Mughal Road connecting Bufliaz in Poonch to Shopian in Kashmir, a direct connection between the two has been set. Its 4 tehsils are Haveli, Mendhar, Surankote and Mandi.


Poonch has witnessed many historical phases. The place finds a mention in accounts dating back to the 6th century AD when Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited here. He wrote that Poonch was famous for graphics, fine tea (Musloom) and good horses.

By about 850 A.D., Poonch came under the rule of a horse trader named Mr. Nar. He took over Poonch as a sovereign state and declared himself the king of this area. However, in 1596 A.D. Mughal King Jahangir set up another ruler here. He named Siraj-ud-din of Kahuta as the king of Pooch. The rule of this place changed hands once again in 1798 AD when Rooh-ullah-Sangu, who was a Gujjar leader, was named the king.

Poonch came under the Lahore-based Khalsa Darbar between 1819 and 1850 A.D. This era came to an end when a king named Moti Singh set up the Dogra Raj here in 1850 AD. Following the demise of Raja Jagat Dev Singh in 1940, it came under the rule of Kashmir Government, which named Sardar Abdul Qayoom Khan as the administrator of Poonch.

Poonch was converted into a state during the British Raj in 1901 AD. This was done under the reign of Raja Baldev Singh, when the region saw its prime.

Poonch today is populated by people coming from different faiths. They live peacefully in this district and most of them speak Pahari. The Gujjars and Bakerwals here primarily speak Gojri.

Folk Songs and Literature

Making women the central theme, most of the Punchi folk songs are considered to be rich part of literature in different languages. Special attention has also been given to issues such as family feuds, society, wars with other states, love and marriage as well as superstition. Some folk songs of this area became famous across the globe, some of them being Chann, Kainchi, Sepaiah and Maiah. The theme of these folk songs is based on the bravery and valour of warriors of the region. Some other known folk songs are Jabu, Shamash Khan and Nura. While these songs belong to the ancient era, they have been passed on from one generation to another without being put on paper. Literary scholars are now trying to preserve these folk songs by monitoring them in literature.


Poonch is not economically developed, primarily due to the lack of presence of industries here. The commercial activity that is present here is also on a nominal scale, which makes economic growth difficult. Peoples work on small pieces of self owned land for cultivation. The purchasing power of people is low due to poverty in the area. Rate of unemployment among the youth is extremely high.

Tourism in Poonch

Located among magnificent snow-capped hills and vast mountains, Poonch is a beautiful tourist destination. It has a number of beautiful lakes and winding streams. Poonch is known for producing delicious fruits at its dense forests. There are also some ancient historical monuments here. This makes Poonch district a place for an excellent vacation.

Places to See

Noori Chhamb

This place derives its name from the Mughal queen Noor Jahan. Noori Chhamb is famous for its picturesque location and a striking waterfall. A spray of water rises here due to the fall of a stream in the surrounding area.

It is situated about 45 km from Poonch. Delighted by the beauty of this fall, Emperor Jahangir called it Noori Chammb, dedicating it to his beautiful queen Noor Jahan.

It is said that while visiting Kashmir, the queen would stay here to relax. A mirror was fixed beside the fall on the mountain wall where she is fancied to do her make-up. The remains of that mirror are present here till date.

Girgan Dhok and Lakes

A must see in Poonch, this is a beautiful valley with seven lakes in the Buffliaz belt. It lies about 70 km from Poonch and makes a must visit for visiting tourists. The seven lakes here are situated at an altitude of 12000 ft.

Poonch Fort

While the foundation of this ancient fort was initiated by Raja Adbul Razaq Khan, the construction was started by his son Raja Rustam Khan who was a connoisseur of architecture. The fort was initially started as a multifaceted structure to fortify the town. It was also used as a royal residence. The architecture of this fort is reflective of a Mughal influence. Parts of the fort also bear Sikh and European architectural designs.


Located near the confluence of two streams Gagri and Pulsta, Mandi is a small village surrounded by steep hills and green meadows. It is about 20 km from Poonch and is home to the Mandir of Swami Budha Amar Nath. Summer months here see a lot of tourists visiting this place due to its pleasant weather. The most commonly used language in Mandi is Kashmiri.


This is a small village located atop a hill. It is located 35 km away from Poonch on the Pir Panjal range. This place also attracts many tourists. The flowing Loran Nallah makes it more captivating. Upto 1542 AD, Loran was a capital of Hindu rulers. Called Loran-Kote at that time, it had a fort as well. The ruins of this fort can still be seen here.


Rising as high as 150 feet, this is a scenic waterfall that gets its waters from Pir Panjal range. It is 12 km from Loran. A tourist hut has been constructed here by the Rural Development Department.


Popularly known as Pahalgam of Poonch, Surankote lies on the banks of River Suran. It is located in a delightful valley surrounded by high peaks where one can see heavy snow during winters.


Another attraction for tourists is Dehra-Gali, which is 45 km from Poonch. It is a land of good climate with a cool breeze. There are dense forests in Dehra-Gali because of which it has enchanting views.

Ramkund Mandir

About 4 kms from Mendhar village in the tehsil Mendhar, a temple by the name of Ramkund Mandir is located. There are three springs in temple: Ramkund, Sitakund and Lakshmankund. On the first bright half of the month of Chaitra, people visit this temple and take holy dips in these Kunds.

Shri Dashnami Akhara Mandir

The southern part of Poonch town also houses a famous temple, Shri Dashnami Akhara Mandir. It is said that in 1760 AD, Swami Jawahar Giriji set foot on this place and continued his meditation here. When this news spread to the ears of the Poonch King Rustam Khan, he paid his respects to Swamiji with utmost sincerity and dedicated the land to him. From then onwards, Swamiji used to conduct his sermons and provide insight to the people of the town. Later in 1787 AD, Swamiji took Samadhi at this very place. A Samadhi complex was built later on which still can be seen on the left hand side of the complex. After Swami Jawahar Giriji, Swami Shamaya Nand Ji, who was a Sanskrit scholar, sat on this spiritual seat. He started Sanskrit school in the complex. He took his Samadhi at Haridwar.

Ziarat Sain Miran Sahib

This Ziarat is situated in a village called Guntrian. It is located close to the actual line of control with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). This place is often visited by the of devotees of different sacred beliefs who have firm belief to anything one wishes for in front of the holy place will never goes unfulfilled. A road has been constructed to facilitate the movement of the pilgrims who wish to visit this Ziarat. Prior to its construction, arduous climbing was required to reach this Ziarat.

Ziarat Chhote Shah Sahib

In remembrance of the Muslim saint Sakhi Peer Chhota Shah, the three day annual Urs is celebrated. The celebration is held at Sakhi Maidan which is about 5 kms from Mendhar. The same Muslim saint’s Ziarat is located at this place which is regarded as sacred by Muslims and Hindus alike. It is believed that the ancient architecture of the city of Pandavas, which is ruins now, is sited near the Ziarat within hundred yards.

Ziarat Sain Illahi Bakash Sahib

The well recognized Ziarat of Sain Illahi Bakhsh Sahib is situated in the village of Battalkote in Mandi a block under Poonch district. It is 37 km north of Poonch. It is the last place which has human settlements. Battalkote is an attractive and beautiful village, which is located between the confluence of the rivers Nain Sukh and Nandishool and the hills lying south of Peer Panchal range. This holy place lies at the heart of the village on a carelessly sprawling green ridge. The shrine is bordered by sparkling clear brooks, snow capped mountain peaks, thick strap of forests and beautiful fields.

Ziarat Pir Fazal Shah Sahib

Annual Urs is observed for one day at the premises of this holy memorial of the Muslim Saint Pir Fazal Shah which is located at the village called Gundi in Surankote in the month of December. To celebrate Urs, thousands of folks travel from distant as well as close by villages and gather here during Urs beating traditional drums.

Gurudwara Nangali Sahib

This Gurudwara is situated on the banks of Drungali Nallah, about 6 km from Poonch. One of the most ancient Gurudwara of Northern India, this complex currently comprises about 70 rooms, a Langar Hall and the main building. It attracts devotees of all religions every year.

Trekking in Poonch

Poonch is a paradise for trekkers and nature lovers. The lush green meadows and coniferous forests are part of a rich flora and fauna. Due to lack of means of communication to this area, locals, visitors, pilgrims and Europeans often have to trek these hills to get to Kashmir.

Wildlife in Poonch

Poonch District is rich in wildlife due to the geographical and climatic conditions. Rare mammals of this area include the markhor, musk deer, brown bear, leopard, ghoral. Some of the birds which inhabit different parts of this district include the pheasant, black partridge, chakurs and snow cock kohlas.


Summers are short and usually pleasant in Poonch. The temperature in summer generally does not cross 31°C. Winters are cool and characterized by rainfall. Though snowfall is uncommon yet may occur in some years.

How to Reach

The district of Poonch is connected to other parts of the country through road links only.

By Air

One can reach till Jammu by air. Thereafter, the journey till Poonch has to be by road. It is a travel of about 240 km from Jammu. As the road to Poonch passes through hilly regions, the time taken to travel this distance is much more than that in the plains. Public transport like buses, tempo traveller or Tata Sumo takes about six hours to reach Poonch from Jammu.

By Rail

One can consider travelling up to Jammu by rail. The journey after that has to be completed by road only.

By Road

Buses from Jammu are available from 5 am to 12 noon. Other type of public transports is available from 4 am to 4 pm.

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