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Kathua district

Introduction

Known as Gateway of Jammu & Kashmir State, Kathua district lies in South-East of the State. It is located 32.17' to 32.55' north latitude and 75.32' to 75.76' east longitude. Spread over an area of 2651 sq.Kms constituting 1.9 per cent of the total area of the State, the district has a population of over 4.92 lakh as per 1991 estimates. The sex ratio as per 1981 census was 917 females per 1000 males and density of population 1.86 persons per Sq.kms as per 1991 estimates. The district has literacy percentage of 31.90. For administrative, the district has been divided into four tehsils namely Kathua,Hiranagar,Basholi and Billawar. District broadly comprises three distinct zones. These can be described as border, kandi and hilly areas.The two main rivers of the district areRaviandUjhwhicharemajorcontributors to the prestigious Ravi-Tawi Irrigation Complex. As regards the main ethnic groups,hindus constitutes 91% of the district while Muslims form 7% and Sikh2% of the population.The most important minerals in the district are cement grade lime stone in Basholi.Dogri is the main language spoken by the people of the district. There are a number of Monuments in the district like towering forts and magnificent places at kathua, Lakhanpur, Jasmergarh (Hiranagar),Jasrota,Ramkote,Bhadu and Basholi.

Kathua District at a glance :
Educational Institutions 948
Health Institutions 361
Road length 784 Kms
Industrial Units Registered 3476
Area 2651 sq Kms
Population 4,92,288 (1991)
Population Density 186 per sq km
Villages 587
Tehsi l4
Panchayats 115
Blocks 8
Live-Stock Population 2.81 lakh
Gross Area sown 1,19,849 hect
Gross Area irrigated 32,752 hect.
Villages electrified 548
Villages with drinking water 552
Literacy rate 31.90%
Bank Branches 60
Principal Crop Wheat, Rice, Maize
Post Offices 129

Historical Places and Monuments

Jasrota

Was founded by Raja Jas Dev of Jammu in 1019 A.D.Jasrotias ruled this state upto 1834 A.D., when it was given to Raja Hira Singh.

Billawar
Tehsil headquarter town of the district is belived to be capital. In earlier times Billawar is known as Vallapura, the hilly state finds mention in the Rajatarangni as capital of the state till 1630 A.D.


Mankote
Was fonded by Raja Manak Dev, a contemporary of Raja Narsingh Dev of Jammu(1272-1314 A.D.). It was renamed by Raja Suchet Singh (1822-43) as Ramkote.

Lakhanpur
Raja Sangram Singh,founded Lakhanpur state.Lakhanapur is known as the gateway of Jammu & Kashmir.

Bhadu
A prominent town of Billawar tehsil. Bhadu town is situated on Bhini nallah, a tributary of Ujh river.

Tirikote
Near Jasrota and Jandi near Hiranagar were also important states/principalities in the district

Tourist Places
Some of the important tourist potential areas and religious places in the district are

Billawar
A tehsil headquarter was fonded by Raja Bhopat Pal in 1598-1614. Mahabilvakeshwar temple one of the most revered Shiva temples of the area. It is about 60 ft.high.The temples contains images of Brahma,Vishnu, 5-headed Shiva,Ganesha and Bhairavo.

Basholi
A small town is situated on the right bank of river Ravi at an altitude of 2170 ft.founded by Raja Bhupat Paul in 1653. It was known for magnificant places which are now in ruins and miniature paintings.

Sarthal
It is a beutiful meadow,situated at a height of 7000 ft.which remains covered with snow for nearly six months.It is a part of an exciting trekking route. It is located 20 Kms. from Bani.

Bani
Located at a height of 4200 ft.in the lap of lofty montains. It has a good climate and immense natural beauty. It is situated 88 Kms. from Basholi town and is linked by the road. It is also base camp of trekkers who go to different routs to Bhaderwah, Machhedi etc.

Banjal
is a beautiful pass located at an altitude of 4500 ft.It is 55 Kms.from Basholi. During March to May the area becomes colourful with lot of flowers blooming. Banjal is also known as "Garden of Natural Flowers". A P.W.D Rest House and Dak Bungalow are also available there.

Ujh
It is fast developing beautiful picnic spot near the Ujh barrage,hardly 24 Kms from kathua. The old fort of Jasrota has been cleaned up and renovated. A bird sanctuary is being developed on the bank of Ujh river.

Dhar Mahanpur
is a new emerging tourist resort.It is 27 Kms.from Basholi.

Sukarala Mata
The most famous shirne dedicated to mother goddess is Sukrala Devi shirne at a distance of 9.60 Kms from Billawar. The holy shirne is the abode of goddess Mal Devi,the re-incarnation of Sharda Devi. The holy shirne have been built by Madho Singh an exiled prince of Chamba. Regular bus services ply directly from Jammu,Kathua,Udhampur and Billawar. Numbers of Sarais of PWD,State Tourism and Shirne Management are there.

Chamunda Devi
Chamunda Devi temple is located near th main chowk in Basholi Town. The goddess is worshipped here in the shape of natural rock.

Peer Fazal Shah
The Ziarat of holy Peer is loacted in Parlibund,Kathua.It is 13 Kms.from Kathua. A bath in the spring near the shirne is considered to cure skin diseases.

Trekking Routes
There are numerous thrilling trekking routes mostly in and around Bani area which pass through virgin mountain areas of beauty. Some of these routes are

(a) Bani-Sarthal-Bhaderwah Trek - It is 53 Kms Trek.

(b) Bani-Khajar-Bani - It is 3 hours trek.

(c) Bani-Sundroon-Bani - It is soft trek upto Sundroon 12 Kms.away.

Bani
Bani is a small glaciated valley located at a height of 4200 ft in the lap of lofty mountains. Town Bani is flourished along the river 'SEWA'. Bani experiences temperate and pollar type of climate. Severe winter and moist summer are the main climatice phenomenon of this valley. It is also famous as MINI KASHMIR of Kathua district. It is also base camp of treckers for bhaderwah, chamba etc. Bani is marked by waterfalls, thick forest patches , gushing streams and medows. BANJAL, CHANDEL BHOOND are another famous tourist spots.

Banjal
It is a colouful area with lot of flowers blooming also known as "GARDEN OF NATURAL FLOWERS'.

Chandel
It is 10 kms from Bani. It is a small valley having spring by the name of CHANDEl. There are small orchards of apple, almonds and walnuts.

Panyalag
It is a small town on thee top of HILLS. It is marked by beautiful waterfalls, thick forest patches, gushing streams and green medows. It is about 7 Kms from BANI.

Dullangal
It is situated on Bani - Billawar trek. It is a small beautiful valley, 12 Kms from Bani.

Chhatargalla
It is the highest point on the Basohli-Bani Bhaderwah road. It is nearly 15 Kms from SARTHAL.

Sarthal
It is a beautiful meadow situated at a height of 7000 ft which remains covered with snow for six monhs. The virgin and beauty of the area casts a fascinating spell to any visitor. The area is bounded by snow clad mountains. It is connected to Bhaderwah and to Himachal Pardash. It is 20 Kms from Bani (Block HQ).

Duggan
It is situated at 7000 ft. It is charming valley spreading to one Kms in width and 5 kms in length with fresh water streams flowing from both sides. . It is blanked with thick CHIR, DEODHAR and SHRUBS. It experiences temperate type of climate. It receives winter rainfall from wetern disturbances and summer rainfall from mansoons. Cold winter and pleasant summer are the main attractinns of this place. This place falls on the way from Bani to Dhaggar. In this area is also located one Old Nag Temple from where annual yatra goes to Kailash Kund.

Jodia di mata
Jodia Di Mata is a religious center which is visited by hundreds of pilgrims during Navratras. Voluntary groups help in providing basic facilities to pilgrims. Situated 4 Kms. From Banjal (Bani, District Kathua), its altitude is about 7,000 ft. Jodia Di Mata commands lot of faith of local people. It is also a beautiful place, full of natural beauty.

Dhoula Wali Mata
Dhoula Wali Mata is a religious center. A large number of pilgrims come and offer their prayers, especially during Navratras. According to a popular belief, a Shephered once dreamt that Mata had come to Mandhi Dhar. He went to Mandhi Dhar where Goddess gave Darshan to him as a little girl. The Shepherd started worshipping the goddess regularly. It is said that once it snowed very heavily. The Shepherd who was a regular worshiper ran to Mandhi Dhar to worship her. Realising the difficulty of the shepherd, she said she shall go to where Dhouli Wali Mata is situated now. The shepherd built a temple at Dhouli Wali Mata. This place is located 10 Kms from Jodia Di Mata at a height of 6000 ft. People have to treck to reach this beautiful spot. It can be reached from Katli (Billawarr), Bhoond (Basohli), Banhore (Mahanpur). Regular Bus service is available from Kathua, Jammu, Udhampur, Pathankote to reach Billawar, Bhoond, Basohli, Mahanpur. Sarais are available at the Shrine.