From the end of the 17th Century up to 1837 A.D. Poonch was ruled by different Muslim Rajas of Loran. It then fell into the hands of Raja Faiz Talib Khan of Rajori.In 1846 this area was handed over to Maharaja Gulab Singh under the treaty of Amritsar. Maharaja Gulab Singh handed over these and some other areas to his nephews, Jawahar Singh and Moti singh with the condition that they would not make any administrative change without the consent of the Maharaja of Kashmir.
Poonch was converted into jagir by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1935-36 by the deposing Raja of Poonch.The Dogras always found it difficult to establish their rule in Poonch .In 1945, when Pakistan came into being, the people of the area started an armed struggle against the Dogra as well as Indian forces and got the area liberated which now administratively stands divided into four districts namely Poonch, Sudhanoti, Bagh and Haveli.
Rawalakot famous as pearl valley is situated in the heart of district Poonch. The altitude of this beautiful valley is 1615 meters. Situated at a distance of 76 kilometers from Kohala and 110 Kms from Rawalpindi, it is linked with Rawalpindi/Islamabad via Azad Pattan and Dhalkot and with Muzaffarabad via Kohallah by black top roads. The construction of Goi Nullah road between Rawalakot and Azad Pattan has reduced the distance and journey time considerably. During summer the place becomes full of green grass and beautiful flowers including many varieties of Roses. Rawalakot offers very pleasant climate during the summer. The city has some good hotels and private guest houses that provide comfortable accommodation. Here the tourism industry is growing with the increasing collaboration of public-private efforts. Its pleasant climate and easy access from other regions makes it a favorite tourist destination. The improvement of transportation and telecommunication sectors has further contributed to its potential for tourism.
Kot Muttay Khan:
It is situated on the main Rawalakot-Mang road near Topa. The site is located at high altitude and allows visitors to enjoy cool and comfortable atmosphere during summer. One can have a nice overview of the adjoining valleys from this point.
The place is located on the outskirts of Raw alakot (4 Kms) with an altitude of 2058 meters above the sea level on the main Rawlakot-Banjosa road. The site offers comfortable climate and tranquil atmosphere during the summer. It also possesses historical/archeological importance as an abandoned old temple exists here. The renovation and preservation of the said temple can increase the interest of the visiting researchers and tourists.
It is situated 20 kilometers from Rawlakot at an altitude of 1981 meters. Its picturesque beauty and impressive surrounding is compelling and attract tourists to reach here and enjoy the nature. Amidst the captivating beauty of Banjosa, the artificial lake reflects the dense forests standing along the surroundings of the resting calm waters of Banjosa Lake.
The nearby worth-seeing areas of Banjosa are Jandali, Hussain Kot (The native town of the great freedom fighter Captain Hassan Khan) and Devil Gali which cannot be simply bypassed for a pleasure trip. The distance parting these destinations from Banjosa are 3 Kms, 4Kms and 12 Kms respectively. These places portray rich inherent natural beauty encompassing all other while awaiting visitors for a comfortable stay. There are a few private rest houses on the way to Banjosa from Rawlakot. Also Ghorimar is situated 20 Kms from Khaigala awaiting ones arrival to explore the fascinating beauty over-looking the sub-valleys of Rawlakot and Bagh. Accommodation on reasonable rates is available here in Tourism, PWD and Pearl Development Authority’s rest houses.
From Rawalakot 15 Kilometers ahead this place is surrounded by dense forests, which make it charming and pleasant. A tourist Lodge has been constructed by AJK Tourism Department for the tourists. The place enables the tourists to have an easy access to Banjosa which is 5 Kms ahead.
Ghori Maar & Toli pir:
Ghori Maar is situated at a distance of 30 Kilometers ahead of Rawalakot. A fair-weather road via Khaigala leads to this place. On reaching Ghori Maar, one can explore the fascinating beauty over-looking the sub valleys of Rawalakot & Bagh. AJK Tourism Department provides accommodation facilities to visitors. The road from Ghori Maar leads to Toli pir a place that offers calm atmosphere with vast green meadows stretching over a big area. The place holds the potential to mesmerize visitors.
The state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir lies between longitude 73o – 75o and latitude 33o – 36o and comprises an area of 5134 square miles (13,297 square kilometers). The topography of the area is mainly hilly and mountainous with valleys and stretches of plains. The area is full of natural beauty with thick forest, fast flowing rivers and winding streams. Main rivers are Jehlum, Neelum and Poonch. The climate is sub-tropical highland type with an average yearly rainfall of 1300 mm. The elevation ranges from 360 meters in the south to 6325 meters in the north.
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