Poonch Fort of Jammu which is also known as Poonch Qila is one of the historical fort of Jammu and Kashmir. Poonch Fort is situated in the district Poonch of Jammu and Kashmir. It was built by Raja Rustam Khan in the year between 1760 and 1787. The architecture who built this huge fort was very fond of Mughal’s architecture and Raja Moti Singh was got impressed by the design of the architecture so he kept renovating this fort for 40 continuous years.Poonch Fort adds more glory to the historic city of Jammu and Kashmir. This fort is authentic and documented that records a history of district Poonch. Poonch Fort is one of the historic monument of Jammu and Kashmir to visit. This fort covers the area of 7,535 sq.m. Poonch fort of Jammu and Kashmir records the historical stories of Dogras, Muslims and Sikhs. Raja Rustam Khan was the son of Raja Abdul Razaq Khan so basically the foundation was laid by Raja Abdul Razaq Khan around 1713 AD. So after this he died and further the fort was built by his on Raja Rustam Khan. Raja Moti Singh years after the renovation of Poonch fort hired a European architecture and constructed it in European style. This Fort has now become one of the tourist destination in district Poonch of Jammu and Kashmir.In ancient times, Poonch was part of the Abhisara region and formed part of Alexander the Great’s conquests. In later sources, the region is called Paranotsa, but also known by its capital city, Lohara, which gave rise to the Lohara dynasty of Kashmir (c. 1003–1320 CE).Afterwards Poonch came under the control of the Mughal Empire, then the Durrani Empire and finally the Sikh Empire. The Sikh monarch, Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave Poonch to the Dogra noble, Raja Dhyan Singh, as a fief. After the death of Ranjit Singh, Dhyan Singh was murdered in Sikh intrigues, and the region was transferred to Gulab Singh as part of the Jammu and Kashmir state under British suzerainty.After the departure of the British in August 1947, the tribesmen of Poonch rebelled, inviting Pakistani assistance and giving rise to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. The war ended a year later with the region being divided between India and Pakistan.The foundation of this fort was laid by Raja Adbul Razaq Khan in 1713 A.D. The actual construction work was, however, started by his son Raja Rustam Khan. In fact, Poonch was earlier named after him as Rustam Nagar. Originally the fort was planned as a composite structure for the fortification of the town and for housing the royal palace.Witness to many a historic events and change of hands, the fort reflects the cultural and architectural ethos of the Mughal, Dogra and Sikh rulers. It is, however, the Mughal style of architecture that dominates. The fort has a temple, a gurudwara and a mosque. The mosque was damaged in the 2005 quake; the temple and the gurudwara still exist in the southern part of the structure. The fort has 89 rooms in all in eight structures and five courtyards.During the Sikh rule in 1819-1846, the central block was added which bears the distinct influence of Sikh architectural style. But it goes to the credit of Raja Moti Singh who took a lot of interest in giving a new look to the fort and continued renovating it for almost four decades. He had even hired a European architect to design the front block of the fort.The fort building complex was converted into a secretariat of the kingdom after shifting the palace to Moti Mahal during Raja Baldev Singh’s reign.Though the renovation of the fort began two years ago, it is going on at a snail’s pace because of the delayed sanction of funds. Nearly Rs. four crore have been sanctioned so far but if the proposal for a mega project gets the nod, it will cost much more.What is unfortunate is that Poonch is more in news because of firing from across the Line of Control than its historic significance, its heritage palaces, forts, lakes and streams and the captivating scenic beauty. The town connects to Srinagar via the famous Mughal Road.
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