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Rajapuri District, Jammu Kashmir

Rajouri is a district of Jammu region in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Line of Control lies to its west, Poonch to its north and Naushera and Chhamb to its south. Rajouri is famous for its kalari( made from milk).

The district comprises six tehsils (boroughs). The land is mostly fertile and mountainous. Maize and rice are the main crops of the area and the main source of the irrigation is the river Tawi that originates from the mountains of Pir Panjal. Though Urdu and English are the main mediums of instruction, the other dialects such as Gujri, Pahari and Dogri are much spoken at the informal level. Gujri is mainly spoken by the Gujjar and Bakarwal tribes who are known for herding goats, sheep and horses. However, the fine line between Gujjar and Bakarwal tribes is that the former are farmers as they own land while the latter are nomads who herd cattle. The population is officially divided along the religious lines – though religiously diverse masses normally live in peace and harmony. The total population therefore, in accordance with the 2001 census, is 50% Muslim, 48% Hindu, 2% Sikhs and others.

History:

Rajouri district was a region of immense significance in ancient times. The Mahabharata has references to a kingdom known as Panchalya Desha, whose king was Panchal Naresh, and whose daughter Draupadi was married to the Pandavas. Historians identify Panchalya Desha as the area in the Panchal range of mountains. Rajouri was also a part of this kingdom of Panchal Naresh. The region was then known as Rajapuri – ‘the land of Kings’. It finds its mention in the travel account of Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang who visited the town in 632 B.C.E. and described it as a part of Kashmiri territory. Still earlier in the Buddhist period, Rajouri formed a part of Gandhara territory (Afghanistan, Gandhar and Tashkent) and later was incorporated in the province called Darabhisanga which comprised the hilly stretch from Poonch to Kashmir. In those days Laharkote in Poonch district and Rajouri had emerged as two influential states of the area. Several villages, towns, and cities are located in Rajauri, like Saaj.

Rajouri witnessed some of the toughest fighting during Pakistani intervention in Kashmir during Operation Gibraltar. The town was initially captured from the Indian Army by undercover Pakistani commandos with the aid of local Mujahideen but the wider operation failed and, with all-out war with India looming, Pakistan withdrew its troops. Major Malik Munawar Khan Awan, a Pakistani commando officer who led the attack on Rajouri on the night of 15 September 1965, was later entitled with the name “King of Rajouri” by the Government of Pakistan

Organisation:

The district comprises the tehsils of Rajouri, Darhal,sunderbani, Koteranka, Nowshera, Thannamandi, and Kalakot.

There are nine blocks: Rajouri, Darhal, Sunderbani, Doongi, Nowshera, Kalakote, Manjakote, Thanamandi and Budhal Tehsil. Each block consists of a number of panchayats.

Geography:

Rajauri is located at 33.38°N 74.3°E. It has an average elevation of 915 metres (3001 feet).

Climate:

The climate of Rajauri is somewhat cooler than the other areas of Duggardesh plains. Summers are short and pleasant. The summer temperature generally does not exceed 41 degrees. Winters are cool and chilly characterized with rainfall due to western disturbances. Snowfall is scanty but may occur in cool months like that of December 2012. Average rainfall is 769 millimetres (26.3 in) in the wettest months.