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K D Maini,Past Present of Doda "Daily Excelsior" 7/2/2016

Unexplored beauty of Doda

Doda remained a part of Kishtwar and Bhadarwah Principalities for a pretty long period. This area was amalgamated with Udhampur district in 1931. In 1948 Doda along with Bhadarwah, Kishtwar, Ramban, Batote and Banihal area was carved out from Udhampur district and attained the status of district namely district Doda with an area of 11691 Square Km. This district was the largest in terms of the area after Leh and Kargil. During the administrative reorganization of 2006, the erstwhile Doda district was trifurcated into three districts i.e. district Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar.

Presently district Doda comprises of four tehsils namely Tehsil Bhaderwah, Gandho, Doda and Thathri, eight CD blocks, 231 Panchyats, 402 villages and three important towns namely Bhadarwah, Doda and Thathri. The total population of the district as per 2011 census is 409936 souls, sex ratio is 919 females against per thousand males, and literacy rate is 64.68%.

The district headquarter Doda is 175 Km away from winter capital Jammu and 200 Km from Srinagar. District touches boundary of district Anantnag of Kashmir valley in the northern side, district Chamba of Himachal Perdesh is touching the border in the eastern side while district Udhampur lies in the southern side of the district.

There is mix population and congenial atmosphere among the communities. Hindus and Muslim population live peacefully. The Islamic faith had entered in this region as a spiritual and moral force when Hazarat Shah Freed-Ud-Din came via Dingbattle in 1650AD in Doda. He stayed at Doda for about 14 years and preached the thoughts of Islam, then he left for Kishtwar. C.E. Bat, who visited Doda in 1867 writes in his book ‘The Gazetteer of Kashmir’ that Doda town is situated on a small plane area above the right bank of Chander Bagha (Chenab) river on the foot of a grassy hill. The old fort is situated on the edge of plane area. It was a muddy building used as prison during Dogra rule. Mian Hathu Singh the Governor of Rajouri and half brother of Maharaja Ranbir Singh when revolted forcefully against Maharaja Régime in 1858 AD and made an attempt to kill Maharaja, he was arrested and kept in prison of Doda fort who ultimately died in this fort. Bat further writes that at that time there where 239 houses of Hindus and 322 of Muslims (Including 205 Shawl weaving families. The most important industry of Doda is Shawl Baffi.

The name of district Doda is derived from Doda town as per legend, in the ancient time once Raja of Kishtwar whose dominion was extended beyond Doda had visited present Doda and the natives of this area complained him that they are facing lot of inconvenience without utensils because there is no artisan dealing with utensil making. Therefore Raja dispatched some employees to make arrangement of utensils maker. The employees persuaded one such autensil maker namely Deeda of Multan by offering incentives to come to this area and start his venture. Deeda migrated from Multan to this place with his family and a number of skilled persons and stated utensils making unit at present Doda town. Day by day the business of Deeda flourished and gradually the natives of surrounding areas also setup their ventures near the shop of Deeda and constructed their houses. Therefore this pace converted into a small township. However the main attraction of this habitation was the utensils factory of Deeda and he became famous in this whole region. After the death of Deeda the native named this habitation as Deeda. With the passage of time this habitation changed into a township and the name Deeda changed to Doda due to pronunciation of the habitants. When Doda became the headquarter of the district the whole area was also started known as Doda.

In 1846 AD, the whole area of Doda including Kishtwar had become a the part of newly created J&K state after the Amritsar pact between British Government, Lahore Darbar and Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu who became the Maharaja of the J&K state in the light of this pact.

Bhadhrwah the present tehsil of Doda was a principality of Local Rajas which was distributed into 15 Tharas are administrative units. The total area of this principalities was 533 Square miles. The earliest reference of Bhadhrwah is traced from Rajtarangni of Kalhan around 1063 to 1089 AD when Raja Kalsha of Kashmir had convened the conference of eight Rajas of outer hill states of Kashmir to defend Kashmir valley from the aggression from western side. In this conference, the Raja of Bhadhrwah had also participated. At that time it was known as Badrabakash i.e a good resting place.

The state of Bhadhrwah was founded in 15th Century AD by a Sicon of Baloria family of Bilawar. Later on this principality had come under the influence of Raja of Chamb. In 16th Centuary AD Bhadhrwah was ruled by Raja Nagpal who was son of Raja Mahapal. This Raja was having the symbol of Nag (snake) on his back. Nagpal was a devotee during of Basak Nag and was doing miracle and spiritual deeds. During this period emperor Akbar conquered Kashmir and came to know about the spiritual power of Raja Nagpal. He summoned the Raja in his court at Delhi. Nagpal attended the court and impressed Akbar with his spirituality. Therefore emperor honoured Nagpal and presented Khalet to him. After satisfying the emperor, Nagpal returned to Bhadhrwah and public of his principalities gave warm welcome to him. This event of the history of Bhadhrwah is still very popular among the natives and every year Mela Pat is organized to remember the spiritual victory of Nagpal in the court of emperor Akbar. Nagpal constructed Vasuki Nag temple which is still existing. After the death of Nagpal in 1620 AD, Nagpal-II became the Raja of Bhaderwah. He was succeeded by Baghatpal, Abhaypal, Fatehpal and Dayapal who ruled Badhrawh. During the rule of Dayapal, Raja Teg Mohamad Singh of Kishtwar attacked Bhaderwah and capture it. Dayapal fled to Chamba. Bhaderwah became the part of Chamba in 1821 AD and Zorawar Singh became the Governor of Bhaderwah who was the brother of Raja Chadat Singh of Chamba. In 1844 AD Sri Singh was seated on the Gaddi of Chamba who was not having good relation with Zorawar Singh. Therefore, Zorawar Singh fled to Bhadhrwah and then to Jammu. His son Parkashin Singh was made the Raja of Bhaderwah by Jammu Darbar. In 1846 AD when Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu became the Maharaja of J&K state Bhaderwah was vacated by Chamba Rajas in favour of Maharaja Gulab Singh. Maharaja Gulab Singh’s time Bhadhrwah became a military administered area. In 1859 Maharaja Ranbir Singh appointed Labhjoo as Kardar of Bhadhrwah of 10 November 1886. Bhaderwah Jagir was bestowed to Raja Amar Singh of Jammu by Maharaja Ranbir Singh which continued up to 1911 AD. After the death of Amar Singh the Jagir was transferred to his son Raja Hari Singh. However when Raja Hari Singh became the Maharaja of J&K state in 1825 AD after the death of Maharaja Partap Singh, he dissolved his Jagirs in J&K state and converted into a tehsil of Udhampur in 1931 AD.

The district Doda is very rich culturally. The people speak Phari, Kashmiri, Ladakhi, Dogri, Bhadarwahi, Kishtwari, Padri and Bhalevi. The district is known for natural scenic beauty. There are number of scenic spot and lot of tourism potential of district which needs attentions of tourism department. The places like Jay valley, Chinta valley, Khani top, Padri, Guldanada, Nalhi, Bhals, Khellani top, Seoz Meadow, Lal Daman, Ghata etc. the district has also vast potential of religious tourism. The annual Yatras like Subar Nag Yatra, Kalish Yatra and Mela Pat are some important religious events of The districts. On the other hand the Uras of Shah Freed-ud- Din is also celebrated with respect and devotion. Chandi Mata temple, Gupat Ganga Temple and Vasuki Nag temple of Bhaderwah are also important for religious tourism. Tourism development authority has been established at Bhaderwah and it constructed a numbers of Huts, Bungalows and Rest Houses for the convenience of scenic and religious tourist. However there is a need of vast publicity, creation of accommodations and construction of proper approach road towards tourist spots and scenic places so that district Doda could also be converted into the destination of tourist on the patterns of Kashmir valley

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