Locals helped Rajouri admn discover ruins of centuries-old fort

Srinagar

Within a day of the district administration’s claim that it had discovered ruins of a centuries-old fort along the Jammu-Poonch highway, locals claimed they were aware about the ruins of the fort but the officials concerned never took notice of them.

“We were aware about the ruins of the fort and the locals were using it for grazing purpose as the entire structure up to the walls is filled with rocks and soil and is covered with big trees and grass,” locals Naresh Kumar and Santosh Devi told, Tribune India reported.

The ruins of the fort became visible when Santosh Kumari and her two sons started ground-levelling work for the construction of a shopping complex and deployed a JCB machine to cut the rocks.

“Our land of 7 kanal is up to the boundary of the fort and during levelling work, we didn’t damage any portion of the wall of the fort,” Santosh Kumari said.

While moving on the highway, Shahid Iqbal Choudhry, District Development Commissioner (DDC) and Yougal Manhas, Senior Superintendent of Police, noticed the ruins of the fort. During an inspection of the ruins, the officers found remnants of walls, courtyards and barracks.

“During physical verification by Revenue Department officials, it was found that the ruins of the fort exist on about 5 kanal. The fort was detected when the remnants of the walls became visible from the highway side after about 30 feet levelling of land from the highway level,” said Abdul Qayoom Mir, Assistant Commissioner, Revenue.

The District Development Commissioner said the architecture of the fort was similar to the Rajouri fort and other ‘sarais’ constructed on the roadside in Rajouri district.

“Officials of the Archaeological Department have been contacted for taking over this ancient property and initiating measures for its preservation and protection,” the DDC, Shahid Iqbal Choudhry, said.

The present Jammu-Poonch highway in Rajouri district was a part of the historical Mughal Road which was used by Mughal kings to visit the Kashmir valley from Lahore. They had constructed several forts and sarais along the road.

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