Jammu and Kashmir, India: Poonch, a historically significant city, is made even more spectacular by the historic “Poonch Fort,” a stunning tourist destination that, while being in poor shape, serves as a reminder of the glory of the local rulers and architects in antiquity.
This fort was regarded as a representation of grandeur during its time. It continues to bear witness to historical occurrences that marked the ascent and fall of numerous influential kings of the era. Although its remnants appear to be in decay, they are still visible today and convey the tale of its illustrious past and current situation.
This magnificent historic structure, which covers an area of 7535 square metres, has tales of the Dogra, Sikh, and Muslim dynasties’ reigns within its lengthy walls. Raja Abdul Razak Khan established the fort in 1713, but his son Raja Rustam Khan finished building it between 1760 and 1787.
According to KD Maini, a renowned historian of Poonch, the Sikh rulers of the area installed a centre block constructed in the Sikh architectural style. Raja Moti Singh worked on the fort’s renovations from 1850 until 1892, some years after it was built. He hired architects from Europe to create the front portion.
Raja Baldev Singh transformed Poonch Fort into the secretariat of the empire while moving the formal residence to Moti Mahal. This fort, which is more than 220 years old, has distinctive architecture. This fort housed numerous government departments up until 2005.
This structure sustained substantial damage as a result of the terrible earthquake in 2005. This ‘Pikaqula’ was on the point of ruin and devastation because of the earthquake. Following the earthquake, money was given for fort maintenance multiple times, and the front portion of the fort received some repair work.
Even today, the fort is home to the guardhouse and the Tehsildar Haveli, but the sorrow is that most of the structure has been destroyed.
While individuals continue to live illegally inside the old fort and beneath its walls, the section’s walls are steadily collapsing.
This fort, which has ancient-looking construction and is today a popular tourist destination, has not received much administrative attention. The first visitors to Poonch are tourists from neighbouring districts and from beyond Jammu and Kashmir, who claim that maintaining Poonch’s historical and cultural identity depends heavily on the preservation and prompt restoration of this ancient heritage. The genuine restoration of the fort would involve keeping it in its original state.
According to a number of locals, it is important to keep in mind the causes of the fort’s collapse when restoring it. These causes include climate change, rainwater buildup, poor drainage, the expansion of wild flora, and, most importantly, human neglect.
It is now impossible to restore or salvage what was destroyed, but attempts can be made to preserve and restore what remains. A priceless and old treasure like Poonch Fort would otherwise be lost to time and would only exist in history books.