Rajouri: Known for its historical significance, “RAJA-VAARI” or modern day ‘Rajouri’ is equidistant from both the capitals of Jammu and Srinagar. It is located in the border district close to the Line of Control (LOC) at an altitude of 3002 ft. It covers an area of 2630 sq km.
The township can be touched through some lovely and mesmerizing road-ways. One can reach the place through Mughal road, which snakes through Shopian and finally through Pir panchal range to reach “Pir ki gali” pass. Or, simply one can take a bus or vehicle rom the “city of temples” Jammu through NH-144-A.
Rajouri entertains its guests by offering luscious ‘kalaari’ and appetizing paneer pakooras. One cannot forget the darling smiles of June, spring blossoming trees, misty autumn mornings and biting icy blasts of winter. Experiencing the splendid atmosphere, one gets enchanted with perpetual joy and immense pleasure.
If beauty could be summed up in one sentence, I would say Rajouri, my sojourn at this place turned out to be one of the most beautiful phases of my life. Every breath there left me refreshed. The winds that surround you tickle your brains and compel you to value your life and appreciate the blessings bestowed upon you by the Almighty.
This place wouldn’t be a perfect spot for extroverts and party animals but a safe haven for introverts, thinkers, artists and intellectuals whose creative energies rise by just stepping into this magic world. I have always found Rajouri totally opposed to the dynamic and vibrant life of city dwellers. It is a calm and composed place much known for its spirituality and positivity.
One of the greatest achievements for the people of Rajouri is having a reputed university that continues to be a hallmark of education and research. It is only by the virtue of this university that I got an opportunity to explore such a magnificent place. In the summer of 2011, I embarked on a journey that changed my entire life. I started to pursue a PG program in management (MBA) from the very particular university. Despite the rough geographical terrain and serpentine roads that lead to university, I reached the campus and got myself enrolled in the university.
To begin with, my very first experience with the university was awful. As soon as I ventured inside the hostel building in order to kick start my hostel life, I was welcomed by my seniors but not with open arms.
For me things started to change for good from the day when our seniors threw a fresher’s bash for us. That was the day I started to get along with my seniors.
Eventually I was only known by the tag ‘MR. FRESHER’ by my seniors.
Inside the campus, I learned how diverse our university was in cultural and religious terms. Despite hailing from different backgrounds, students stayed together in complete peace.
The on-campus ambience was energized and exciting. I never noticed any communal disturbance there. On the other hand diversity added to our knowledge.
Due to cultural diversity, students got to know different languages, dance, music, food, architecture and customs of the country.
Regardless of being a new varsity, BGSBU in Rajouri has sculpted a niche for itself in promulgating quality education research and training in diverse fields.
In contrast to other universities of J&K, BGSBU is located adjacent to LOC, and thus is peculiarly serving the educational demands of the tribal coterie apart from people coming from rest of the State.
The varsity, located in the matchless eco-climatic zone, is a quintessential place for pursuing education owing to its pristine environment, free from all kinds of interruptions. It is indeed a health resort-cum-education hub and deserves to be projected as a safe haven for students eyeing higher education.
The political disruptions faced by other varsities in the valley disturb and affect the entire educational environment whereas BGSBU remains free from such commotions. Since its birth, BGBSU has been supported by the State govt and Waqf board. It is still a budding university and therefore deserves assistance from all quarters for its strengthening and future expansions.
My personal experience regarding people of Rajouri is that they are simple, helpful and much connected to their grounds. They are warm and accommodating. I could see a spark in their eyes every time they help a fellow person, their homes and hearts are open for visitors and they treat you with utmost love and care. It’s not every day you meet people who carve a niche for themselves in your heart, but in Rajouri you can happily find many exceptions.
Historically, the place is very pivotal to Kashmir in many ways and the most prominent role was played by Mughal Road (Gateway to Kashmir). Mughals used to proceed to Kashmir via this very particular road. Interestingly, the Pakistani salt consumed by the Kashmiris used to come through this route as well, all the way from Lahore & Sindh so the same is also known by ‘NAMAK SHAHRA’.
Many places like Poshyaana,Thanamandi,Dogriyan et al have sizeable number of people from Shopian and other adjacent zones who have migrated to Rajouri in early times.
Tracing back the history of the pace, it is being said by historians that in the 17th century, Rajouri was reined by Jarral Dynasty. The daughter of the king ‘Raja Taj-ud-din’ was married to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir at Baradari Guest house which as of now has been turned into hospital by Government authorities.
Another famous anecdote regarding the history of Rajouri, which connects it with the vale of Kashmir, goes like this;
Subedar Behram naik (panjgran), a brave,loyal, and lion hearted warrior of Mughals used to keep the troops of Yousuf Shah Chak (Sultan of Kashmir) at bay. The tale goes that King Jehangir, the successor of Mughal emperor Akbar, desired to get one of his bondwomen (kaneez) married to the very particular subedar.
In fact it is being said that even the valorous soldier and the mentioned kaneez ,Hasan bano yearned to get married to each other but the begum of Jehangir (NUR JEHAN) was against this very particular marriage.
Due to stiff defiance by the princess, the subedar and the kaneez ended up by giving their lives. Both of them jumped into the river at ‘NOORI CHAMP’ (bath place of princess).
Shattered by the happenings, emperor Jehangir went out for the shikar (hunting) in the evening. While riding his horse, he met with an accident and died. The princess didn’t make any official declaration about the death of her husband.
She spent one night at Mughal Saraai Thaanamandi and the other at Chingus, just feign the king was alright. In order to keep it confidential from the foes, she herself carried out a surgery of emperor’s body. She extracted his intestines so that his body shouldn’t decompose and spread a bad odor. It is being argued that the princess dumped those intestines at the very same place. That is why the place bears the name CHINGUS. This all happened while the emperor and his princess were proceeding from Kashmir. Another remarkable bond of Kashmir with Rajouri is the martial bond of lohar dynasty with Shahmir dynasty.
Bida Rani, the queen of the very particular dynasty was married off to Shams-ud-din Shah (Shah Mir), the then king of Kashmir.
The well known “Chikdi Craft,” still in practice at Shadra shareef Shrine, had actually come from Kashmir with its origin in Iran. The craft is all about carving some lovely and decorative kitchen tools from wood.
And through my journey I ended up discovering a mystical connection with the place. This place enabled me to get connected with my soul.