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About Bhadarwah

If there is a paradisiacal hilly resort in the Jammu region, it is Bhadarwah in Doda district. Its natural beauty is enchanting, which has been the envy of the rulers in the past. Rajatarangini makes its mention as Bhadravakash, that is, a good resting place. That was the description of this place between 1112 and 1128. According to the more recent history, a scion of the ruling Billowaria family of the adjoining region of Billawar (presently a tehsil of Kathua district) is said to have founded Bhadarwah in the 15th century.

According to the more recent history, a scion of the ruling Billowaria family of the adjoining region of Billawar (presently a tehsil of Kathua district) is said to have founded Bhadarwah in the 15th cenutry. Its rule had changed hands many times (it was also once part of the Chamba State, which is now a district of Himachal Pradesh) till Maharaja Gulab Singh had wrested its control in 1846. In the beginning of the Dogra regime, it was administered by the military. Such was its natural splendour, however, that soon the kings themselves had taken fancy to the place. Maharaja Pratap Singh bestowed it as a jagir to Raja Amar Singh with all powers of administration, development and revenue collection. It had remained his personal domain till his death in 1911. Later it had become the estate of Raja (subsequently Maharaja) Hari Singh. In 1930, however, the exclusive status of Bhadarwah ended.

It was then made a tehsil of Udhampur district. In 1948, with the reorganisation of Udhampur district, it got its present administrative dispensation as a tehsil of the newly-created Doda district. Apart from an enviable background, Bhadarwah has a rich and varied cultural heritage. It is also a major religious centre. It offers many hill prigimages, including the famous Kailash Yatra, and has important fairs.

The principality of Bhadarwah was distributed into 15 tharas or administrative units. The total area of Bhadarwah Jagir (including Bhalessa etc.) was 533 Sq miles which after amalgamation with Udhampur district in 1931 A.D. was reduced to 213 Sq. miles only. The earliest mention of the place is traced from Rajtarangni around (112-28 A.D.) where the place has been named as Bhadrakashi i.e. a good resting place. According to the genealogical role of the Raja's of Billawar, the State of Bhadarwah was founded about fifteen century by a scion of Balauria family, but later on, came under the control of Chamba. Thus it may be presumed that the State was initiated by any time around 12th Century, but the events of the place, right upto to close of 16th century are not very clear. Nag pal (IInd) was the son of Maha Pal who like his father was a great devotee of Basak Nag. He is said to have ruled for one hundred years. Mela Patt is celebrated at Bhadarwah in honour of Nag Pal's spiritual victory over Emperor Akbar. After Nagpal (IInd) the political conditions of Bhadarwah principality are very uncertain upto the 17th century. Nag Pal is said to have died about 1620 A.D. Nagpal (IInd) was succeeded by Bhakhat Pal (1620-34 A.D.) and many others. Bhadarwah became a part of Chamba State during the reign of Charat Singh (1821-1844 A.D.) His brother Zorawar Singh was appointed its Administrative Governor. Being a man of fine tastes Zorawar Singh preferred to stay at Chamba and administration of Bhadarwah was conducted by a succession of Subedars who could not win over the local inhabitants. Zorawar Singh was designated as Titular Raja of Bhadarwah in 1833 A.D. and was termed as Chhota Raja.

In 1844 A.D. Sri Singh was seated on the Gaddi of Chamba. Due to family dispute Zarawar Singh fled to Bhadarwah and then to Jammu where he tried to gain the support of Jammu and rebel elements of Bhadarwah but he could not suceed till his death. Zorawar Singh's son, Prakaram Singh was made Raja of Bhadarwah in 1845 A.D. But owing to Anglo-Sikh war of 1845, Sikh dominions of the Hill States became very weak, and Gulab Singh availed this opportunity to annex Bhadarwah with his territory. The same Year when Prakaram Singh was its Raja, Bhadarwah passed on to Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1846 A.D.

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