Rajauri Travel Guide

places of interest

Lakes of Pir Panjal Rajouri

The Pir Panjal falling under the jurisdiction of Rajouri-Poonch districts is a repository of beautiful lakes situated at an altitude between 13,000–14,500 ft. In the local parlance, lake is called "Sar" and meadow is called "Marg". This stretch of Pir Panjal is full of lakes and meadows and a place to be well enjoyed by the tourists. There are more than 27 lakes between Simar Sar to Nandan Sar in an area of 900 sq km. Of these seven lakes are big in size and rest are smaller. Next to Kaunsar Nag, Bhag Sar is the biggest lake. Most of the big lakes are situated at the boundary line between Jammu division and the Kashmir valley and drain into the Kashmir valley. The important lakes are Sukh Sar, Akal Dakshni, Nandan Sar, Chandan Sar, Katori Sar, Raviwalli marg group of lakes, Chamar Sar, Bhsg Sar, Diya Sar, Padyaran Sar I and II, Katori Sar in Bela Marg and Smat Sar. All the above lakes are situated in the highlands of Pir Panjal Range and freeze during winter and become available for rafting or boating only during summer season i.e. during the months from June to October.

Sukh Sar

This is the first lake if one approaches these groups of lakes from northern direction. This is an oval shaped lake situated at an elevation of about 3000 mtrs. and is very small in size.

Akal Darshni

This lake is situated next to Sukh Sar at a distance of about one Km. Akal Darshani is worshipped by all Bakerwals who pass through this route and consider it very sacred. Lake is triangular in shape and the colour of water looks black in comparison to blue colour of other lakes. It is located slightly at higher altitude to that of Sukh Sar at an elevation of about 3,300 m. This lake is about 200 m wide and 400 m long.

Nandar Sar

This lake is one of the biggest and beautiful lakes located at such a high altitude. Nandan Sar is oval in shape and more that one Km. in length. Water lake is deep blue in colour. To approach this lake one has to ascend the slope from Akal Dakshni and then descend towards Kashmir watershed. Lake is located at an elevation of about 3,500 m. The water of this lake flows through Jadi Marg nullah into the valley.

Chandan Sar

At half an hour trekking distance from Nandan Sar is located Chandan Sar amidst a depression formed by lofty mountains across the nullah to east. Chandan Sar is located at an elevation of about 3,600 m and is as big as Nandan Sar.

Katori Sar

From Chandan Sar route again enters Rajouri District through Barhal pass (3,650 m) in westerly direction. Just near is the saddle and irregular shaped lake, with blue waters, welcomes the travels. This is Katori lake or Sar at an elevation of about 3550 mtrs.

Ravi Walli Marg group of lakes

From Katori Sar as one descends down due west, water of four lakes gives a panoramic view of Ravi Walli Marg. The four lakes located in this Marg are Kokar Sar, Neel Sar,Bhag Sar and Ding Sar. Altitude of this place is about 3,300 m and is one of the best camping sites at this altitude.

To approach Chamar Sar one has to reach Sarota Marg located along the Chamar Nala and camp here for one night. Chamar Sar is one day's trekking from Ravi Walli Marg. It is better to approach Chamar and Bhag Sar from Sarota Marg and come back same day. Chamar Sar is bean shaped like located at an altitude of 3,300 m. This lake if full of icebergs till late July. Circumference of this lake is more than 12 km. This lake is source of chamar Nala which ultimately joins Bafliaz Nala near Behram Gala.

Bhag Sar

Bhag Sar is the highest lake situated in this series of lakes in atapani/Budhal mountains at an elevation of about 3700 mtrs. It is an oval shaped lake and is inaccessible for a common man. It is enclosed from all the four sides and is always full of icebergs. To approach this lake one has to skirt around the chamar Sar from left side and then ascend the glacier up to 4,000 m from where the lake is visible.

Diya Sar

This lake is also accessible from Sarota Marg located due west from Chamar Sar. Shape of the lake is typical like an Indian earthen lamp and so named as Diya Sar. This lake is about one Km. long and located at an elevation of about 3,600 m.
Padyaran Sar (I & II)

To reach Padyaran Sars, one has to ascend the steep one km cliff of Diya Sar Gali at an elevation of 3,800 m. From the Gali one enters famous Rupari Corridor towards hill terrain of an catchments. Just below Diya Sar Gali, at an elevation of 3,400 m twin lakes of Padyaran Sar can be seen. Both are been shaped lakes. Padyaran I is slightly bigger than Padyaran II. Most of the time, these lakes remain under snow. Nomadic Bakerwals of Taryath, Tatapani, Khawas, Metka, Moghla, Kandi, Bakori, and Budhal cross Rupari pass to enter Kashmir valley.

Katori Sar in Bela Marg

This is a saucer shaped lake located on western and of Bela Marg, at an altitude of 3,300 m. It is one of the smallest lakes formed due to pooling of water from melting snow and dries out till end of September.
Gum Sar

This is another small lake at the foot of Dhakyar peak at an elevation of 3,600 m. Dhakyar peak is the highest peak in this range. It is pyramidical mountain with height of about 4,660 m.
Samot Sar

Samot Sar is located on northern end of Badjari Marg, at an elevation of about 3,550 m. This is an oval shaped blue water lake with maximum length of about one km. Samot Sar is nearest accessible lake from Budhal side (1,800 m). From Budhal it takes about four hours to reach on foot up to lake. Budhal is approachable by road from Rajouri.

If one really wants to enjoy the beauty of nature scattered in this part of the Pir Panjal one can complete his return journey via Sarota Marg-Behramgalas - Noori Chanb Waterfall, in four to five days. During the return journey one comes across a garland of seven lakes and beautiful flower covered margs (meadows). These lakes are Neel Sar, Katoria Sar, Sukh Sar, Kal Dachhni, Nandan Sar and Gum Sar.




Rajouri area remained the region of great importance in ancient times. In Mahabharta there was a kingdom known as Panchal Desa. The king of this State was Panchal Naresh whose daughter Draupadi was married to Pandavas. The Historians Identify Panchalya Desha as the region in Panchal range of mountains. Rajouri was also a part of this kingdom of Panchal Naresh.

Rajouri, then known as Rajapuri – ‘the land of Kings’ - finds its mention in the travelogue of Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang who visited the town in 632 A.D. and described it as a part of Kashmiri dominion. Still earlier in the Buddhist period it formed a part of Gandhar territory (Afghanistan, Gandhar and Tashkent) and later was included in the domain called Darabhisanga which comprised the hilly stretch from Poonch to Kashmir. Those days Laharkote in Poonch district and Rajouri had emerged as two powerful states of the area.

According to F.E.Pargitor, second branch of Aryan emigrants crossed Himalayas in the north and west and settled in Rajouri and Poonch area. Rajouri, Bhimber and Naushera were included within the territory of Abhisar, which was one of the hill states of Punjab Kingdom. Early records of fragmentary nature show that in 4th century B.C. there existed in the north west of India a federal type of political set up in which Abhisar with its capital Rajouri was also included. At the time of Alexander's invasion, Rajouri was at the height of its glory. In Mauryan period, the town of Rajouri was a great trade centre. During the Mughal rule, the rulers of Rajouri have embraced Islam though they retained the title of Raja.

Albaurni visited Rajouri with Sultan Masud (Son of Sultan Mehmud) in 1036 A.D. In his book "India" he wrote name of Rajouri as Raja Vari. Srivar, the writer of 'Raj Tirangini' written during the regime of Sultan Zain-Ul-Abdin, also named this area as Raja Vari. It appears that Raja Vari is the changed shape of Raj Puri. Praja Bhat another writer of Raj Tirangini of 16th century A.D. wrote this place as Raj-Vare in his book. Mirza Zafarulla Khan writer of ‘Tarikh Rajgan-E-Rajour’ described in his book that this place was originally known as Raj-Avar and then changed from Rajour to Rajouri. But the old people in the villages still call the place as Rajour. With the passage of time the name changed from Raja's Raj Avar to Raja Puri, Rajpuri to Raj Vari, Raj Vari to Raj Vara, Raj Vara to Raj Avar, Raj Avar to Rajour and then Rajour to Rajouri. As per Rajtirangini of Kalhan, Rajouri emerged as principality in about 1003 A.D. The first ruler of this kingdom was Raja Prithvi Paul. From 1033 A.D. to 1194 A.D. these Pauls ruled this state. They were Raja Prithvipaul, Raja Janki Paul (1035 A.D.), Raja Sangram Paul (1063 A.D.), Raja Som Paul (1101 A.D.), Bahu Paul (1113 A.D.) and Amna Paul (1194 A.D.). Raja Prithvi Paul defeated Pir Panchal Pass at the time of invasion of Sultan Mehmud in1021 A.D. Raja Sangram Paul defended his Principality Rajouri when Raja Harash of Kashmir assaulted his country in 1089 A.D. Sangram Paul fought so bravely that Raja Harash was compelled to return from Prithvi Paul fort without capturing Rajouri.

As per ‘Tarikh-Rajgan-e-Rajour” Noor-Ud-Din who migrated from Punjab to Rajouri revolted against Raja Amna Paul. Raja Amna Paul was killed in the revolt and Noor-Ud-Din became the Raja of Rajouri. In this way Raja Noor-Ud-Din aid the foundation of Jaral Muslim rule in Rajouri in 1194 A.D. to 21 October 1846 A.D. Rajouri Principality remained governed by Jaral Rajas. The renowned Rajas of this dynasty were Raja Noor-Ud-Din (1194 A.D.), Raja Anwar Khan (1252 A.D.), Raja Sardar Khan (1289 A.D.), Raja Shah-Ud-Din (1412 A.D.), Raja Mast Wali Khan (1565 A.D.), Raja Taj-Ud-Din (1604 A.D.), Raja Anayat Ullah Khan (1648 A.D.), Raja Azmat Ullah Khan (1683 A.D.), Raja Izzat Ullah Khan (1762 A.D.), Raja Karam Ullah Khan (1676 A.D.), Raja Aggar Ullah Khan (1808 A.D.) and Raja Raheem Ullah Khan (1819 A.D.). Raja Raheem Ullah Khan was the last Muslim Ruler of Rajouri who governed this principality up to 21 October, 1846.

Jaral Muslim Rajas rebuilt Rajouri city during their rule. Number of Fort, Sarai, Mosque and Baradaries were constructed with the help of Mughals, on Mughal road. The area of Rajouri principality comprised proper Rajouri, Thanna, Bagla Azim Garh, Darhal, Behrote, Chingus, Nagrota and Phalyana etc. The total revenue of Rajouri was Rs.3.00 lacs in 1846. Raja Aggar Ullah Khan (1808-1819) fought bravely, first against Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1815 and then Raja Gulab Singh in 1819. These Muslim Rajas were very liberal and accommodating. Raja Azmat Ullah was having Hindu Minister of Mehta family of Rajouri. Hindu Rajputs were given preference at the time of employment in armed forces.

The successive Rulers were also responsible for the proper upkeep of Mughal route from Gujarat to Kashmir, dotted by a dozen stations in between. The town also called Rampur as per the revenue document, gained popularity during the Mughal period as the Mughal Ruler, during their movement from Delhi to Kashmir and back, used to stay at the station for some time.

In 1846 Amritsar pact was signed between British Government and Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu. In the light of this pact, Jammu and Kashmir State was handed over to Raja Gulab Singh and he was designated as Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.

After taking the charge of Rajouri from Raja Faqir Ullah in 1846, Maharaja Gulab Singh changed the name of Rajouri to Rampur. He appointed Mian Hathu as Governor of Rajouri. Mian Hathu remained in Rajouri up to 1846 A.D. He constructed a beautiful temple in between Thanna Nallah near Rajouri city. He also built Rajouri Fort at Dhannidhar village. After Mian Hathu, Rajouri was converted into a Tehsil and affiliated with Bhimber District. In 1904 A.D., this Tehsil was bifurcated from Bhimber and affiliated with Reasi District. After Independence, Rajouri became part of the newly constituted Poonch-Rajouri District. On Ist January 1968, Rajouri emerged as a new District on the map of the State.