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About Bashohli

River Ravi Flowing by Bashohli

Bashohli is a sub divisional town, located under Kathua district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is an ancient city well-known for its art and culture. Bashohli paintings, famous all over the world for their unique portrayal of faces, were evolved here in the seventeenth century. Today, the city is also known for its high literacy rate.

Geography of Bashohli

Bashohli is located in the lap of the Shiwalik Mountain Range at 32.50°N latitude and 75.82°E longitude. The terrain here is hilly and the average elevation is 1876 ft. The town has River Ravi flowing by it. Ranjit Sagar Dam, which is the highest Earth core-cum-gravel shell dam in India, is located in the vicinity of this town.  River Sewa, which is one of the main tributaries of River Ravi, also flows through this region.

Climate in Bashohli

Bashohli is cold in winter, but quite pleasant in summer.  Monsoon rains generally start from the second week of July. Due to western disturbances, the town also experiences rainfall in winter and also in early summer.

Agriculture and Mineral Resources in Bashohli

Maize is the main crop grown in Bashohli area, followed by wheat, millet, oilseeds, pulses and vegetables. Moreover, Bashohli has a large deposit of cement grade limestone. Gypsum deposits have also been found in the Daulla village under Bashohli tehsil. 

History of Bashohli

Ruined Fort at Bashohli

It is believed that that Bashohli is an ancient town with its root buried deep into the history.  The city first came up during the period of Indus Valley Civilization. At that time, the town was known as Vishvastali, which over the time became Bashohli. The layout of the town corroborates to such an idea. It is also believed that Pandavas came to Bashohli during their thirteen year long exile and established a Shiva temple here. However, all these are based on legends and have no historical proof.

The area around Bashohli finds its first mention in the Greek travelogues. Greek historian Strabo has talked about a strong republic called Kathaioi, which existed on the bank of River Ravi in the foothills of Himalayas in the beginning of fourth century BC. The description he had provided is similar to that of present day Kathua district and so it may be concluded that the Greeks had visited the area around Bashohli, if not the town itself during the invasion of Alexander, the Great.

As per historical records found, the kings of Pal dynasty have been ruling over this area since 750 AD. However, the credit of establishing the city goes to Raja Bhupat Pal, who reigned in the first half of seventeenth century. At that time, the area was being repeatedly attacked by the kings of Chamba and Nurpur. To make his capital invincible from enemies the said king shifted his capital to Bashohli. In 1635 he constructed a fort on top of a hillock. Later the fort was enlarged by successive kings. As per records, Raja Sangram Pal, Raja Kirpal Pal, Raja Dheeraj Pal, Raja Medini Pal, Raja Amrit Pa and Raja Mahender Pal made significant addition to the old castle. However, the grand old fort now lies in ruins.  

Evolution of Basholi paintings is another significant event for the town. The first paining in this genre has been dated to the time of Raja Kirpal Pal, who ruled over the area from 1678 to 1693.  He also got the books on Sushrut and Charak translated by Srikantha in 1688 A.D.  Since then, the town became a center for Ayurvedic treatment.

Raja Kalyan Pal was the last Pal ruler to rule over Bashohli. He was removed from the throne by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1836 and Bashohli was offered as a Jagir to Dogra King Hira Singh. During their rule, Bashohli became a tehsil and slowly the golden period of the town began to fade into oblivion.

The City Layout in Ancient Time

The town was divided into a citadel and a lower town. As we have already said, the citadel, comprising of palace of the king and a temple was located on a hill top. The Royal Priest resided on the left on the palace while doctors, known as the Vaids lived on the right.

The lower town consisted of a well laid out bazaar and colonies for people to live in. There were different colonies for different castes. The soldiers, who were mainly Rajputs lived on the riverside. All the houses were made out of bricks or stones. The city also had excellent underground drainage system. Each of the colonies had their own water supply. The cremation ground was located in the southern side of the city.

Administration in Bashohli

Administration in Bashohli

Today, Bashohli is a sub divisional headquarters located in Kathua distinct of Jammu and Kashmir. Although the District Development Commissioner (DDC) is the most important officer of the district, this area falls under the direct administration of Sub Divisional Magistrate or SDM. Since the town is also a tehsil headquarters, different tehsil and block level officers are also posted here. They all work in tandem with district level officials to mitigate the problems faced by the people here and to usher in further development. The town also has a Municipal Council to provide civic amenities to the residence.

If you have any grievance about administrative matter, you can talk straight to District Development Commissioner at 01922- 238-796 on every Wednesday from 10 AM to 11 AM. You can be assured that your grievances will be noted down and appropriate action will be taken within a specified period.

Police in Bashohli

The Police force in Bashohli works under a Sub Divisional Police Officer or SDPO. In case of any emergency, you can contact the Police Station at 0192-251-775

Cultural Heritage of Bashohli

Bashohli has long been a centre of art and culture. At one time, the town was a center for ayurvedic treatment. Vaids of this town were as famous for their capacity for diagnosing ailments as for providing relief through their self made ayurvedic medicines. The government is now trying to revive this art by establishing an herbal garden and other facilities required for such revival.

Many are not aware of the fact that the art of weaving the famous pashmina shawls also evolved in Bashohli. Later however, it dwindled due to lack of patronage and Kashmir Valley replaced the town as center for production of pashmina shawls.

Bashohli Paintings

Bashohli Painting

However, every connoisseur of art is aware of the Bashohli paintings, which first evolved during the reign of Raja Sangarm Pal and Raja Kirpal Pal. It was the first genre of Pahari paintings and it is believed that the world famous Kangra miniature paintings evolved out of it.

The Bashohli paintings had three main characteristics.  They were as follows:

  • Mainly the primary colors were used by the artists to create such paintings.
  • The characters had certain facial features not found in any other school of painting.
  • The themes were mostly based on Vaishnava literature such as Geet Govinda and Rashmanjari.

Health in Bashohli

However, Bashohli is not about heritage only. Today it is a prosperous town with all kinds of urban facilities.  For example, if you need medical treatment, you may visit the Community Health Centre located in the city. It is the Sub District Hospital offering all kinds of treatment. There is also a District Hospital located at a distance of 20 Km in the district headquarters Kathua; you can avail that facility as well.

Banks in Bashohli

Bashohli also has two banks located within the city limits. They are as follows:

Punjab National Bank
IFSC Code: PUNB0056000
MICR Code: 184024502
Branch Code: 056000
Located near Bus Stand
Phone No: 01923-251-217

Jammu and Kashmir Bank
Branch Code: BASOLI
Non MICR Bank
Phone No: 01921-251-227

How to Reach Bashohli

Roadways in Bashohli

Bashohli is located at distance of 20 Km from Kathua, 40 Km from Billawar, 116 Km from Udhampur, 160 Km from Jammu and 185 Km from Pathankot. J&K State Road Transport Corporation run regular bus service between the above mentioned cities and Bashohli; if you want, you can avail their services. Otherwise, taxis and private buses also run regular services between these cities; you can avail them.

Traveling by air to Bashohli

Bashohli does not have any airport; nor does it have any direct railway connection. If you want to go to Bashohli by plane you must first fly to Jammu (Airport Code IXJ); from there you must take a bus or a taxi to reach your destination. Since the distance between Bashohli and Jammu is merely 160 Km it takes around 4 hrs to reach.

Traveling by train to Bashohli

Kathua Railway Station located at a distance of 4 Km from Kathua city at Gobindsar is the nearest railhead for Bashohli. Therefore, if you want to travel by train, you must first come to Jammu and then catch the train for Kathua. Once you reach Kathua, you must avail road transport to cover the remaining distance.

Some Important Information About Bashohli

Tehsil: Bashohli
District: Kathua
State: Jammu and Kashmir
Elevation: 1876 ft
Assembly Constituency: Bashohli
Lok Sabha Constituency: Udhampur
Pin Code: 184201
STD Code: 01921

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