Thial is a sleepy village located at the foothills of Chauntra Mata, the presiding Diety of Chauntra hills, about 55 Kilometers from Udhampur. The village, named after Thial Singh, is believed to have come into existence in the 14th century, though Rajtarngini dates this village to as early as the 10 th century.
Prof. Shiv Nirmohi, the renowned writer,researcher and historian, writes in his book ‘Duggar Ke Rajmahal’, ‘In the 16th century, Pamasta (Thial) was a jagir whose capital was village Hatt and it was ruled by Thial Singh who named this village after his own name. He constructed a palace and a fort here. At the entrance of the palace, there were two stone peeths (bases) on which were placed the idols of Bhimsen and Bhairav. Some remains of the palace are visible towards the south of the entrance.Referring to famous Dogri writer-Desh Bandhu Dogra, Prof Nirmohi writes that on excavation , two walls measuring 120 ft and 80 ft were found. The eastern wall of this palace was safe till 1960 but only the foundation of the western wall was visible. The western wall of this palace was destroyed in 1970 and under it a human skeleton of five and a half feet was discovered. The person might have been sacrificed as a human sacrifice at the time of construction of the palace.The palace spread over an area of 20 kanals had a well which had a stone inscription written in Takri script dated 11 Shravan, 1541. In 1822, Raja Suchet Singh annexed Pamasta (Thial) in Bandralta and the Jagirdar of Thial ran away to Tihri Garwal and the palace and the fort remained abandoned. Ultimately, the Government handed over this palace and fort to School Education Department where the Hr Sec School Thial has been constructed and the remains of the Palace vanished.’
The local elders recall having seen the boundary wall of the Fort but now only there are traces of a pond and the entrance to the school, which stand witness to the glory of palace and the fort in the times gone by. According to the 2011 census, the village has about 250 families. The village used to be a centre of trade in the days of yore and the remains of the fort bear testimony to the grandeur of the village in the days of yore.There is also an ancient pond which shows that it must have been the place where many people and cattle converged. The ancient temple of Jagan Nath Swami is the major attraction of the village. The marble slab on the temple reads that it was constructed by one Maltu Shahni in 1933, Vikrmi 1990.
There are idols of Jagan Nath Swami, Subhdra and Bhalbhadra which are believed to have been brought from Jagan Nath Puri. The temple has unique architecture and attracts devotees from far and wide. A community feast (bhandara) yagya is held on every year at the temple. There is also a Radha Krishan Temple built by Sh Som Nath and Shiv Temple built by Smt Gaytri Devi, retd tr. It shows that people have deep faith in their religion.There is also a Ram Lila ground near the Radha Krishan temple.The elders say that Ram lilas have been performed here since times immemorial.Then there are Five Bowlies collectively called Punjakh, four of them are big, one each has been constructed for taking bath by the men, women, washing purpose and drinking water.There are fish in the bowlies and the stone images of local deities are displayed.There is also a temple on the bowli reconstructed by smt Mansa Devi in memory of DD Sharma, known as Punjakh.
The Pandavas Talab at Thial and beautiful ancient temple of Baba Belur and springs at Garh Pamasta are the other major attractions of this region.Similarly, ancient Narsingh Mandir at Jansal and ancient monuments having archaelogical importance at Manwal are famous sites worth seeing.The village of Thial used to be a trade centre and hub of activity in the past but with the construction of Udhampur- Dhar road, new hubs of business/townships have cropped up along this road at Khoon, Paldai, Bharnara etc. Many people of Thial have migrated to Udhampur , Jammu and other places in search of better education, health and medical facilites and other attractions.There is an Ayurvedic Hospital and a Primary Health Centre at Thial as also a Hr.Sec School and a Girls High School, which require sufficient staff and adequate buildings.The road from Dehma to Thial is being upgraded and the work is in progress.Once completed, it will open up new avenues for the local people as the famous religious shrine of Chontra Mata will be connected by road and attract more pilgrims.
Local people say that Thial needs more attention so far its development is concerned.It lacks development as there is no playground and Bank Branch at Thial.People have to go to Khoon or Majalta for banking purposes.There is also a need for a playground to enable the local youth to pay more attention to games and sports so that they don’t turn to drugs and other vices.
The fertile land of Thial has produced a galaxy of educationists, civil servants, medicos etc. who have carved a niche for themselves in their respective fields and raised the glory of their birthland. The account of Thial cannot be complete without mentioning the name of the NGO named Shri Durga Dass Sharma Memorial Society(Regd) which has been doing a yeoman’s work in Thial, especially in the Education and Health sectors.
Every year, the NGO organises free medical camp at Thial, in which people from the surrounding villages participate. Last year, the NGO organised this camp on the 16th and the 17th December, 2017, in which hundreds of patients were examined by famous doctors Free Xray and ultrasound were conducted and patients were provided free medicines. Free eye operations were also performed by renowned Ophthalmology Among other notable works that the NGO has completed include construction of lab, footpaths,construction of stage in HSS Thial, renovation of ponds, bowlis, provision of Paramedical training free of cost to 37 students, scholarships and prizes to the meritorious students and other such works.
Thial has pleasant weather conditions. Located atop a small hill, it does not have frosty and foggy weather unlike the low lying areas.People live a peaceful life and there is an atmosphere of amity, peace and brotherhood. People grow garlic, ginger , wheat, maize etc and dig out tarad from the earth.But they are faced with evergrowing monkey menace. Monkeys are growing in ferocity and number with each passing day.They attack children, destroy crops and cause other losses to the inhabitants. Many people in the adjoining villages affected by the monkey menace have stopped sowing crops. Then there is the menace of everspreading weed lantana indica. It has covered vast stretches of Government and private land. Thus, there is need to take measures to free the land from this weed and plant trees producing timber, fodder and fruit.The Social Forestry department need to work in this direction.
(The writer is serving as lecturer in English in Govt.Hr, Sec.School, Thial(Udhampur)