Life is all about exploring and travel makes you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. Mohar-Garh Fort is a place less explored, less popular among tourists, based in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir. After listening to the name you must be looking forward to signing up and Google it, but unfortunately you won’t find anything much about it. After my visit I was surprised by its beauty that is why I decided to write about it and share its magnificent story to make you experience it through my eyes before you visit it.
The natural trail started from deer park of the Mansar Lake after an entertaining drive of around an hour from Jammu City. The sound of swaying trees, cool breeze, birds singing and melodious sound of flute welcomes us. Travel never fails to bring memorable moments and that day this feeling was stronger. Nature of the trek is more of a beginner level and on difficulty level it stands on easy to moderate scale. The more the distance we were covering the more our lungs were getting filled with fresh air, under the beautiful crystal clear sky we were simply detoxifying ourselves. While the sky looked dreamy not less than any fairy tale set it was simply meant to cherish because in cities we hardly get any chance to enjoy such pleasures of nature. Lush green pine trees standing tall, were simply increasing the beauty of the trek and kept attracting both eyes and heart of ours. Some of the difficult spots in-between the trek used to keep us active, focused and highly energetic for a joy ride where number of photography points was found and from where one can have mesmerizing aerial views of Mansar Lake and other beautiful landscapes. One of points known as “Nirvana point” is sheer pleasure to see. The time we reached Nirvana Point it was midday, it was little hot by then but it was almost nobody there, what a chance to explore this marvelous beauty of chain of flourishing mountains, orange and teal bedding, flowing wind feeling like its singing to you, in silence and solitude! Views along the whole trek never let us lose interest even for a moment and we never felt any hurry about reaching our destiny as we were completely enjoying our journey.
Once you leave Mansar Lake the route does not house any rest room so kindly be prepared for the same. Ensure that you stay hydrated because two third of the area is Kandi and rain fed characterized by numerous torrents, hilly soil and scarcity of water. The climate being sub tropical zone is hot and dry in summer and cold in winter. The Temperature ranges between -2 degree Celsius and 42 degree Celsius. Best time is from October to April. Carry Water bottles, extra batteries, some snacks, Anti bacterial wipes, Mosquito repellent, Battery Torches etc or anything else you cannot live without. Birds that keep showing now and then were Peacocks, wild rock pigeon (a dozen of them), couple of Falcon (the only bird that preys on another bird) and few eagles flying high. Having a realization that we all have a responsibility to protect our environmental surroundings and cultural heritage do not litter (water bottles, litter and plastic wrappers). Except your footprints you should not leave a single trace behind you.
By the time we reached on the top, it was already around 3’o clock. And here was in front of us the glorious past smiling proudly through the ruins. Located on high cliffs, once you will reach up, massive doors of the fort that is more of ruins will be seen along with how nature has beautifully taken over it and how marvelously roots of trees are now holding the walls of the fort. Having no clear History, the Fort is believed to have a past of more than 450 yrs. The Lack of continuity of this place, it’s suddenly coming to existence and in similar way suddenly losing its purpose from everywhere including minds of people leading to lack of knowledge never gave it the privilege to be much talked about. There are so many theories associated as no one is exactly clear about the same. But it is believed to be build around Afghan Mughal Struggle to occupy troops and acted as a permanent military post (Garrison) of that time. The only evidence that can been seen today giving the hints about being built by the foreign invaders and not some local Dogra ruler is Ibadat “Allah- Allah” carved on the bricks of gates & walls of Fort. No King ever ruled from this place. There are other forts build by Dogra rulers from where they used to rule and this fort was never considered again. Made on high cliffs Mansar Lake used to be the short supply of water, controlling & connecting two important roads, one old Dhar road (also mentioned by Al-biruni in his book) second Jammu & Lahore road.
At present not much of it is being left except the back and front gate with broken walls, it is being taken care of by the Archives department of J&K.
HOW TO REACH: To reach the Mohar Garh Fort one needs to trek around 7 KM one way.
There are two ways:
1) From Mansar Lake, Starting from Deer Park
2) From Sarna (It’s basically a motor able road though the road is still under construction)
Preferred Route: A full day activity trek starting from Sarna reaching Mohar Garh fort and ending at Mansar Lake.
Though our journey has ended but the memories are etched forever, a journey that made us smile and happy and doing so even when I am writing this, it makes me feel like I am reliving those moments. It was a journey that made me forget everything and allowed me to set myself free. If you ask me to describe this place of interest in one word it would be just “Magnificent”. It was exactly that occasion when reality is much better than photos. Doors of the fort looks more like a beautiful natural photo frame and getting clicked there was a sheer treat. First of all it was hard to believe how its charm has stayed away for so long.
Everything was so much amazing that before saying good bye I just stood there for a while trying to capture all this beauty, to keep in my mind the every small detail…and this time I know that ruthless time will not be able to erase all this beauty from my memory for quite a long time.
While you are still thinking, I will definitely advise you to visit this fort.
So next time in Jammu, take a day off to Mohar Garh, I promise it will be a Day of Happiness!