Crumbling Heritage

Aruditya Jasrotia
Once the seat of imperial power was made a wazarat (district) of Jammu provice when Gulab Singh became the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir in March’1846. During the regin of Maharaja Ranbir Singh, Jasrota comprised 2 tehsils and 13 parganas.Jasrota was founded by Raja Jasdev of Jammu in 1019 AD. He was descendant of the Royal House of Jammu. He passed it on to his uncle Raja Karan Dev. The Rulers of Jasrotia is the name of branch of Kachwaha clan range of Surya Vanshi Rajputs. Jasrotia’s are sub clan of Sangotre/Jamwals (native of Jammu province of Jammu and Kashmir. They migrated from Rajasthan at the time of Aurangzeb towards North, where they could re-unite and attack Mugal Emperor Aurangzeb. Jasrota was their captain and then they migrated to different parts of India.
According to Hutchison and Vogel, author of the Punjab Hill States, “owing to the fertility of the tract, being so close to the plains, Jasrota under its native rulers was a powerful state which viewed with Jammu in importance down to the time of its extinction in 1834”.Their castle which they built to fight the Sikhs or any external threats which they perceived from the other rulers of that time.
The ancient temple of Maha Kali reconstructed a few years back has also emerged as a famous pilgrimage center. The shrine of holy Goddess is situated on a hillock on the outskirts of old jasrota village. The fort of Jasrota was constructed by the king of Jasrota.It is said that originally the fort had seven gates but presently only four gates exist. Jasrota has been mentioned as an important state of Jammu Hills during the medieval period. Abul Fazl in his Akbarnama and Aine-Akbari has mentioned about Jasrota as a Rajput state during Akbar’s period. The area covered by the fort and its architectures features show that the Jasrota was a rich and militarily strong state, according to Hutchison and Vogel author the Punjab hill states “owing to the fertility of the tract being so close to the plains. Jasrota under its native rulers was a powerful state which viewed with Jammu in importance down to the time of its extinction in 1834. Now the place has been covered under Jasrota wild life by sanctuary but still Jasrotia Rajputs meet once in a year to remember their great history and also ogranise a yagya for the temple which has been built inside the park. Jasrota wild life sanctuary is situated on the right of Ujh river northwards of Jasrota, about 63 km from Jammu. Spread over an area of 10 sq km, its now a home to a large variety of flora and fauna. The sanctuary mainly sustains bamboo plantation. Major animal species found here include chital deer (axis dear), rhesus macaque, barking deer and bear; it is also has to a variety of birds including peafowl, red jungle fowl, jungle bush-quail, green pigeon and blue neck pigeon.
The best time in the year to visit is March and May or September to March because these are the months when birds and animals of this beautiful wild life sanctuary come out and the view is a remarkable, we can’t see in our whole life. Most of the tourists would like to visit Jasrota fort and Jasrota wild life sanctuary. Jammu Tawi Railway station is the nearest rail head. The nearest Airport is Jammu Airport at Jammu.
Ujh river is one of the major rivers of Kathua district. The Ujh barrage built across the river and the Jasrota wildlife sanctuary in the north of Jasrota are the major points of tourist interest on its banks and is also an upcoming picnic spot.
The sad part is that the fort is not in a good condition and it’s beauty is dying day by day. The reason behind this is lack of  awareness  among  people about the importance of the fort and no step is taken by government( Ministry of tourism J&K) to save the fort which holds the history. We need to come forward and save history and heritage because, if the roots of a culture are rotten then it cannot survive for long time.