The story of Reasi

K D Maini
The Name of Reasi is derived from the first Raja Raspal of this area, who had shifted from Bajalta  to this place. At that time this place was a cluster of some houses. Raja Raspal        converted it into a township  and named it as Rasyalsi after his name. With the passage of time this named changed from Rasyalsi to Reasi.
Later on the name of this town was extended to the whole principality. Earlier this area was known as Bhimgarh principality which was established by Raja Bhim Dev in 8th century AD.
Reasi  got the status of District in 1904. However, in 1950 the status of Reasi was reduced to tehsil and the area was merged with district Udhampur. Reasi again became the district in 2007 which was carved out from district Udhampur. Reasi is 72 Km from Jammu city located on the northern side. It is predominantly a hilly district surrounded in the east by district Udhampur west by Rajouri in the  southern side by Jammu and in the  north by Ramban while a part of Reasi is touching the boundaries of district Shopian on the northern fringes. Chaneb is the major river flowing through the district while there are number of streams like Ans, Plassu, Ban Ganga etc.
The Reasi district is known for Shri Mata Vashino Devi University located at Kakrial (Panthal). A cancer hospital unique of its nature in the state is coming up in this university. Katra is an important town and center of religious tourism because the famous Mata Vashino Devi shrine is 13 km from this town located in Trikuta hills. Katra is linked with railway line. This railway track will be extended up to Reasi, Khouri, Surakote through Sangal Dan, Banihal and finally it will link with the valley. The highest railway arc bridge in the world is under construction near Khouri.   This shrine is an important pilgrimage center where more than one crore pilgrims visit every year from all over India and abroad to pay obeisance. Shiv Khori is another important Shrine which is about 42 km from Reasi in the south western side. It is a renowned cave of Lord Shiva. A big mela is organized at this shrine on the eve of Shivratri festival which continues for three days. The Dera of a great Saint and Soldier Baba Banda Singh Beragi is also located in Reasi, who was a warrior and General of tenth Guru Gobind Singh ji and fought number of battles against Mughals in Punjab. The Shrine of Baba Jitto is also located in Reasi area. Baba was a spiritual devotee of Shri Mata Vashino Devi and was a great social reformer. He sacrificed his life for the right of farmers by fighting against the Jagirdar Bir Singh because the land lord had denied him to give committed share of agriculture products cultivated by Baba Jitto. The Zairiat of Baji Ismile near Barakh is an important Muslim Shrine of Reasi. The famous warrior General Zorawar Singh had resided in Reasi near Vijaypur and his old Haveli still exists in the locality. The Bhimgarh fort is situated on the top hillock near the entry of town spread over 3 acres lands. Initially it was constructed with mud Later on this fort was reconstructed with stone masonry by Raja Rashipal Rana. The repair of this fort was started in 1817 by Gulab Singh of Jammu on the orders of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The repair work was completed in 1841. Most of the construction work took place under the supervision of General Zorawar Singh who was the care taker of this area on behalf of Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu. It is one of the strongest forts constructed in Jammu area. The town is built on the flat area on the foot of the mountains. As per C. E. Bats, the author of the Gazetteers of Kashmir, a route from Reasi was leading towards Konsarnag Lake in Shopian District which was originally known as Vishnu Paadh (the foot of lord Vishnu). The Hindus of Reasi crossed the pass and visited Konsarnag to have a dip in the lake and offered prayer. Salal Hydro project is not only a big power generating station but an attractive place of the district which is 15 km away from Reasi town and surrounded by mountains and natural vegetation.
As per Tarik Dogra Desh of Narsing Dev Nargis, Reasi was a small Jagir among 22 principalities of Jammu province before 1846. The ruler of Reasi originally belonged to Udhaypur Mawar. One prince of royal family of Mawar Manuman due to family rift had migrated from Mawar to Jammu and joined the service of Raja Joj Rai of Jammu in 317 AD. Keeping in view the family background Manuman was granted few villages as Jagir by Raja Joj Rai. After Manuman his 17th decedent was Raja Baja Dev who established Bajalita, a village near Jammu. He was having three sons Sheshpal, Devpal and Raspal. They revolted against the Raja of Jammu. Raspal left Bajalta and settled in the foot hills of Mata Vaishno Devi. He established a village on the left bank of Chenab River and named it as Reasi principality in 13th century AD. Raspal and his decedent ruled Reasi for centuries together. With the passage of time Salal, Gulabgrah and Akhnoor also came under the ruler of Rajas of Reasi. Later on Raja Hari Dev of Jammu extended his state towards mountainous areas and captured Reasi. He banished Rasial Rajas from Reasi Principality and nominated his third son Jaswant Dev as Raja of Reasi. Jaswant Dev was the younger brother of Raja Gajay Singh of Jammu. Therefore Jaswant Dev preferred to stay at Purani Mandi Jammu instead of Reasi. He deputed his governor to rule Reasi. The son of Jaswant Dev was Mean Rattan Dev who was a warrior and General of Ranjit Dev of Jammu. After the death of Rattan Dev, his son Jung Bahadur Singh and grandson Diwan Singh ruled Reasi principality which  comprises of Salal, Gulab Garh, Reasi etc. During this very period Mean Mota tried to revolt against Jeet Singh. Mean Diwan Singh and the wife of Jeet Singh Rani Bandralta killed Mean Moota. Therefore the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh arrested Mean Dewan Singh and taken him to Lahore while Reasi Jagir was handed over to the officers of Mean Gulab Singh. Mean Gulab Singh immediately reached Reasi. The public of Reasi accepted him as their ruler. At that time Mean Bhoop Dev, the son of Mean Dewan Singh was in Arnas. He revolted against Gulab Singh. Gulab Singh chased him and Captured from Salal fort. But Bhoop Dev escaped from his custody and rushed towards Lahore. In the meantime Gulab Singh laid the foundation of Bhimgarh fort and entrusted the construction of the fort to Dewan Amir Chand and left for Lahore.
As per Tarik-e-Jammu, Gulab Singh captured Reasi in 1817 AD. Bhoop Dev who had escaped from Salal fort also reached Lahore.  After some efforts he got his father Mean Dewan Singh released from Lahore Prison. Then both the father and son came to Reasi, assaulted on Bhimgarh fort but the defenders under the command of Wazir Zorawar Singh compelled the aggressors to retreat from the premises of the fort. Gulab Singh was again deputed by Lahore Darbar for the arrest of Mean Dewan Singh and his son Bhoop Dev. Gulab Singh reached Reasi.  But Dewan Singh and his sons  went to Lahore and attended the Darbar of Maharaja Ranjit Singh with an application of Mafi Nama. Maharaja excused them and sanctioned some monthly pension in their favour. Later on Dewan Singh died in Lahore. However his Son Bhoop Dev again revolted but was arrested and kept in a Prison. In the meantime Maharaja Ranjit Singh was on the death bed in 1839, he passed orders for the release of Prisoners. In this process Bhoop Dev was also released and given a Jagir of few villages in Pathankote area by Maharaja Kharak Singh. In 1839 Bhoop Dev died in Lahore.
After the disturbance by Lahore Darbar, Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu became the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir in the light of pact between British Government, Punjab Darbar and Gulab Singh on 16th March 1846. Reasi principality was then dissolved in newly created state of J&K. In 1850, Maharaja Partap Singh, the grandson of Maharja Ranbir Singh was born at Reasi. In those days Reasi was a prosperous town with unique Phari culture. In 1904 Reasi attained the status of a  District and the erstwhile Rajouri principality of Jaral Rajas was merged with District Reasi.  In1950 the status of Reasi Wazarat was reduced to Tehsil by the emergency Government of Seikh Mohd Abdullah and became a tehsil of District Udhampur. In 2007, Reasi again got the status of District.