Shiv Chander Sharma The old part of Jammu city is still known as walled city but many of
the people hardly know that who gave this look to the city, why and when. The walled look of the city continued till 1947 and even afterwards after getting the look in the
middle of the 18th century AD. Now hardly the people can trace any remain of
the wall that once covered most of the Jammu city during royal period.
However, the pedestrians who cross the Gumat Gate adjoining Town hall building, once the main entry point to the walled Jammu city among total five gates,are hardly aware that this gate was the main entrance point to the city. Adjacent to this gate is another gate, the Maheshi Gate a part of which still exists at Kanji House while the wall has completely disappeared now.
When the capital of Jammu Raj was once again shifted back to Jammu city by Raja Maldev of Dev Dynasty in 14th century AD he built his palace at Purani Mandi. But the main credit of converting Jammu into walled city goes to his descendant Raja Ranjit Dev (1733 AD to 1782 AD). He is also believed to have started the construction of Dogra Royal palace during his reign which was completed by Maharaja Gulab Singh with some additions made by his son Ranbir Singh and grandson Maharaja Pratap Singh who added more parts to the palace as per their requirements.
Earlier, Jammu city was very small but keeping in view the Muslim and Sikh invaders Raja Ranjit Dev felt the strong need of keeping the city safe from them and planned to convert the city into walled city. Main entry gate to the city was no doubt Gumat gate followed by some others gates to enter the walled city. Maheshi gate, of which only a small part can be seen at Vivekanand Chowk adjoining a nullah, still reminds one to the grandeur of the city. Part of another gate towards main cremation ground in the city, Jogi Gate can still be seen when one goes down Shahidi Chowk by the side of DPS School.
When Ranjit Dev became the ruler of the state be was imprisoned for 12 years at Lahore by Nawab Zakariya Khan according to Rajdarshni by Ganesh Das Baderhra. However, ultimately he was released and took the reigns of Jammu Raj under his control. He felt the strong need of giving protection to the capital city and first of all the Gumat Gate was erected.
On the one side of Gumat the huge wall was constructed along Hari Singh High School which further went to now DPS School side, Jogi Gate, Gujjar Nagar near the present residence of the Chief Minister to Mubarak Mandi Royal palace along the side of river Tawi. From the other side of Gumat gate the wall passed through present Kaleeth Mohalla, SMGS hospital to Kachi Chawni and Ambhalla towards the Panjtirthi via part of present Echange Road. The city during the royal period remained confined in between the wall which has now expanded manifold with the growing population.
However, various parts of the mammoth wall were completed by the successors of Raja Ranjit Dev during their times and due to this wall the Jammu remained protected from Sikh invaders who were given tough fight outside the Gumat Gate who were finally pushed back failing in entering Jammu city. But with the passage of time the wall almost disappeared to become a history and some remnants still remind people that the city was once walled.