Dadyal, ajk    -   On the occasion of World Tourism Day, the local administration of Dadyal Tehsil of Azad Jammu and Kashmir took an initiative to explore the lost glory of Ramkot Fort from its ruins and bring it to the limelight as an attraction for people.

Though on the verge of collapse, it still offers everything to those having interest in tourism, nature-exploring and past history. The masterpiece of the glorious architecture of 12th Century AD, the fort was built in 1186 by Sultan of Ghurid clan namely Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad, at top of a hill surrounded by blue waters of river Jhelum and Poonch on three sides. Ramkot Fort presents a beautiful landscape with blue river in the background and a majestic view from the top. The fort is located on the confluence of two mighty rivers and seems like a crown on a vertical cliff from blue waters.

Due to its peculiar architecture, the Ramkot Fort is distinct among fortresses built in the Kashmir region.  The architectural characteristics of Ramkot Fort suggest that it was also built in the period the Mangla and Muzaffarabad Forts were built.

A large number of tourists and nature-lovers from AJK and different parts of Pakistan came here to celebrate the World Tourism Day on Sunday, September 27 with the officials of Teshsil Dadyal present there to welcome them. The families also, came to see this architectural glory of yesteryears and know about its historic importance. People, including men, women, children, who reached here to explore history found the fort’s location strategically more important than the forts as Lahore Fort (Shahi Qila), Peshawar Fort (Qila Bala Hisar) and Rohtas Fort. It can be reached through a gateway provided in the south east corner of the fort. It is the only entry/exit point for the whole fortified area. The gateway is strategically designed with firing sits covering almost every angle. 

However, the visitors seemed disappointed after seeing that the building was on the verge of collapse. The walls are falling with roofs already having vanished. Neither Azad Jammu and Kashmir government nor government of Pakistan, any organization paid any heed towards restoration of this dying glory. Waseem Sani, a local resident told this scribe that the authorities need to restore the fort which can not only attract foreign tours but generate considerable revenue for the state. 

Today, one can see that the whole complex has reduced to ruins and with the passage of time, the process will expedite. The renovation of the fort can be a big attraction for tourists, nature-lovers, hikers and water sports-lovers and earn huge revenue for the government.

According to the available information, Ramkot Fort was built in middle of blue waters of Jhelum and Poonch rivers and now surrounded by waters of Mangla Dam, the second largest water reservoir of Pakistan and 16th largest in the world, from all four sides. People can reach this site by using boats mostly from Haveli Bhathar village of Sayakh area of Dadyal Tehsil of Mirpur district. The other way to approach the fort is a boat from the water sports club located in Mangla Dam, which, after an almost 10-minute ride, would reach the northern extremity of the dam. Here, one can find a giant fort structure located on the summit of the hill.

A short but steep climb uphill takes you to the fort. This tricky location must have been a strategic plus point for this fort in the past, but these days, it has become the reason for its isolation and wilderness. The structure of Ramkot Fort epitomizes the Muslim military architecture, being filled with war mechanism. There is a water tank at the front against the background of a building on a raised plinth.

People visiting the fort on the World Tourism Day have all praise for the efforts made by Dadyal local administration, especially the young and energetic Assistant Commissioner Sardar Zeeshan Nasir and asked the governments of AJK to grab this opportunity and ensure renovation of this historical fact of yesteryears.