Category Archives: Jammu & Kashmir

Jaganu and Laddan near Udhampur

We turn our attention again to the Western Himalayas with the help of Ashok Jerath’s book, “Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalaya” to track down the forts at Laddan or Laddankotli and Jaganu or Jaganoo near Udhampur in Jammu region. Both forts lie on the Eastern bank of the River Tavi or Tawi. Interestingly, Jaganu overlooks an IAF base across the river towards the North-west.

Jaganu and Laddan near Udhampur

Original map courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

The ruins make it hard to be sure whether identification of Laddan is correct but the description of the geography of the fort in Ashok Jerath’s book matches my understanding of Laddan fort.

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Jasmergarh

Jasmergarh is a small fort at a very interesting location. It lies on a ridge in the Shivalik hills, just before they start rising higher into the Himalayas. The fort, built by the chieftains of the erstwhile Jasrotia Rajput state of Jasrota, was needed to protect the town of Jasrota from Sikh attacks from the south. Jasmergarh’s location is interesting because it is protected by the Tarnah and Bein rivers from the East and West, respectively. It provided a second layer of defense to Jasrota, which is to the East on the banks of the Ujjh river.

Jasmergarh

Original map courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Using only the terrain map in Google Maps, it is hard to guess that the location was really strategic for Jasrota. The fort seems not to be at a vantage point as far as the topography is concerned. The pieces of the puzzle truly fell into place once I saw the two rivers on either side of the town and read the history of Sikh attacks through this route in Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalaya by Ashok Jerath.

Located on NH-1A between Kathua and Samba, Jasmergarh is also known as Hiranagar fort after Raja Hira Singh who renovated it and also as Jhandi fort.