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.
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.