An ancient Kashmiri heritage site: Ramkot Fort
It is an ancient Fort situated in Azad Kashmir besides the Mangla Dam. It’s considered a major landmark of Mangla city. The fort, located on the top of a hill and surrounded by River Jehlum from three sides, presents a scenic landscape. The fort is accessible from Mangla Lake through a boat which is about 20km away from Mangla city.
Ramkot Fort is built over the site of an old Hindu Shiva temple. Three sides of this hilltop are surrounded by the River Jhelum. During diggings by the archeologists, remnants of the 5th - 9th centuries AD have been discovered near one of the temples. In the 16th - 17th centuries AD, the Muslim rulers of Kashmir in safeguarding their boundaries built numerous forts. Ramkot, sitting near the confluence of the river Jhelum is one of them. The Sikh Maharaja of Kashmir further fortified Ramkot.
In the 1990s, a dentist from Rawalpindi voluntarily spent hundreds of thousands of rupees trying to revive Ramkot Fort, but his efforts were in vain due to a lack of cooperation and interest from local authorities.
As it’s on the verge of destruction, Ramkot Fort today feels like an abode for ghosts. Although large funds are included in the annual budget of the AJK Tourism Department, but this has not translated into a tangible difference in the condition of historic structures.
Authorities should put necessary efforts to preserve the structure of the fort and to make it attractive to tourists.