About Thanamandi

About ThanamandiThanamandi has immense historical significance. The place has some important tourist attractions and has been a favorite place for the visitors coming to Rajouri. Since the time of the Mughals, Thanamandi has been an important place for trade and business. This beautiful town was a resting place for the travelers who used to go to Kashmir through Ratan Shah Peer Pass.  In the recent time, Thanamandi has grown as a beautiful township and an important tourist destination.  Because of pleasant climate of Thanamandi, there are plans to build health resorts in this town. (Img Source: Flickr)

Thanamandi is mostly inhabited by Kashmiri Muslims. Thanamandi is a sacred place for the Muslims as it is the birth place of famous Sufi Saint Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah.

History of Thanamandi

During 15th Century AD, Thanamandi was called by the name Mudgravyala and was under the control of Hindu Rulers of Rajouri Region.  This place was mentioned as “Thatta” in the writing of Emperor Jahangir (in Tuzak) and also in “Tarikh-e-Farishta” written by Abdul Qasim. Later on “Thatta” got changed to “Thanna”. Thanna became a very important place for the local traders of Kashmir as well as for the ones who came here to do business. Thanna became a meeting place for the traders of Kashmir who could not reside in lower lands of Punjab due to hot climate and for the traders of Punjab who found it hard to go to high lands of Kashmir and do business. Kashmiri traders exchanged Carved Wood items, Shawls, shoes etc for salt, gur, tea and others from the traders of Punjab. Due to extensive trading that used to happen in the small village of Thanna, it became a market or ‘mandi’ for the traders. With time this small beautiful village and trade center got its new name “Thanamandi”.

Location and Geography of Thanamandi

Located on the foothill of Ratan Peer Range, Thanamandi is located at 33.33 °N latitude and 74.25°E longitudes. Thanamandi is situated on the right shore of Thanna Nallah on the north side of Rajouri Town. Thanamandi is situated on the Mughal Road.  Thanamandi is about 25-30 KM away from Rajouri Town.
Thanamandi enjoys Semi-tropical and temperate climate. Slightly higher places have Alpine Flora and Fauna. The regular trees found in this region are Fir, Kikkar, Chir, Amli etc. Varieties of wild flowers bloom among the grassy meadows.

Geography of Thanamandi

Numerous birds, mammals, lizards and snakes are found in forest area of Thanamandi.

People of Thanamandi

Total population of Thanamandi is 7, 204. 53% of the population is Males and 47% are females. The average literacy rate of Thanamandi is 60%. Male Literacy rate of Thanamandi is 69% and female literacy rate is about 49%. Thanamandi is inhabited by people of different tribes and races such as Gujjars, Kamalaks, Dars, Bhats, Mirs and Samyals.

Art and Craft of Thanamandi

Thanamandi is famous for its handicraft works especially the Chikri Wood Craft work. Artisans skilled in Chikri Wood Carving mainly inhabited Thanamandi, Budhal and Shahdara Sharief of Rajouri District. Chikri is a type of wood that grow in abundance in Rajouri District of Jammu & Kashmir. This wood is very smooth and has the color of ivory.

Art & Craft of Thanamandi

Artisans of Thanamandi on Chikri Wood. The State Government is also helping these artisans to get exposed to the national and international market and earn good amount of money by selling innovatively designed carved Chikri wood items.

Places to Visit in Thanamandi

Thanamandi has few tourist places which are Thanamandi Sarai, Shahdara Sharif Shrine and forts that have been built during the rule of the Mughals.

Thanamandi Sarai

Thanamandi houses many constructions of Mughal Era. One such is the Thanamandi Sarai which is situated on the Mughal Road. While traveling to Kashmir through Rattan Shah Pir Pass and vice versa, travelers used to halt at this sarai or inn to take rest and get refreshed. The sarai is famous for its wonderful architecture. The sarai has two enclosures.

Thanamandi Sarai
Source: Flickr

One is called “Am Khasa” which has two rectangular courtyards or dalans and thirty six cells. The rectangular courtyards have three separate chambers each one having a separate opening. They are situated on the eastern part of Thanamandi Sarai and have many bawlis or wells adjoining these chambers. These bawlis have beautiful sculptures carved in them.

Shahdara Sharif

Shahdara Sharif is one of the most sacred places for the Muslims. It is the mausoleum of the famous Sufi saint Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah and was built in the 19th Century. This shrine is located about 7 KM from Thanamandi and is well connected to Rajouri Town through a well-built road of 30 KM. This place is visited by hundreds of pilgrims every day. Shahdara was known as Simha Dwara and was visited by the great saint Hazrat Sayeed Ghulam Shah Badshah inn 1765. He stayed here and preached the people around for rest of his life. Baba Ghulam Shah started meditating in this beautiful place surrounded by dense forest, lofty mountain peaks, springs and green meadows. Maharaja Gulab Singh, a general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh had built this Ziarat in the memory of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah who had predicted that Gulab Singh would become a king of Jammu and Kashmir.

Shahdara Sharif

Everyday about 3000 people get their food at the community lunch or langar at this Ziarat. Pilgrims are served Kashmiri Tea anytime of the day they come to this Ziarat. There is accommodation of 4000 people and about 800 beds are available for the pilgrims in this shrine. The shrine also houses Shahdara Sharif Jama Masjid. Every year, many devotees visit this religious shrine and offer their prayers to this saint. They offer rice, atta and other goods at this shrine.

How to Reach Thanamandi

Thanamandi can be best approached by road from Jammu. Jammu is the nearest rail head of Thanamandi and the nearest airport is also the Jammu Airport. From Jammu, state and private buses, private taxis, jeeps and other cars are available to reach Thanamandi, an important town in Rajouri. Bus and taxi services from Rajouri and Jammu to reach Thanamandi are frequently available.

Fact File of Thanamandi
Longitude: 74.38°E
Latitude: 33.55°N   
District it belongs: Rajouri
Total Population: 7, 204
Average Literacy Rate: 60%
Official Language: Urdu
Other Language Spoken: Dogri, Gujjari

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