From the end of the 17th century upto 1837 A.D Poonch was ruled by different Muslim Rajas of Loran. It then fell in to the hands of Raja Faiz Talab Khan of Rajori.
In 1846, this area was handed over to Maharaja Ghulab Singh under the treaty of Amritsar . Before this transfer, Poonch was considered a district of Lahore. Maharaja Ghulab Singh handed over Poonch and some other areas to his nephews, Jawahar Singh and Moti Singh, with the condition that they would not make any administrative changes without the consent of the Maharaja of Kashmir.
Poonch was annexed and converted into Jagir by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1935-36 by the deposing Raja of Poonch. The Dogras always found it difficult to establish their rule in Poonch. In 1947, when Pakistan came into being, the people of Poonch started armed against the Dogra and Indian Forces and got liberated the area which is now administratively stands divided into three districts namely Poonch, Sudhanoti and Bagh. Following are some spots of tourist interest.
Rawalakot, the district headquarter, is situated in the heart of district Poonch. The altitude of this beautiful saucer-shaped valley is 1615 meters. Situated at a distance of 76 kilometers from Kohalla, it is also linked with Rawalpindi/Islamabad via Azad pattan and Dhalkot and with Muzaffarabad via Kohalla by black top roads. The construction of Guoien Nullah road between Rawalakot and Azad pattan has considerably reduced the distance and journey time. During summer the place becomes full of green grass and beautiful flowers including many varieties of roses. The town has few good bazaars where all essential commodities of life are easily available.
In Rawalakot, besides tourist rest house and circuit house, some good hotels and private guest houses provide comfortable accommodation.
Paniola is situated 17 KMs from Rawalakot towards Kohalla and 52 kilometers from Kohalla. Due to its calm and charming characteristics, the Tourism Department has constructed a rest house for tourists.
Banjosa / Chottagala:
It is Situated 20 kilometers from Rawalakot, at an altitude of 1981 meters. Its scenic beauty and impressive surrounding is compelling and attracts tourists to reach here to enjoy the nature for a possible comeback. Amidst the captivating beauty of Banjosa the artificial lake reflects the dense forest standing along the surrounding of of the resting calm waters of Banjosa lake.
The nearby worth seeing areas of Banjosa are Jandali, Hussain kot and Devi gali which can’t be simply bypassed for a pleasure trip. The distance parting the destinations from Banjosa are 3 kms, 4kms and 12 kms respectively. These places portray rich inherent natural beauty encompassing all others while awaiting visitors for a comfortable stay. Also, Ghorimar is situated 20 kms from Khaigala awaiting ones arrival to explore the fascinating beauty over-looking the sub-valley of Rawalakot and Bagh.
Accommodation on reasonable rates is available here in Tourism, PWD and Pearl Development Authority’s rest houses.
From Rawalakot 17 kilometers ahead this place is surrounded by dense forests, which makes it charming and pleasant. A Tourist Rest House has been constructed by AJK Tourism Department for the tourists.
Ghori Mar is situated at a distance of 30 kilometers. Ahead of Rawalakot, a fair-weather road via Khaigala leads to this place. At reaching Ghori Mar, one can explore the fascinating beauty over-looking the sub valleys of Rawalakot & Bagh. AJK Tourism Department provides accommodation facilities to visitors
Hot Springs (Tatta Pani):
Tatta Pani is situated on the right bank of the river Poonch, at a distance of 29 kilometers from Hajeera and is connected with two fair weather roads i.e. via Hajeera-Mandol & Balouch-Pakhonar road. It can be also be reached from Kotli, the district headquarter of Kotli district, by covering a distance of 26 kilometers. Tatta Pani is famous for its sulpher water springs. During winter season a large number of people visit this place daily to have hot water bath for the cure of skin & rheumatic ailments.
AJK Tourism Dept. has constructed here a Tourist Rest House and bathrooms for the convenience of the visitors. Transport services for Tatta Pani are available in good number from all important points of the Poonch, Mirpur & Kotli districts of Azad Kashmir.