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Panoramic view of Bhimber
|Established||7th century AD|
|• Total||461,000 (District population)|
|Time zone||UTC+5 (PST)|
Bhimber (Urdu: بھمبر) is the capital of Bhimber District, in the Pakistan-administered territory of Azad Kashmir. The town is on the border between Kashmir and Pakistan about 50 km (31 mi) from Mirpur, 48 km (30 mi) from Gujrat, 37 km (23 mi) from Jhelum, 166 km (103 mi) from Islamabad and 241 km (150 mi) from Srinagar.
Bhimber lies on the route that was followed by the Mughal Emperors for their frequent visits to the Kashmir Valley. It is also known as "Baab-e-Kashmir" (Door to Kashmir) because of its importance and geographical location, which was ideal for the Mughal Emperors to use to enter Kashmir. Therefore, the Mughals used Bhimber as a staging point for their journey to Srinagar. The Mughal Emperor Jahangir discussed Bhimber in his book Tuzk-e-Jahangiri.
In the 19th century, Chibhal came under the Sikh Empire of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Around 1822, along with Poonch, it was granted as a jagir (feudal land grant) to Raja Dhian Singh of the Dogra dynasty, Gulab Singh's brother. After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh court fell into disunity, and Dhian Singh was murdered in a court intrigue. Subsequently, the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was formed under the suzerainty of the British Empire, and these territories were transferred to Jammu and Kashmir. The jagir given to Dhian Singh was respected, however, and Dhian Singh's sons Moti Singh and Jawahir Singh were retained as its Rajas.
In 1852, the brothers Jawahir and Moti Singh quarreled, and the Punjab Board of Revenue awarded a settlement. Moti Singh was awarded the Poonch district, and Jawahir Singh was awarded Bhimber, Mirpur and Kotli. In 1859, Jawahir Singh was accused of 'treacherous conspiracy' by Maharaja Ranbir Singh (r. 1857–1885), who succeeded Gulab Singh. The British agreed with the assessment and forced Jawahir Singh to exile in Ambala. Ranbir Singh paid Jawahir Singh an annual stipend of Rs. 100,000 until his death, and appropriated his territory afterwards because Jawahir Singh had no heirs.
The appropriated territory was organised as the Bhimber district (wazarat) in 1860. In the decade preceding 1911, the district headquarters was shifted to Mirpur and it came to be called the Mirpur district. Bhimber remained a tehsil headquarters until 1947. It had a Hindu majority population, mostly consisting of Mahajans.
Geography and climate
Bhimber is a valley. Its hot, dry climate and other geographical conditions closely resemble those of Gujrat, the adjoining district of Pakistan.
Its climate is classified as warm and temperate. Summers have a good deal of rainfall; winters have very little. This location is classified as Cwa by Köppen and Geiger. The average annual temperature is 23.6 °C (74.5 °F) with a yearly average rainfall of 974 mm (38.3 in). July and August are the wettest months. Temperatures are highest in June.
In regards to infrastructure, Bhimber ranks at 137th, with a school infrastructure rating of 24.64 and a retention score of 42.04. Fewer girls are enrolled than boys.
Over the last few decades, the private education sector has grown. The Punjab Group of colleges, the largest educational network in Pakistan, extended its network across the Azad Kashmir and started the Punjab College Bhimber in 2016.[self-published source?]
Bhimber and its surrounding area are very rich in archaeological remains. There is a forest rest house in Bhimber. Famous historical and scenic sites in the town and surrounding area include:
- Baghsar Fort – This ancient fort is built in Samahni Valley close to a place known as Baghsar.
- Baghsar Lake – This lake is situated near Baghsar Fort.
- Famous Haathi Gate – Jahangir's elephant used to enter the town through it.
- Jandi Chontra – This is the place where Srinagar and Lahore are at the same distance.
- Sarai Saadabad – The Sarai is located near Bandala in the Samahni Valley. It was used as a staging camp during Mughal Era for the caravans moving from Lahore to Kashmir.
- Tomb of Sufi saint Baba Shadi Shaheed.
Bhimber is connected with the rest of the country through a well-built road network. Public transport is commonly provided using Hiace vans. Daily routes include those to: Mirpur, Gujrat, Dina, Jhelum, Gujranwala and Kharian. Coaches and coasters travel to Pakistan's larger cities including: Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala.
There is no railway station in Bhimber. The nearest railway stations are those of Gujrat, the Lala Musa Junction and Kharian city and cantonment.
The nearest commercial airport is the Islamabad International Airport, which is approximately 208 km (129 mi) by road from Bhimber. Recently, Sialkot International Airport has become operational. It is located about 102 km (63 mi) from town. There is a small military airstrip in the town.
- Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Website. "Distance from other cities". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
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- "Climate Bhimber". en.climate-data.org. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
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