|Nickname(s): Balore/Balaur, Billawar|
|State||Jammu and Kashmir|
|• MLA||Dr. Nirmal Singh|
|Elevation||844 m (2,769 ft)|
|• Official||Urdu, Dogri|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Billawar is a town and a notified area committee in Kathua district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Billawar is also a tehsil. It is also known as Balaur. Billawar was founded by Raja Bhog Pal in 7th century A.D and it remained the capital of Basohli Rajas. The descendants of the Royal family are known as "Billawaria, Baloria, Balouria or Billawaria" and chandel all being the modern day spelling variants. The town has some ancient monuments. One of these is Mahabilvakeshwar Temple, one of the most revered Shiva temples of the area. It was known as Hari Hara Temple.
Billawar is located at  It has an average elevation of 844 m (2,769 ft). Billawar town is situated in the lap of Shivalik mountains between the banks of Naz and Bheeni rivulets approximately 70 km from Dayala Chak on Delhi-Jammu NH-1A. Local places of importance include Sukrala Devi Temple and an ancient Shiva temple. This place is of historical importance as it was the headquarters of the Billawaria kings..
According to one belief, Pandavas visited Billawar in the last year of their exile and were attracted by Bael or Bilwa trees abundant in the region. The Temple Mahabilwakeshwar was built where Pandavas had worshipped. In Billawar there is an ancient Hanuman's statue built on a rock in the river Naz . According to Dr Sukhdev Singh Charak, Billawar-Basohli was one of the three parent/ original states of the Duggar Group along with Jammu and Poonch.
As of 2011[update] India census, Billawar had a population of 11,916. Billawar has two boroughs-old Billawar town and Phinter area. Males constitute 56% of the population and females 44%. Billawar has an average literacy rate of 72%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 78% and female literacy of 58%. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age. The old name of Billawar is 'Bilawara'. The major religions of this area are Hinduism 88.21% and Islam 9.68%. While some Sikh and Christian communities are also present in small numbers.
Billawar Block (Tehsil) details
- Dambra East
- Dambra West
- Dhar Dugnoo
- Dhar Dugnoo Upper
- Dungara Lower (Kishanpur)
- Dungara Upper
- Gura Kalyal-A
- Gura Kalyal-B
- Kishanpur (Billawar)
- Tilla (Ward No-7)
Billawar is connected to Jammu, Udhampur, Kathua, Basoli, Delhi, Haridwar, Pathankot, Lakhanpur, Lornoo etc. by regular bus service.
The Mahabilvakehwar temple of Billawar is most enchanting and magnificent edifice. The Shiva temple is the landmark in the development of art and architecture of the region. It contains the rare Linga image. Bala Sundri Mata is a holy place for the locals. Famous Sukrala Mata temple is situated just 8 km from Billawar. The temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year, mainly from Northern India.
The Peer Baba Also known as Varun Devata At the bank of Ujh river is also a place of local religious importance.
It is situated at a height of 5000 ft. It is a ridge blanked with thick cover of Chir pine, Deodar and shrubs. The climate is temperate type. It receives winter rainfall from Western disturbances and summer rainfall from monsoons. It is 30 km from Billawar (Tehsil HQ). Regular bus service plies from Billawar.
A prominent town of Billawar Tehsil, was also once the seat of Imperial Power. It was very small state comprising 36 villages. Bhaddu town is situated on Bhinni Naalah, a tributary of Ujh river. The descendants of the Royal family are called Bhadwal Rajputs.
It is an important town of Billawar tehsil. It is situated on a hillock on the bank of Basantar Stream on Dhar-Udhampur Road. It used to be a small state spread over an area of 24 km in length and 15 km in breadth. Mankote was founded by Raja Manak Dev, a contemporary of Raja Narsingh Dev of Jammu (1272-1314 AD). It was renamed by Raja Suchet Singh (1822-43 AD) as RAMKOTE.
The most famous shrine in Billawar is Sukrala Devi Shrine at a height of 3500 ft on a hillock amidst sylvan surroundings at a distance of 10 km from Billawar and about 75 km from Kathua. The temple has white-line-coated edifice. The pilgrims have to scale flights of many steps to reach the temple. According to the local belief, the holy shrine is the abode to the goddess Mal Devi, the re-incarnation of Sharda Devi whome according to them has manifested herself here in the shape of a Shila (Stone Slab) seated on a Brass Lion with a silver mounted head. Behind the slab is an image of Mahishasur Murdini (re-incarnation of Mahalakshmi) standing on the body of Mahishasur, the Demon King. The Goddess is four Armed with a sword in one of her hands. The shrine is believed to have been built by Madho Singh and exiled Prince of Chamba (Himachal Pradesh). During Navratri the number of pilgrims goes over 50 thousand.
Situated on bank of river Naz and Gurunal, the most religious places just a few meters adjusant to Hanuman Stone and there are 320 springs exists in Gurunal also known as Mini Haridwar, Mandir of Mata Mal Rani is also in Gurunal.
Other tourist Places
There are many other tourist places located in the town of Billawar. Some of them are:
- Hottar Temple.
- Durga Temple of Kohag.
- Narsingh teple of kohag mandli.
- Radha krishna temple of upper mandli.
- Goshala at mandli.
- Amar Pinak Shiv Temple.
- Sacred Heart Church in Phinter.
- Parnala Mandir.
- Sheetala Mata Temple.
- Bhaddu Shiva Temple.
- Sharada cave at Gura Brota road.
- Ringri Mata Temple.
- Varundev(Peer Baba) at the bank of river UJH(ujhpul)
- Durga temple of Nagrota Gujroo.
- Shani Mandir at Lakhri
- Durga temple at Nagrota
- Panjtirthi Shiv Mandir (lower Dungara)
Buses for Jammu, Kathua, Basoli, Delhi, Pathankot, katra, Udhampur for long distance and Matador vans for short distances.
- Kumar, Raj (2006) . Paintings and Lifestyles of Jammu Region: From 17th to 19th Century A.D (Reprint ed.). New Delhi: Kalpaz Publications. p. 57.
- Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Billawar
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- "Reports of National Panchayat Directory: Village Panchayat Names of Billawar, Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir". Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India.[permanent dead link]