Mangla Fort

 

Mangla, named after Mangla Devi, the daughter of King Porus is situated on the great bend of the Jhelum River. Mangla, known as the gateway to Kashmir, where the natural boundaries of the Jhelum River divided Jhelum Basin and Kashmir, was built before Christ . An historical place, from where Alexander crossed the Jhelum in early June of 326 B C, and later on at ”Kharri”, 15 km downstream, the forces of Alexander and Raja Porus fought a decisive battle in which Alexander’s armies came out victorious. The Greeks were loud in praise of the Indians in general and Porus and his army in particular. Never in all their eight years of constant warfare had they met with such skilled and gallant soldiers who surpassed in stature and bearing all the races of Asia. When the Alexander’s troops mutinied and refused to advance across the river Beas, he moved back along the way by which he had advance till he reached the banks of Jhelum again, the scene of his conflict with Porus. Here he made elaborate preparations for executing the bold project of taking his army down the course of the Jhelum to the sea. The flotilla, the imposing total of 1000, commanded by Nearchus and Alexander’s ship piloted by Onesicritus, eventually discarded the audacious quest to conquer the world in midway, sailed for Arabian Sea. It was in this fort, the Maharaja Gulab Singh, first Dogra ruler of the Jammu & Kashmir state, started his career in the Sikh Army as a soldier on a salary of Nanak-Shahi rupees two only.

A naturally protected motte, overlooking the Jhelum Vlley plains unroll, distance beyond distance, like some Chinese landscape painting . At the edge of the top, the world falls away, the land rises and the sky comes down to meet it in the haze. The nearer land distincts with scattered villages, patches of fields green and ploughed, the serpentine river catching the sun. Further- away, the land visible vaguely through suspended fog, industrial smoke and dust; and far from this, the pure cool air and primeval songs of the birds make Jhelum Basin a wonderland.