Tilla Jogian is a narrow ridge about 30 km west of Jhelum. The ridge joins the salt Range on the southern side while on the north it merges into the highlands, 972 m from sea level and terminates at the summit of an isolated peak on which the monastery stands. A perfect place for contemplation, initially, Tilla Gorakh Nath, the legendary founder of the oldest religious institution in Northern India, later called as Tilla Balnath, named after prominent disciple of Gorakh Nath. This former retreat of Jogis boasts of magnificent views and the remains of a monastery dedicated to ascetic pursuits of post-Vedic civilization era. It also offers a historical gallery of colourful tales from the past….. This is where….. the distraught” Ranjha” is believed to have wandered around when jilted by” Heer’,……the royal elephant of King Porus, who took on Alexander, fled and rushed up a hill sacred to the sun, seeking help for its master,….. the Pandavas from the Mahabharata took shelter during their seven years in wilderness,…..Raja Bharthri resigned the Throne in favour of his younger brother Raja Vikramditya of Ujjaian to become a ”Yogi” and a member of the Tilla monastery and Puran Bhagat, a son of Raja Salwahan of Sialkot, is said to have joined the jogi, fraternity on being restored to life by their head. The mystic mountain has witnessed many of the invasions, expeditions and adventures like Alexander (326 B C), Fa-Hien (399-414 A D, White Huns (460 A D ), Hiuen Tsiange (603-664 A D),Sultan Mehmood Ghaznvi (1000AD), Abu Arrayhan Muhammad Ibn Ahmed AL- Beruni (1017 A D ), Zaheer -ud- Din Babar (1526 A D), Baba Guru Nanak (early 16th Century ) and finally Ahmed Shah Abdali (1748 A D).
The present monastery is an irregular pile of historical…. if not architectural interest, with masonry tombs, large and small, and temple-like structures. Several smaller tombs or meditation shrines are scattered on this pyramid of nature. A splendid vista of the Smadh, on the rocky pinnacle to the west of the ridge and at the summit of the hill, commemorates the visit of Baba Guru Nanak. A flat rock over-looking the Jhelum River Basin, on the way to the monastery, marks the spot where Ranjha is reported to have sat in meditation after being initiated into the order. Near the monastery is fine masonry tank. Of the storage tanks, the biggest called ”Kwar sar” means ”The virgin water ” is an ordinary embanked pond on a large scale…….Unfortunately, this is another neglected and forsaken site, last visited by a camera crew, shooting a video, extolling the lost virtues of archaeology and history scattered at this mystic mountain. This is a skyscraper spot, where, due to the most arduous approach, only the best determined tourists, hikers and trekkers dare to venture. A summer camp office of the Jhelum during the colonial period. The Tilla formally a great place of pilgrimage continued as the centre of annual gatherings until 1947 where ”Kanphata Yogis” (those with pierced ears) from all over India had been congregating. They were known for their piety, cleanliness and curing powers. The slopes around the Tilla were rich with medicinal plans which the yogis picked for use in the plains. More recently, the Tilla area has been declared a National Nature Reserve to protect the Faunas and Floras.