poonch house rawalpindi

Poonch House: A Time Capsule of Kashmir’s Past

The Poonch house building at Saddar Bazar Rawalpindi is a majestic specimen of colonial architecture, still surviving in its grandeur. The arched verandas have seen the highs of Kashmiri Rulers, Colonial British Generals enjoying its opulent luxury, and the lows of Pakistani politicians being brought in chains in Military trials.

poonch house
Poonch House from distance

This building was constructed by the Kashmiri Raja Moti Singh in 1897 as a rest house. The Butcher of Kashmir, Hindu Dogra Maharaja Gulab Singh, took over this estate with the British Government’s permission in 1914. After 1947, it became the office of the Azad Kashmir Government. Pakistan’s Government took over the building in 1961 and is currently under the administration of the Ministry of Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan Affairs. The dilapidated condition of this building and the brazen encroachment by the owner of the adjacent ten-story tower point toward how the Kashmir affairs are running in the country.

Main entrance of Poonch House

In its heydays, the building was used by Royalty from Britain to local Indians. The unique feature of the building is its several feet thick walls and bricks melded together with lime, black gram, and clay.

Thick walls

There was a time when the whole building was painted pearl white, typical of Colonial Buildings of status.

I walked into the chamber of the building that was somewhat renovated, which was once the chambers of the maharaja and caught a glimpse of royalty.

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Inside the Poonch House

There were newly married couples getting their photographs made in the corridors of this vintage building.

poonch house
View from the roof

The backyard and chamber are filled with crevasses where local bad guys conduct shady deals.

Poonch House
Another view of Poonch House

There is another Poonch House in Lahore that is a lot grander this one. Freedom Fighter Bhagat Singh, who was hanged for his struggle against Colonials, was tried in that building.

So, Poonch house is a representation of a colonial past that the powers to be in Pakistan are desperately clinging on to.

Roof of the Verandah

What a sad decline to a once mighty power center – much like Pakistan.

After climbing down from the roof, we went to the tea stall across the road and had hot tea with cheese paratha.

Also see,

Bhag Singh Gurdwara Kurri Shehr Rawalpindi

Soojan Singh Haveli Rawalpindi

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