The Ramkot Fort is an ancient attraction for adventure lovers, ancient architecture observers and picnic enthusiasts. On the junction of Jhelum River and Mangla Dam, this unique island like historical place is an all-season destination in lower Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Built in 16th and 17th centuries, the Ramkot fort is still in a complete shape overall but these remains require urgent attentions for saving this heritage. High and strong walls, two water ponds, several residential rooms and other sections of the fort take about an hour to explore and observe the architectural features.
There are several possible routes to access the Ramkot Fort. The most popular route is from Mangla Dam Army Boat Station from where a boat takes about 25 minutes to the foothills of the fort. Other two options are less knows and difficult due to road conditions, complicated village names and distance. But for many explorers these challenges mean nothing but another adventure drive.
The first of the two options is reaching Dadyal via Kallar Syedan from Rawat on GT Road and then take right turn from Dadyal to Siakh village. This 85KM road conditions are fairly good till the Dhan Gali where Jhelum River divides Punjab from AJK. There are several exciting river view points on the road but the driving is difficult and tiring from Dhan Gali till the Bathar Village. There are several bazars throughout the way including the main bazar of Dadyal city for any necessities during travel. It may require frequent help from the locals to keep on track on the Dadyal-Siakh Road. It can take upto 3 hours from Rawat to Bathar or Bhali village depending on the road conditions and driving efficiency. From Bathar or Bhali villages a boat can be hired for Ramkot Fort which takes 15 to 25 minutes to reach the fort.
The third and almost unknown route is from Gujar Khan via Qazian and Jabber villages. This 40KM route may take about 90 minutes from Gujar Khan to reach the bank of Jhelum River from where a boat can be hired. This river bank is almost opposite to the Bathar and Bhali villages which are mentioned in the first option.
From any route, this is an exciting boat ride while enjoying the river breeze and surrounding hill views. The Ramkot fort is situated on a hill top and encircled by Jhelum River from three sides. It is a pleasant day out with excellent views of Jhelum River, Mangla Dam Lake and the surrounding hills. Camping and fishing may also be encouraging ideas for spending a night as there are few possible camping sites outside the fort. It is a must to carry enough drinking water as there is no availability of food and water in and around the fort. A fee of Rs. 200 per person is also introduced by a private contractor for taking care of the fort and surroundings.