Introduction

Welcome to the scenic valley of Samahni (Azad Jammu & Kashmir). A valley which is guarded by high mountains on all sides, offers breathtaking and mesmerising natural scenes to its visitors, waterfalls come down mountain slopes as well as streams and nalas* of crystal clear waters. The mountains across the whole valley dressed in jungles of pine trees add an extra touch to the stunning view. The valley holds a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere with pollution free environment from one end to the other.

The entire valley of Samahni, is approximately 35 km long and 8 km wide, stretching from Chawlian to Behmla in the West. It is located 17km in the North of Bhimber City and 30km in the North-East of Mirpur.

The valley's inhabitants are simple, peace-loving and law abiding. Theft, burglary and violent crimes are very low which reflects the very nature of the general population in the Valley.
The majority of the households are in one way or another associated with agriculture, growing mainly wheat and maize crops. A large majority of the working population serve in different walks of life, including Armed Forces of Pakistan, some have also been attracted to foreign countries in search of a better future.

Samahni, the valley, has benefited from sub-division status since 1992, when Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan the then Prime Minister of Azad-Jammu and Kashmir announced this long-overdue decision, making it 3rd sub-division of district Bhimber.

The natural splendour of valley Samahni and surrounding mountains has been acknowledged by many European travellers, who always had a surprised encounter with the lush green jungles of Jandichontra summits while travelling on the Moghul road to visit Kashmir. We have given references of some of these encounters in the history page, but here we would like to present an account of French Physician Bernier Francois who travelled with emperor Aurangzaib almost 350 years ago in 1665. From Bhimber he followed his journey at night time; a day after the emperor had left for Kashmir. Upon reaching the Jandichontra hill tops he was astonished to find himself in the middle of the pine forest and was equally overwhelmed by the unexpected transformation in the climate. He has summed up his feelings in this very interesting paragraph of his book 'The travel in the Moghul Empire.'

“In respect then to the route from Bember (Bhimber) I was surprised to find myself, on the very first night transported on a sudden, from a torrid to a temperate zone, for we had no sooner scaled that frightful wall of the world, I mean the lofty ,steep ,black and bare mountain of Bember and begun the descent on the other side, than we respired a pure, mild and refreshing air. What surprised me still more was to find myself as it were transferred from India to Europe. I almost imagined myself in the mountains of Auvergne in a French forest of fir, green oak, elm and plane trees and could not avoid feeling strongly the contrast between this scene and the burning fields of Hundustan, which I had just quitted and where nothing of the kind is seen”.


A view of a beautiful pine forest in the Jandichontra area.

Population

According to 1998 census = 94,935 ...
  • Estimated population in 2007 = 1,17000 (Based upon district Bhimbers annual population growth rate of 2.6%)
  • Sub-division Samahni represents 31% of district Bhimbers population and 3.19% of Azad Kashmirs total population

Language

The majority of the inhabitants speak Pahari, with some punjabi influence. Urdu is still spoken and understood among the villagers, however, not so commonly as pahari.

Union Councils

There are currently five union councils in the sub-division, which are recognised by the following names: 1. Bandala 2. Samahni 3. Chowki 4. Poona 5. Dal Khamba