Bhaderwah is a town in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir state. Bhaderwah valley is predominantly a mountainous town situated 80 km from Batote.
Bhadarwah is located on the foothills of middle Himalayas. The town is endowed with breath-taking natural beauty which is why it is popularly called "mini Kashmir". Apart from having picture perfect scenic beauty due to beautiful forests, there are many small streams flowing through various parts of the town. The Halyan river flows through the main market of the town.
Bhaderwah also known as “Nagon ki bhoomi” means ‘land of Snakes'. The history is very little known to general masses. The Bhaderwah Town ( Nagar Bhaderwah ) was known as Hettary Nagar and prior to that, there were two other towns namely Donga nagar and Udho Nagar. Both the Nagar was situated around villages Mondha which is about 3 km. In the East of present Bhaderwah town.
History tells us that sometime back both the Nagars were flooded due to torrential floods from Himalayan Ranges, and the presence of the big boulders in abundance available in the present era reveal the story of disaster occurred then. Later on, the people of Bhaderwah selected a place for their rehabilitation in Seeri (from word ‘SEER' meaning a vast piece of land), now known as Seeri Bazar, a vast field belonging to a Zamindar (Farmer) and reconstructed their dwellings around it.
The revolutionaries followed him with great Zeal, and killed him in the cave itself. After two months from this incident, the Govt. of Chamba once again raided Bhaderwah. The forces under the command of Shagtu Kotwal fought with the forces of Chamba Raja at Padri Dhar for at least three days wherein the general Nathu Ram of Chamba was badly defeated.
A few days after repulsing the Chamba Force, he managed to present himself before Maharaja Gulab Singh at Jammu for accession of Bhaderwah with the J&K State. The Maharaja Gulab Singh gladly accepted the proposal and the brave General Shagtu Kotwal was awarded with a Jagir (Poperty) in Kailar named Droundi. It occurred during the year of 1902 Bikrami i.e. in about 1854, when the revenue of Rabi Crop was collected by the Chamba Rulers and that of Kharief Crop Revenue by the Jammu and Kashmir Rulers.
DHAKKU and GHURAI, which is religious in inspiration and characteristically devotional in nature. The dance DHAKKU is not a dance of individual participation or of a small group, but a large number of men participate in the dance. Despite of the fact that large numbers of people participate in the dance, a complete synchronization in the hands and feet is seen with elaborate, rythmatic movements and planned steps, backward and forward. Dance is performed in three stages depending upon completion of a particular ‘ TAAL '. First stage is smooth and consistent in movement, which is called ‘DHAKKU'. The second stage called ‘DHORU DHAKKU' where in the movement gets accelerated and in the final stage called ‘LAASTI', climax of the dance is reached and spectators gets into ecstasy. Instruments used; In the course of dance are Dhols, Flute, Bells and historical important instrument ‘NARSINGHS'.
The other major Dance is ‘GHURAI' in which only women participate. The name of the dance GHURAI is because of the fact that this particular dance is performed with the accompaniment of particular song ‘GHURAI' sung by the participants. Some view that the dance name is named after GORI MATA consort of SHIVA. Women observe a fast on GAURI TRITYA worship GORI MATA and seek blessing for their continued marital status. This is called KONCHOWTH Fast and the occasion is termed as KONCHOWTH. In the evening women assemble at a common place and GHURAI is performed. Widows are excluded from the fast and dance. No musical instrument is used in the course dance. They dance in a circle. At the end of each round they clap their hands gently, bend down and touch the ground and dance again.