Poonch (पुंछ) is a town and District in Jammu and Kashmir. Punacha was one of Buddhist Kingdoms visited by Xuanzang in 633 AD. It has been identified with Punch town in Poonch District in the Jammu and Kashmir. 
Variants of name
- Punch (पुंछ)
- Punchha पूंछ दे. Parnotsa पर्णोत्स (AS, p.574)
- Parnotsa (पर्णोत्स) - Rajatarangini (Book IV, p.70) - Town is identified with present Punch.
- Punats ( by the Kashmiris)
- Punje (by Wilford's surveyor, Mirza Mogal Beg)
Poonch is located at 33.77°N 74.1°E. It has an average elevation of 981 metres. The Pir Panjal range of mountains separates Poonch Valley from the Kashmir Valley. For a long time the only road connection between the two valleys was from Jammu. But now with the completion of the Mughal Road connecting Bufliaz in Poonch to Shopian in Kashmir, there is a direct connection between the two.
Poonch District is is divided between India and Pakistan. The Pakistani part of Poonch Pakistan is part of its Azad Kashmir territory, whilst Poonch is part of Jammu and Kashmir state. The district headquarters of the Pakistan controlled side is Rawalakot; while the district headquarters of the Indian side is Poonch.
Haray - Jat clan. Harai are found in Chitral district in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  came from the ancient principality of Rajauri, near Punch, and are descended from three brothers, Sirang, Surung and Khangar Phututo. In appearance generally taller than the other inhabitants of Chitral, with rather high cheek-bones, oval faces not thickly bearded, and fairly developed features.
V. S. Agrawala writes that Ashtadhyayi of Panini mentions janapada Uśīnara (उशीनर) (IV.2.118) - Panini mentions Ushinara as part of Vahika. Panini mentions three divisions of Vahika Country, viz Kekaya, Uśīnara and Madra. Fourth division to be added to Vahika country is Śavasa. Of these Kekaya and Śavasa may be located between Jhelum and Chenab, the first in the south and second in north respectively; Madra and Ushinara between the Chenab and Ravi River in the north and south respectively.
The Divyadana refers to the Shvasas in Uttarapatha with headquarters at Takshasila to which Ashoka was deputed by his father Bindusara as Viceroy to quell their rebellion. The name of Savasa or Shvasa seems to be preserved in in the modern name Chhiba comprising of Punchh, Rajauri and Bhimbhara. In literature Ushinaras are often associated with the Śibis (greek - Siboi) whose chief town Śibipura has been identified with Shorkot in Jhang district.
Based on the Mahābhārata evidence, and the evidence from the 7th-century Chinese traveler Xuanzang, the districts of Poonch along with Rajauri and Abhisara were under the sway of the Republican Kambojas during epic times.
In the 7th Century AD, the famous Chinese traveller Huien Tsang passed through this area. According to his observation, this region was known as part of Kashmir also known as mini kashmir. Around 850 AD Poonch became a sovereign state ruled by Raja Nar, who was basically a horse trader. 
In 1596 A.D. Mughal King Jehangir nominated Siraj-ud-din of village Kahuta as Raja ofPoonch. In 1798 A.D. a Gujjar leader Rooh-ullah-Sangu became the ruler of this area. From 1819 A.D -1850 A.D Poonch remained a part of Khalsa Darbar, and it remained under the occupation of the Sikh Empire until 1850. 
Badan Singh Lakda (06.05.1980 - 27.09.2001) became martyr on 27.09.2001 during Operation Rakshak in Punchh sector of Jammu and Kashmir. He was from Mitrol village in Hodal tahsil of Palwal district in Haryana. Unit: 7 Jat Regiment.
Major General Kalaan received his education at Jat High School, Hissar, Anglo Sanskrit High School, Ambala City, Government College, Rohtak and St Stephen College, Delhi. He joined the 319 Jat Regiment as a Y. Cadet and from there rose to the rank of Major General. He was awarded the Military Cross (MC) during World War II. He was also awarded Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) for his courage in the 1965 India-Pakistan War and retired from the Indian Army in 1966.
1965 Indo-Pakistan War .... During this war, Major General Swarup Singh Kalaan was in command of the 19 Infantry Division in the Uri-Baramula-Gulmarg Sector. The first report of Pakistani infiltration was received in his area. He planned and executed operations to hunt the infiltrators, capture their bases and block routes of infiltration. In order to capture the Hajipur Pass and the subsequent link-up towards Poonch, he himself led his troops against the well entrenched Pakistan Army posts. They managed to throw out the enemy from their well guarded positions. He succeeded in his mission by showing exemplary leadership, determination and courage in the best traditions of the Indian Army. He was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) on 5th August, 1965.  ---
Hemraj Jat (Nitharwal) (5.7.1996-1.9.2019) was from village Bhadoon of Roopangarh Tehsil in Ajmer district, Rajasthan. He became martyr on 1.9.2019 during the unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
Desh Raj Chahar (12.5.1962 - 25.1.1998), from village Sherda, Bhadra, Hanumangarh, Rajasthan, became martyr on 25.1.1998 in Poonchh Sector of Jammu and Kashmir fighting with the enemy. He was awarded Sena Medal posthumously for his act of bravery.
Hari Bhakar (born:1.10.1998 - died:24.3.2019) from village Joosri near Makarana in Nagaur district of Rajasthan became martyr on 24.3.2019. The 21-year-old martyr Grenadier Hari Bhakar was killed by Pakistani troops in a ceasefire violation at Kerni areas in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch along the LOC in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sajjan Singh Gahlawat (Major) (08.06.1966 - 23.10.1997), Shaurya Chakra, became martyr of militancy on 23.10.1997 in village Surankote in Poonchh district of Jammu and Kashmir. He was from Khedi Sadh village in Tehsil and District Rohtak of Haryana. Unit: 9 Madras Regiment.
Places of Interest
Set amidst majestic snow-capped mountains, dotted with lovely lakes and meandering streams, abounding in nature’s choicest gifts of fruit, flower, forests and age-old historical monuments, Poonch district offers the prospect of a vacation.A tourist would love and remember it for a long. Various tourist points of Poonch are :-
Noori Chammb - Noori Chammb associated with the name of Mughal Queen Noor Jahan is famous for its scenic beauty & water fall. It is situated near Behram Galla in Surankote Tehsil about 45 kms. from Poonch town. The fall of the stream gives rise to dense clouds of water vapours which engulfs the area & spread all over. The Emperor Jahangir had developed so much fancy & liking for this fall that he named it Noori Chammb after the name of his beloved queen Noor Jahan. Mughal queen used to stay here for relaxation. She had got fixed a mirror besides the fall on the mountain wall where she used to have her make- up after the bath.
Girgan Dhok and Lakes - It is a valley of seven lakes which is located about 70 kms. from Poonch town. Tourists during the course of their visit to Poonch should not miss the opportunity to see the lovely and beautiful seven lakes namely Sukhsar, Neelsar, Bhagsar, Katorasar, Kaldachnisar and Nandansar situated at the high altitude of 12000 ft. in the Buffliaz belt.
Nandansar is one of the biggest lake near Girgen dhok. The length of this lake is about one mile and its breadth is half a mile. These lovely lakes have their own charm which a visitor would long remember.
Mandi - It is a small village in a narrow valley enclosed by steep and grassy hills of no great elevation, situated near the confluence of two streams namely Gagri and Pulsta. Mandir Swami Budha Amar Nath Ji is situated in this village. Mandi is about 20 kms. from Poonch town. Due to cool climate and proximity to the poonch town, Mandi has become a favourable place for tourists to visit, in summer.
Loran - Loran is a small village 35 kms away from Poonch town and is situated at the foot of high mountains of Pir Panjal range and is another attraction for the tourists. Loran Nallah which flows through this beautiful village makes the place more enchanting to the eyes. Loran was once the capital of Poonch state under Hindu rulers upto 1542 A.D. It was then known as Loran-Kote. There are ruins of the Lohar Kote fort which was once called the Gateway of Kashmir.
Nandishool - Nandishool is a beautiful water fall about 12 km. from Loran and 6 Km. from Sultan Pathri. Water comes from Pir Panchal and fall on a glacier. It is about 150 feet high fall. One tourist hut is constructed by Rural Development Department near Nandishool.
Surankote - Surankote is a small village situated on the banks of Suran River and has very charming valley surrounded by lofty peaks which are covered with snow during winter and is popularly called Pahalgam of Poonch. In Rajatarangini, this town was described as Sawernik in the past. Nearly in 1036 A.D. there was a big fort called Kote which ultimately changed to its present name of Surankote.
Behramgala - It is situated at the foot hill of 8,600 feet high Rattan Peak on the historic Mughal Road in Poonch. Behramgala is a small plateau surrounded by mountains and forests. It is near the confluence of Parnai & Thata Pani streams which further adds to its otherwise scenic and natural beauty. It is about 40 kms. from Poonch town.
Dehra-Gali - Dehra-Gali 45 kms from Poonch town is another attraction for the tourists owing to its salubrious climate, thick forests, cool breeze and enchanting view of surrounding hills, situated at a height of about 6300 feet.
विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर ने लेख किया है ...Parnotsa (पर्णोत्स) (AS, p.534): चीनी यात्री युवानच्वांग के यात्रावृत में इस राज्य को कश्मीर के अधीन कहा गया है. पर्णोत्स का अभिज्ञान पूंछ (काश्मीर) से किया गया है. संभवत: पूंछ पर्णोत्स का ही अपभ्रंश है. (देखें स्मिथ: अर्ली हिस्ट्री ऑफ इंडिया,पृ.368)
Visit by Xuanzang in 633 AD
[p.128]: The district of Puan-nu-tso, or Punacha, is placed by Hwen Thsang at 700 li, or 117 miles, to the south-west of Kashmir.1 It is called Punats by the Kashmiris, who have adopted a soft pronunciation of the ch, as in Pir Pantsal for Panchal of the Panjabis. Moorcroftf spells the name Prunch, or Pruntz, according to the Kashmiris. General Court also has Prunch ; but it is called Punje by Wilford's surveyor, Mirza Mogal Beg, and Punch by Vigne, both of whom actually visited the place. Its distance from Kashmir, as measured on the map via Barahmula and Uri is 75 miles, which is equal to about 100 miles of actual road distance.2
Hwen Thsang describes Punach as 2000 li, or 333 miles, in circuit, which is just about twice its actual size. On the west it is bounded by the Jhelam, on the north by the Pir Panchal range, and on the east and south-east by the small state of Rajaori. But these limits, which include the potty state of Kotali, are not more than 170 miles in circuit ; and even if the tract at the source of the Punach river be included, the frontier
1 Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 187.
2 ' Travels,' ii. 298.
3 See Maps Nos. V. and VI.
[p.129]: will not be more than 200 miles in circuit. But as the distances in the mountain districts were most probably estimated by the lengths of the roads, the circuit of the frontier line may be taken as equivalent to about 300 miles in road distance.
In the seventh century Punach was without a king, and subject to Kashmir ; but in later times it had a chief of its own, whose descendants. Shir Jang Khan and Shams Khan, were put to death by Gulab Singh, of Jammu, and this petty sovereignty once more forms part of the kingdom of Kashmir.
Rajatarangini tells ...Uchchala was reduced to much difficulty on the day of full moon in the month of chaitra, but on the fifth day of the dark moon he fearlessly set out for battle. He allowed Vattadeva and others to take their own course that they might create confusion in the kingdom. He intended to enter Kashmira by the way which led through Kramarajya. Kapila, grandson of Kshema, whom the king had placed at Lohara after Udayasiha, fled as Uchchala entered the place. Uchchala moved before his army with sword and shield, and arrived at Parnotsa, and there compelled the royal army to fly. He captured Sujjaka, Lord of Dvara, who was reposing at ease and apprehended no danger, and soon entered Kashmira. Some of the Damaras and the people of Khasha, who inhabited the mountains and who were enemies of the king, now joined Uchchala.[VII (i),p.268]
Rajatarangini tells us ....The king Bhikshachara by taking away from Sujji his possessions plainly showed that he no longer felt for Sujji as he used to feel before. Sujji's followers became few and he himself apprehended evil. This proud man, thus insulted, went out of the capital with the bones of king Sussala in order to proceed to the river Ganges. Out of love for the king, Sujji asked his permission for undertaking this journey : and when he set out, neither the king nor his officers prevented his going. With a view to parade his pride, the Pratihara, when sending Sujji to exile, sent his own son to protect Sujji's wealth. It grieved Lakshmaka to find that the Pratihara thought that it rested with him to punish or to favor, so that the Pratihara sent his son as a protector. Lakshmaka returned from Dvara and went to Parnotsa without rising against the king ; and then drove Bhagika from the hills of Lohara. The Pratihara sent Prema, son of the (king's) nurse, to the king, and the king bestowed the possession of Kotta on him. Lakshmaka left Lohara and thereby removed the fear of the king, and spent the fierce summer season at Rajapuri. The king who had under him the Damaras, and could raise or put down the ministers like balls, appointed Lakshmaka at Dvara, in order to set up a rival to Sujji and also for the safety and dignity of his dynasty. Thus the king enviously believed that the valorous Sujji, born in this country and fed from his treasury, would deprive him of his glory. By this appointment at Dvara, Lakshmaka was made uneasy and became an object of ridicule. [VIII (i),p.140-141]
- Alexander Cunningham: The Ancient Geography of India/Singhapura, pp. 128-129
- Shankhnaad Website
- An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan By H. W. Bellew, 1891, p.82
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.53
- MBH 7.4.5; 7/91/39-40.
- Watters, Yuan Chawang, Vol I, p 284.
- See: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 133, 219/220, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee.
- A History of India, p 269-71, N. R. Ray, N. K. Sinha
- Journal of Indian History, P 304, University of Allahabad. Department of Modern Indian History, University of Kerala - 1921; Military History of India, 1980, p 38, Hemendra Chandra Kar - History.
- Bimbisāra to Aśoka: with an appendix on the later Saud, 1977, p 16, Sudhakar Chattopadhyaya - India - 1977.
- Purana Index , 1992, p 79, A. B. L. Awasthi.
- Ram Sarup Joon:History of the Jats/Chapter XIII,p.242
- Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.534
- Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.349
- The Ancient Geography of India/Singhapura, pp. 128-129
- Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/Book VII (i),p.268
- Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII (i) ,p.140-141