Kishtwar, situated on a central plateau set amidst sylvan surroundings of wooded hills, is an upland valley in the north-east corner of Jammu region. The place is drained by the Chenab river system which, flowing in from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, enters the area through Paddar, home of the famous sapphire mines.
District Kishtwar in the past used to be an independent hill principality the present name, related with "Kishat Rishi" who stayed here, is the modified version of earlier name of Kishaswar. Located about 232 km from Jammu at a height of 5,360 feet, Kishtwar in its ancient form Kashthavata, is first referred to in the Rajatarangini during the reign of Raja Kalsa of Kashmir (1063–1089), when "Uttamaraja", the ruler of Kashthavata visited the court of Kashmiri king in company with several other hill chiefs to pay their respects to the Raja.The Mehta Family was gifted the lands of Kishtwar by the King of Kashmir. Their family temple "Hatta Wali Mata" and their Heritage can still be tracked back to Kishtwar. The founder of this family was the Commander-in-Chief of the Kashmir Army "Sip-E-Salar Sri Jiya Lal Mehta". Known for his Bravery and valour he fought the Mughals and Northern raiders who invaded the land.
Kishtwar endowed with dense forests of deodar, fir and pine is treasure of scenic beauty. There are high altitude mountains ranging between 20,000 feet to 21,000 feet like Num Kum, Burmah and Barnag. It offers tremendous scope for pilgrim tourism also as some important shrines are located in the area. These include Ziarat Zain-Shah-Sahib, Farid-ud-Din Sahib, Hazrat Asrar-ud-Din Sahib, Athara Bhuja Devi temple, Chandi Mata temple and Hatta Wali Matta.
Kishtwar merged with the State of Jammu and Kashmir in 1821, A.D. With the passage of time Kishtwar became a Tehsil of District Udhampur and remained its part till 1948, when it became part of newly created District Doda in the wake of first re-organization of the state during the post-independence period.
Air: The nearest airport is situated in Jammu (250-km).
Rail: The nearest railhead is situated in Jammu (248-km).
Road: The road is constructed upto Ikhala, but bus services are only operated up to Plamer, which is 20-km away, in the north of Kishtwar.
The handicraft items made by the local people of Kishtwar have a huge demand among those tourists who come to this quaint yet appealing place of Jammu & Kashmir.