The Pothwar Plateau is located in between river Jhelum and Indus. The Northern part of this Plateau includes the districts of Jhelum, Chakwal, Rawalpindi and Attock.
Potohar plateau is located in the north of Punjab and west of Azad Kashmir i.e. north-eastern parts of Pakistan. It has a distinct language and culture. Attock District, Jhelum District, Chakwal District and Rawalpindi District constitute the Potohar Plateau. Cities such as Gujar Khan, Rawat, Attock, Mandra etc. also lie in this region. River Jhelum and River Indus pass through this plateau. A number of mountain ranges which include the Salt Range and Kala Chitta Range also lie in it. Agriculture is dependent on natural rainfall mainly. Other than this, several oil and gas exploration sites lie in the Potohar Plateau indicating that along with fertile soil, this area is rich in natural resources.
The history of the culture of this region dates back to ancient civilizations. Evidence has been found that the Indus Valley Civilization also occupied this area. Certain stones and remains of old civilizations are found which are a part of heritage of this area. These have been preserved in the Taxila Museum. Taxila is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It constituted a major part of the Gandhara Civilization. It was the centre of learning for Hindu and Buddhist communities. It came under the control of Persians and Alexander the Great. Other than this, the influence of Ghakhars, Sher Shah Suri and Mughls ruled this area later on. Important historical places in this region include the Rotas Fort, Rawat Fort, Mankiala Stupa, Pharwala Fort, Katasraj Temple etc.
The language spoken predominantly in the Potohar region is Potohari. Potohari is a powerful language native to this region. It is also spoken in Azad Kashmir as well. It is similar to Punjabi and the dialect is close to Majhi and Hindko. The common dialects include Dhundi-Kairali, Chibhali, Mirpuri, Jhelumi, Pindiwali and Punchhi (Poonchi).The language is common with rural and urban areas alike. However, Urdu and English are also spoken in the urban areas of the Potohar Plateau.
The dominant religion practiced in this region is Islam. Other than Hindu and Sikh minorities are also found here.
The dresses more common to the rural areas of the Potohar Plateau include kameez and dhoti. Women wear dopattas on their head while men wear turbans. In urban areas shalwar kameez, the national dress of Pakistan is worn by the people.
The people of Potohar are fond of desi food. Home cooked food with natural ghee and butter is preferred. Other than this, parathas, milk and spicy food is also preferred by people living in this area.
The people living in Potohar Plateau are mostly natives while a small number of migrants also reside here. The major casts living here include Rajas, Maliks, Chaudhrys, Jutts, Gujjars and Rajputs. Potoharis are very hardworking and friendly people. They are very warm and welcoming to guests. As is native to this region, the people are emotional as well. There is a great feeling of comradeship among all Potoharis as they give special regard to people belonging to their region. The people of this region own their traditions.
The people of Potohar celebrate occasions with great zeal. Special melas are set in the rural areas when the crops are harvested. People participate in them with great vigour. The weddings are also celebrated in a traditional way with girls singing ‘tappas’ on dholak.