According to the records of rights (Misli Haqaqit) maintained by the State Revenue Department, the district Doda, like other districts has derived its name from its district headquarters situated at Doda. The records reveal that one of the ancient Rajas of Kishtwar whose dominion extended beyond Doda persuaded one utensil maker namely deed a migrant from Multan (Pakistan) to settle permanently in his territory and set up a utensil factory there. Deeda is then said to have settled in a village which later on came to be known after him. With the advent of time, the name Deeda seems to have got distorted into Doda, by which name it continues to be known today. Very little information, if any is available about the early history of the District and its rulers. The few chronicles available relate to the regimes of the rulers of Kishtwar and even these do not contain any valuable information except in respect of the rise and fall of different ruling dynasties. The settlement reports and other references indicate that the area falling within the jurisdiction of the District was ruled by Ranas, Rajas, and petty independent chiefs, from time to time. It is reported that Jaral Ramas, Katoch Rajas Bhaus Manhases, Chibs, Thakkars, Wanis and Gakkars have had their rule
Doda was winter capital of erstwhile state of Kishtwar. Maharaja Gulab Singh had firstly of all conquered Doda in 1822 AD. He saved it from devastation by winning hearts. The English Traveller G.T. Vigne, who visited Doda in 1829, has written in his travelogue:-
“I travelled from Bhaderwah towards Doda along the nullah there is a deep and rocky nullah, where the Chenab joins it, which I crossed over one of the dangerous bridges I had seen in Himalayan range. The distance of perpendicular rocks is about sixty yards and the bridge is about fifty feet height over the nullah. These pillar less bridges are usually of two types. One like that of Doda. Its structure is like this: A strong rope is spread up to the banks of the river without a swing and tied strongly with the rocks. Like the seat of the cradle a wooden structure slips over the rope. Other ropes are tied to this structure by means of which the structure comes and goes backwards and forwards. The other type of bridges is crossed on foot. Small ropes are bound with small pieces of bark of the boughs and then a thick rope is made of these small ones. This is tied on both the banks of the river, which provides the traveller to place his foot on it. This rope is not thicker than six, seven or eight inches but it is intertwined in such a manner that the tips of the boughs stay outwards and prevent feet from slipping. On both the sides of this rope about four feet high there are hanging ropes, made of the same stuff, which a person crossing the river catches hold of. These ropes are tied with the big rope at a distance of one yard each. The local people do not need any guidance that they should catch hold of the rope strongly and that they must ensure their back foot is firmly fixed before taking the second step.’’
The Fort of Doda was of great interest to historians. Thakur Kahan Singh Balowria, the author of Tarikh e Rajgane Jammu va Kashmir, writes that there were seventy forts in Jammu province in addition to smaller ones in Poonch area. These forts were used to stock armaments, other defence equipment and food grains. The fort provided space for the office of Thanedar and other police personnel also. When Maharaja Gulab Singh came to power he got these forts newly built and repaired. Teh Doda Fort was built for the fear of possible attacks fromthe Rajas of Bhaderwah. Since the Doda town was the winter capital of Kishtwar state, this fort was of special importance. In view of the defence affairs this fort had been built at the left bank of the Chenab. The unbaked bricks of 3×2 size were used in its walls. The walls were four feet wide and forty to fifty feed high. The dome like towers were built on the right corners of the fort and the movement of the enemy could be watched through its holes. In addition to these towers there were windows at appropriate places in the walls also. There was a pit in the courtyard of the fort, called chah bacha. It is said that professional criminals were put in this pit during winter season. One hardly knows what dramas other than those of rebellion, support, loyalty, deceit and trickery were enacted within the walls of this fort. This historical fort of Doda was demolished on government instruction in 1952. The buildings of Govt. Boys Higher Secondary Schools Doda exist in its place today.