Well, I suppose the time has come when we should start looking into the family of 3-ring postal markings in a more systematic way. For now we shall just display what types we can if they are sufficiently presentable. The set thus far of the six or seven dozen alleged:
ANANT NAG, BANDPURA, BASOHLI, BATOUT, BHIMBAR, GULMARGH, GUREZ, KATHUA, KOTLI, KROHIN, JAMMU, NOWSHERA, RAJOURI, SOPUR.
SRINAGAR, SIRINAGAR REG, SIRINAGAR PAR.
BHADARWAH as 2-ring.
The 3-ring circular date stamps, which first appeared in late 1890, start showing up in earnest in the spring of 1891. There is a marked, presumably diplomatic, absence of British stamps in this so-called “Unified Period” as the process to eliminate the native Offices begins.
JAMMU. The example of the 3-ring shown above for regular mail is what Séfi and Mortimer called the “normal form,” their Type 77. It has no western dating in the central area. The dating here is 10 sāvan in a rather odd rendering, but it is consistent with the Western dating. Some post offices seemed disinclined to use the date insertions, or were disinclined to change them. English and Dogri datings are sometimes inconsistent and the inserted numerals sometimes appear backward or upside-down.
KROHIN. Here is our prize example so far, for it is a rare enough whether or not it represents an actual postal use. We have indulged by making it a little larger, not least because of the interesting Dogri rendering. The date seems to be 25 har ~ 7 July 1891. The stamps are ½a orange re-issues, appearing on our screen rather less orange than they really are.
KATHUA. The earlier type (shown at the left in the form of Séfi & Mortimer’s Type 81) appeared in this mutant dating format in which English dating occupies the central area normally reserved for the native dating. The other type (right) reverts to standard pracice.
BHIMBAR, RAJOURI, and NOWSHERA. Letter despatched (where?) on 10 baisākh 1950 ~ 21 April 1893, this cover passed through Bhimber on 24 April. After an interlude of a full week, the ½a State stamp was cancelled at Rajouri on May 1, and the cover was struck again the next day, May 2 ~ baisākh 21, at Nowshera, the stated destination. This is a seeming backtrack of half the 55-mile distance between Bhimber and Rajouri. Jawab notation in purple (upper-right) refers to dates in the middle of the mystery period, i.e., a baisākh 13 and 14 5. A curious and tardy detour.
SRINAGAR. Dated in the center māgh 31 47 ~ 10 February 1891. What looks like an ‘89’ at the bottom of the central ring is the native ‘47’. One notes the unusually oily character of the ink in this example.
SIRINIGAR [sic] REG[istration] and PAR[cel] types. The former strike has a ‘48’ in native character at the bottom of the central ring, where samvat 1948 is here 1891. Some of the 3-rings came in for more than their share of mere philatelic play. The parcel type is shown here on a postcard.
Another Srinagar postmark was for the CHECK OFFICE, the precise purpose of which was not certain to Séfi and Mortimer, who report that such cancellations are found on parcel paperwork. A.S. Bard in India Post 09 86 (1975) reports the Check Office as having been a temporary local post office in Srinagar. The latest date we have so far seen is 18 April 1892. Those authors speak also of a scarce type of 1892 CAMP POST OFFICE that those authors suggested might be associated with an officials’ travelling post office. There are also a couple of DEAD LETTER OFFICE types, which we presume are also of Srinagar.
The 3-rings struck in purple ink by Messrs. Staal and Sharma in 1981 comprise the following types, where the numbers are the number done: 4 Banhal, 4 Bhimber, 4 Bhimber MO, 4 Camp PO, 3 Dansal, 3 Dead Letter, 9 Jammu, 5 Jammu', 5 Jammu Parcel, 5 Jasmergarh, 5 Jasrota, 4 Jasrota MO, 2 Kathua, 6 Khui Ruttah, 5 Nowan Shahr MO, 1 Parat, 4 Parol, 1 Rajouri, 2 Sanbha, 5 Seri, 8 Sukhchainpur, and 3 of an illegible type.
BHADARWAH, a Jagir PO. Séfi and Mortimer Type 84. Those authors claim a date-range from May 1892 to
July 1893, but the example shown here is 8 September 1891. Bhadarwah is
in the eastern part of Jammu Province bordering Chamba. An exceptionally
difficult runner line connects it to Jammu via Ramnagar. The stamps
are ½a orange reissues.