Sharif / Chrar-e-Sharief
Situated on the road to Yusmarg, this is the site of the shrine or
Ziarat of Sheik Noor-ud-Din, the patron saint of Kashmir. The
valley also has the Ziarats of a number of his followers.
Standing in the Pir Panjal hills, out
beyond the airport, at an altitude of 2,700 metres, the meadow of
Yusmarg is reputed to have the best spring flowers in Kashmir. The
beautiful valley is at the foot of the Sangisafaid valley on the
northern slopes of the Pir Panjal range. Near to Yusmarg is the
picturesque Nila Nag Lake where there is a forest rest house.
Yusmarg has tourist huts and is a good base for treks into the
surrounding hills. To reach the Nila Nag one can walk 19-km from
Magam, across roads on the way to Gulmarg. The path then follows
down from Nila Nag to Yusmarg and from there the road runs to Yus,
where a track leads off towards Sangam and Sunset Peak, up the
valley of the Khanchi Kol. Sunset peak is the highest mountain in
the Pir Panjal range at 4,746 metres. Other popular treks over
here include those to Sangisafaid and Dodha Patri.
Lying in the crook of a bend of the Pir Panjal range, at the foot
of several passes which lead out on to the plains, this fairly
large town is an important centre of trade, the centre of the wool
industry of the valley, and is famous for its apples. It lies on
the Rembiara River and has several rest houses and a couple of
guesthouses. It is also the base for treks to Konsarnag, to
Yusmarg and to the Aharbal falls. The first stage on the trek to
Konasarnag is the drive to Kongwatan.
This was another popular resting place for the Mughal emperors
when they made the long trip north from Delhi to Kashmir. It's in
an area famed for its apples and also has an interesting
waterfall. It's also the start of the popular trek to the
falls are about 13-km from Shupian, from where there is a
motorable road and a trekker's route leading through dense pine
forest. The falls are said to be the best in Kashmir. The road
leads over a high bridge at Kongwatan from where a magnificent
view of the awesome gorge created by the Vishav River can be seen
less than 2-km further on are the foot of the falls, where the
river drops more than 15 metres over a distance of 3-km. The road
continues on here a further 3-km to the top of the falls where
from a rock outcrop one can look down around 60 metres to the
river rushing below.
The road continues a further 6-km to the village of Sedau, where
the trek to Konsarnag begins. The first stage is a climb of about
four hours to Kongwatan, an upland meadow. From here it is a
further 10 to 15 hours walking to Konsarnag.
This is a charming meadow just a short distance from the river.
Among the pines near the river bank there is a small sulphur
spring and also a forest rest hut. The lace is inhabited by
nomadic Gujar shepherds, said to be descendants of the biblical
Abraham and Isaac, or Gujar Rajputs, who come each summer from the
plains with their flocks of cattle and buffalo to spend July and
August in the high meadows. They wear black clothes adorned only
with a small cap, embroidered and set with 'Kari' shells. The caps
of the women project over the neck to protect from sunburn. The
women are very agile and seem to do all the work as well as taking
care of the children.
North of Srinagar the Sindh valley is an area of mountains, lakes,
rivers and glaciers. The Sindh River flows down from the Amarnath
and Haramukh glaciers into the Anchar Lake. The Leh road from
Srinagar follows this river to beyond Sonamarg. The Zoji La pass
marks the boundary from the Sindh valley into Ladakh.
Dachigam National Park
This wildlife reserve was, at one time, the royal game reserve but
animals within its boundaries are now completely protected. There
are said to be Panther, Bear and Deer, besides other smaller
animals, in the reserve. There is a good chance of seeing the
endangered Hangul, Langur Monkeys and perhaps other species. It's
very quiet and uncrowded.
Although this large lake is no great distance from Srinagar and
easily reached by bus, it is rarely visited. A daily bus leaves
Srinagar for the lake early in the morning and returns late in the
afternoon. In winter it is home for a wide variety of water birds
including Mallard, Pochard, Gadwall Snipe and Teal.
beyond the Wular and Manasbal lakes turn off from the Leh road,
this pleasant little town marks the point where the icy Sindh
River leaves the mountains and enters the plains. Gandarbal is the
official headquarters of the Sindh valley and was originally
called "Doderhom". It has a bazaar, a post office and
About 5-km from Gandarbal, in the village of Tullamulla, is the
shrine of Khirbhawani, the Goddess Ragni, the Hindu guardian
Goddess of Kashmir. The marble temple, built by Maharaja Pratap
Singh, stands in a small spring. It is an irregular, seven sided
structure and is said to be surrounded by 360 springs, most of
which have run dry or been silted up.
The village is a floating garden surrounded by swamps. Its many
islands are covered with willows, poplars and wildflowers, while
the island on which the spring stands is covered with Chinar,
Mulberry and Elm trees. The nearby village named after Khirbhawani
has almond groves where the best quality almonds in Kashmir are
said to grow. Gandarbal can be reached from Srinagar by road or
one can go there by boat along the Mar Canal, or take a six hour
round trip via the Jhelum River and Anchar Lake. There are many
excellent camping places along these routes.
Lake (lso spelt as Wular) is the largest fresh-water lake in India
is 60-km from Srinagar. Spreading over a 125-km area, the lake, by
drawing off excess water from the Jhelum, acts as a natural flood
reservoir. Interesting ruins in the centre of the lake are the
remains of an island created by King Zain-ul-Abidin. With its
turbulent waters perpetually wind ruffled, its exciting variety of
avian life and the sheer beauty of its setting, Wullar represents
nature at her most untamed