Presently we YB-SHABIY brothern as a team where the alphabets represent the names of members visited the valley of Gurez. It is a far flung adventurous valley about 86 kilometres from its district headquarter of Bandipora at an altitude of about 11,600 feet above the sea level, located in the northern side of valley kashmir and southern side of Gilgat baltistan in the Himalayas. The picturesque of Gurez very beautiful, attractive, adventurous and with blossmy viewpoints, valleys and glaciers. The sharp high mountain peaks at every moment seem gazing at the visitors with a loving smile and welcoming breeze. The valley of Gurez remains closed for traffic movements for about six months due to the heavy snow fall and difficult road connectivity especially at the highest *RAZDAN TOP* which often remains covered with slippery frozen snow in winter. RAZDAN TOP is actually the highest passage in Harmukh mountains connecting Gurez with The Wular valley of Bandipore. There was none our idea of visiting Gurez. We decided Sonamarg for two nights, with an extra ordinary preparation with three crayons tents, eatables and semi suitable wearings as per the condition of weather. All of sudden one of our colleagues messaged to revisit the programme for favour if weather was cold or rainy in Sonamarg. Gurezi friend Bilal wahab offered Gurez to be our choice destination. Majority of members accepted and the programme was finalised under his leadership as being native of that place even if migrated. They started from Ladhu, wahab sahab lifted me from my place Barsoo early in the morning at about 6:30 am and we left for the enthusiastic trip along 4 Lane by-pass Nowgam then Shalteng to Bandipore. The world famous purest water body *Wular Lake* viewed from the hight of the road from Vantage park saderkoot made the beginning of our trip a soothing one as most of our colleagues had not enjoyed the wular before. On reaching Bandipore where our team leader was waiting to receive us. He insisted for tea and his all family welcome us. We changed our lift where Adham Hussain a 9th class guy accompanied us with a high range of mobile phone for taking clear pics during the trip. We left with blessings of Bilal’s family to take the Gurez road. The ascending journey on most curved *Tragbal* road added our curiosity to enjoy wular and the adjacent beautiful landscape. It was just turning the leaves of a book as the scenery was playing a hide and seek while moving fast on somewhat clear & curved road. The whole area looked just like a cup of tea from the height. The dense pine trees, along the altitude of road, the deep ridges & furrows, little valleys and the flowing of waters through a tunnel from Kishenganga was amazing. We contacted on phone while travelling in two vehicles to stay at Tragbal for a break. On reaching the spot we refreshed with cold drinks and tea taken along with kashmir’s favourite maroon passion spicy munjahs brought by Yaqoob from the shrine of “Wahab Khar Sahab” at khrew Shar remembering ” ha sheer sawaro koor gachak aakhir xchi marun choei” (you with pride riding on a lion where to go further, eventually you have to die). Every camers of cellphone was busy with taking pics in every favourite pose in the mid of the dense forst. The zigzag movement while travelling was somewhat exhaustive due to bad roads but the eye catching beauty neutralised this discomfort. Reaching “PIRBABA” peak situated in a calm plain environment where Army Camp is located. One of the best places for taking memorable photographs and having rest for a while. We had our light lunch and enjoyed the place on visiting the pirbaba shrine bounted with the signs of mosque, mandir, church and gurbani reflecting cultural and religious harmony. Some sweets as prasad were also served there. Leading to the “RAZDAN TOP” flocks with thousands of sheep of modern breeds in the far of meadows and slopes were grazing along the way.
After making entries at *Razdan Top* army check Point we proceeded for taking pics for a while where the border mountains provide a breath taking view, the high mountains meet the sky ornamented with white silvery cotton like clouds and heavenly blowing mind setting breeze. This natural free environ made one of our colleagues so exited to dance with a melodious tune of Hilal Gurazi,””Dupte neumai Dal ki wavanae.” …….Dupte gomaie aabas daryavus taran taran…..”” and some verses from Reshma, “lale kotie gomut, bazaar. Kehie anni, suite annie……”” while the others joined him exitedly leaving all shy & craze aside, joking and laughing which added a spell of humour to the journey. The descending journey now with roads in dilapidated condition making our cars to ding dong and at certain points drivers used reverse gear to get out of the deep ditches to move safely. The high clefts and the deep gorges along the road compel everyone to admire the beauty. The view of most important among Himalayas “Harmukh” with very high sharply pointed peak is clearly seen with a snowy cap, made us feel a historical and adventurous trip so far. We borrowed a very sharp knife for making salads from the nomads tented there and had our lunch on the bank of fast flowing stream with a long iron bridge over it. On reaching zedkhushu the first village of Gurez. It was just like a crescent of eid seen as the anthusiatic adventurous destination. After making entries on reaching Kanzalvan we moved forward gazing eagerly on the hill tops to see the border posts of India and Pakistan army side by side and the fast flowing kishan ganga river along the roadside, singing melodious raag, classical and sometimes a folklore when waters striking with big and massive round stones. The gushy flowing waters from one of the outlets of Kishan Ganga dam really welcome visitors in the valley. The dam presently constructed diverts some of the waters from Kishan ganga stream to bandipore for power generation project through beautiful archived tunnels of 7 kilometers in the mountains where one wonders on seeing the latest engineering designs. The bluish dam with plenty of pure and very silent stagnant water in between the high mountains lasts for about 5 kilometers in length and about one kilometer in breadth upto Dawar while travelling through the roughly roads recently constructed by the NHPCC gives a clear view of the dam. The bluish stagnant waters of the dam present a fantastic view of the high mountains in deep water in reflex adding a glorious beauty to the scene which we can’t describe with scars words. It is a best tourist destination for fishing, boating, rafting other water games and adventure sports especially for shooting films. The dam was constructed by evacuation of various villages whose land and habitation got submerged by the dam’s water level. We reached Dawar the main town of Gurez, very beautifuly placed by nature in a lap of plain valley surrounded by sharp ciffed high snow clad mountains, glaciers and fast running streams. Bilal offered his Hut type house with almost 5 rooms, kitchen and bathroom for our stay where every thing was available except mirch masala and edible oil. Had our tea with ghee immersed parathas made locally available by Bilal’s known neighbours. Self cooked our rice and warmed our semi cooked meat & chicken varieties taken along till late night, served with fervour and taste and had a lot of fun by nicknaming the members as per the jobs they performed.
Part 2 To Be Continued…………….Tomorrow
( The author is a freelancer. Views are his own)