Lolab valley, also known as “Wadi-e- Lolab” or “Lolov”, is an oval- shaped side valley of beautiful Kashmir valley. Located about 114 kms north of Srinagar the summer capital of J&K. This picturesque valley provides breathtaking scenery, soothing to eyes, mind and takes everyone by surprise whoever visits here for first time. This beautiful valley in nearly circular in shape with Deodar filled forests and Margs bounding in all sides. The only way to ply into this valley is via Kupwara-Lolab road passing through beautiful mini gorge of Zangli. Lolab itself comprise three mini valley’s: Kalaroos, Warnov, Bruhni. All three valleys are unique in their own way. As this region is mostly hilly and most beautiful places are situated among the dense forests, but every destination is connected for visitors with well macadamized roads with 24×7 transport facility. Besides them this region provides beautiful, virgin trekking sites which are still hidden from the eyes, crying for everyone to explore it. Although this region and its beauty hasn’t yet been fully explored and little information is available about the potential tourist places of this region. Here I try to discuss synoptic overview of these potential tourist places which are yet to be explored by public especially nature lovers.
Eco-tourism: Lolab is rich in eco tourism. The places that attract Nature lovers are many in Lolab , among them most famous villages for eco tourism are , Warnow,Affan , Chandigam ,Diver ,Lalpora, Potshia, Doursa,Doban Khurhuma so on .There are so countless meadows thatprovide breathtaking scenery soothing views:vizAmari , Trumukh and Bumsi Nagmarg, Keemsar,Nichan , Lushkoot, ,which are very close to Lolab valley and people can reach there by foot or by horse. Nearly 2 hour trekking via either Warnow Affanor Diver leads to these heavenly designed places. They are rich in Natural beauty, lush green forest cover with different kinds of trees and plants, herbs , with sweet water of streams and ponds .Different kinds of wild animals and birds can be seen there. The animals like musk deer,black bear ,brown bear ,Hungal, leapord what not and if we talk about birds there are huge amount of birds in different colour and kinds .In this places , tourist can take entertainment through adventure, best option to trek there .Recently Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department take a step to demarcate these sites on tourism map of India and improve eco- tourism of this region. Forest Department, inaugurated two trek routes ( Afan Kitson from Warnow and Kairwan trek route from Diver ) for these sites. Through Afan Kitson one can also travel to Bandipora District easily by foot or by horse via beautiful meadows of Nagmarg, Nichani keemsar and Lushkoot top . Through Kairwan Diver one can travel to Bandiporaas well as to Sopore via Trumukh Bumsi meadows leading to Rampora Rajpura Sopore. Many more hidden meadows are there which are still unexplored. They are best for Trekking and Camping. Forest Department has also developed an Eco park in Kairwan Diver which is total different in its kind .From Nagmarg and Trumukh top one can see best panoramic view of Walur lake and can travel to holy shrine at Nichani meadows. These places are mostly visited by public from March to November but Trekkers can trek during winter season also .If somebody want to trek or visit there they can contact with Forester or forest guard of said area ,they may provide well trained guides.
Lolab Valley is rich in culture and famous for hospitality. This place is called Land of Love and Beauty because of Its brotherhood hospitality and beautiful landscape. It has mountains, forests , paddy fields ,water streams and natural waterfalls. Rich in dry fruits especially walnuts .In forests pine, fir many more amazing trees are available in rich quantity. Lolab is also rich in minerals, we found heredifferent kinds of stones ,some places have named because of stone availability like Kainnard in Warnow area . Visitor also can see traditional flour mills (Checki or Garat) ,which are going on from centuries. Kalaroos caves are also located here ,which are famous all over world . Every year a huge amount of domestic tourists come there and explore that caves . Many tourist guest houses and huts are constructed here viz, in Chandigam , Diver, Doursa, Lalporeand many Hotels are constructed by locals . Water dams in Lolab valley gives its charming beauty, which are constructed for fishing and irrigation purpose. The source of water for that dams is the water come from forest. Many playgrounds are also present here where youth play very different games .Old wooden structures are also located here and roof tops are covered with wood in old type architecture. In Lolab valley the green gold( forest) ,sweet water, meadows, hospitality, culture , fruits, walnuts whatnot are present here which gives fame to valley . Need of the hour is exploration and development of tourism. Do come and enjoy with fresh breezes, water , local food and hospitality . People are here so much cooperative and supportive and make best efforts in hospitality and give best service.
(The author is BA 6th semester student of GDC SogamLolab and also member of trekking group of said College)