The Bhadarwah valley which in other words around is as well nomenclatures as ‘Chotta Kashmir’ due more to its serene, scenic and splendour beauty, due more to its lush green vibrant and salubrious forests and due to more and more to its enchanting landscape, sacred springs, shrines and other Dargahs, the top snowcapped uplands and sweet freshening tones of local populace which appeal and hunts pilgrims and tourists over the years in huge numbers and this shall go on enhancing with passage of time. The ‘Chotta Kashmir’ as we most oftenly call to this enchanting Bhadarwah Township is administratively spreaded over three Tehsils viz Bhadarwah, Gandoh, Bhalessa and Thathri with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate office located at Bhadarwah. All these three Tehsils are further divided into Panchayats and as far as Bhadarwah tehsil is concerned, it is having as many as twenty six panchayats as per latest census reports and having around 12,625 population including males and females of all religious communities.Bhadarwah or Chotta Kashmir either way we may name, is a hub of tourism, no less than the Kashmir or of that of Switzerland. The valley, of course, is prominently a healthy tourist resort, a hunt for thousands of tourists and pilgrims who throng in here at Bhadarwah- a valley of lush green paddy fields and flowers.Now with the development of tourism to this popular spot, the area is scaling heights in tourism and pilgrims potential is momentously excelling with every turn of the day. Situated some 80 Km from Batote, this township is a treasure trove of natural heritage, the ever-enchanting place of bliss and perpetuity, the abode of Bhagwan Shiva (Kailash Kund), the Vasuka Nag Devta, the Gupt Ganga, Mata Chandi, the sacred shrines and other Dargahs where people of all hues irrespective of caste, colour or creed or that of religion live with love and cohesive harmony. The climate of this place is refreshing and soothing which soars from 16 to 30 deg C. during peak summer spells. In winter, the mountainous tops and uplands are snow-capped and at occasions, there is heavy snow fall in Bhadarwah town itself.The Kailash Yatra, which takes place during August every year where pilgrims of all hues trek around 13 Km uphill from Bhadarwah town itself. A big lake (Kund) locally spoken as Kailash Kund which is the abode of Vask Nag Devta whose temple is situated within the town of Bhadarwah. The pilgrims from far flung areas of Punjab, HP etc throng here in huge number on ‘Triyodshi’ after a fort night of Raksha Bandan.The word magnify ‘Gupt and Ganga,’ Gupt means secret or unknown and ‘Ganga’ means Ganga and this sacred shrine is dating back to the prehostric period of ‘Mahabharata’, some five centuries or so back and it is known that Pandavas have visited this place during their sojourn to the Northern Part of India. A big cave exists there and as the legend goes that this cave opens in the other part of Pirpanchal in Kashmir valley. The legend further saya that a team of Sadhus entered this cave but could never ever return.Also locally spoken as ‘Suraj Baoli’ is an old Tirthsthan, situated towards south-east, some 8-9 Km from Bhadarwah town itself. Though its prominence is missing, yet its genesis is from Sanskrit Version as SuvarnaVapi’ meaning Sun’s pond. This lies in the lap of mountainous region of snowy cover of the valley. As per local legend, water gushes out from this spring once in year and on this auspicious occasion, peoples and devotees from far-flung area come and assemble over here with utmost Sharda and get a holy dip to wash off their sins. Peoples and devotees come in the form of holy mace (chhari) pay due devotion and reverence, halt-for the night of ‘Amavasya’ at the sacred Shrine of Bhija village where there is a huge congregation of devotees in the form of mela or festival in their colourful adorn with traditional flutes, beating of drums and is being celebrated with melodious music and which echoes the softening skies.Suez Dhar: Situated at an elevation of 10,000 ft from Mean sea level (MSL), atop three districts viz Doda, udhampur and Kathua, is ‘Suez Dhar’ occupying its rarest of rare importance and placement. From Chenani to Jakhed to Seri’ base camp is around 90 Km motorable and while on trekking upwards, you reach Suej Dhar and thence climbing down, one reaches enchanting Bhadarwah valley.As per local belief, though of course, the writer has experienced while being a forest officer over the area in mid eighties while being accompanied by a trekking team, we could comfortably catch heights with the association of trekking team upwards from base camp of ‘Seri’ to ‘Suez Dhar and climbed down to Bhadarwah so long the daylight lasted. But, if by chance if you are left in the midway and night befalls, you too fall asleep.This is so because of vast potentiality and porphyritic effects of the micro to macro herbal, medicinal and aromatical plants which sensitise you to dosing your journey and you go in for a perennial sleep till the first ray of sun appears on the horizon and you get awakened refreshingly. These are the wonders of nature in this age of advance information and technology which of course only a few luckiest can ever enjoy and dream of.Conclusively, therefore, I go to reflect Tiru Kural’s words which go as such, ‘The mother earth supports even those that dig into her entrails; so have been these that traduce you’.G.L. Khajuria
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