Dateline Gurez : A Lost Heaven

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Dateline Gurez : A Lost Heaven
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Forests of the Gurez valley contain many varieties of medicinal plants and natural flowers. In the forest of the valley wild animals are found like Tiger, Lion. Bear, leopard, Deer and Hangul. Also, some attractive birds can be found in the valley like a peacock. 


Showkat Jan

Under the chilly sky touching peaks of Himalayas caped by snow lays a beautiful and charming valley known as Gurez. The valley remains cut off from the rest of the world for more than five months is about 81 kilometers away from the district headquarter of the northern district of Bandipora in Kashmir.

The Gurez also pronounced as Gorai in the local Shina language, having a mere population of over thousand has much to offer to the tourists. Gurez is known for rural customs and traditions as well as cultural events such as folk music and rustic dances.

Recreational activities range from trout fishing, camping to hiking on the mountains. Travelers can find the valley an inviting place to stroll.  It is ideal for a variety of sports such as rafting, skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering and other sports

With its green meadow, bubbling brooks and flowers in full bloom, the picturesque paradise of Gurez hosts a summer festival that is held on 5-7 August. The tradition of Gurez is still alive today with its traditional celebration and cultural heritage.

When one passes through the downhill of Razdan top in one of the small village of Kanzlawan one can clearly see the Line of Control which is across the hill. Dawar is the central township of the valley which is scattered in nearly about 15 villages.

The Dardistan village holds the importance in the history as it is below the Line of Control which divides India and Pakistan. While the Gurez has its own importance in ancient time, at one part of the time the route used to connect Kashmir with Gilgit.

The valley is blessed with the beautiful river where the main source is that of glaciers. The famous tributary of Kishan Ganga River on the eastern side of Talil flows westwards and joins Sindh. The Kishan Ganga River floats through this and re-enters Pakistan.

There is a valley situated across the Line of Control known as Neelum valley where Neelum River floats which in Gurez is known as Kishan Ganga River. The water of Kishan Ganga remains cold round the year, due to the presence of certain minerals from natural resources which when water gushes down add a sweet taste to it.

Not just the sky touching Himalayan Mountains, floating cold rivers, the Gurez valley is famously known for the presence of rainbow Trout fishes floating through the valley which then crosses the LOC to enter into POK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) as the Neelum river before merging with Jhelum in Muzaffarabad.

Besides all these beauties there is a matter of concern for the local population that is of migration. Aziz lone wearing a long pheran with moist eyes reflects his emotions towards the valley said, “The major cause of migration from valley to the rest parts of Kashmir is cross-border firing between two nuclear neighbouring countries India and Pakistan.

He added that we do not have enough land for cultivation so we are wholly and solely dependent upon the rest part 0f country.  As he alleges, that more than 47 percent of the total population migrated from the valley. 

Since 2009, a Hydro-Electric power project is being constructed by India with a capacity of 330 MW by diverting the water of Kishan Ganga and Neelum river through a 23 km long projected Tunnel. Nearly about cost of 3,642 crores are planned to be executed on the project.  The project will change the entire structure of the river.

 Nearly about 300 families from different villages affected in the power project dam are being relocated. 

Abdul Rasheed Lone migrated from Khopri village, as his property comes under dam site of the power project. He said, “Dam will submerge our ancestor’s home and existence. The Drad tribes will lose its civilization, speakers of Shina language because rare tribes will remain distant away from their culture. The history is a witness that Drad tribes are pure Aryans”.

Habba Khatoon Mountain is the central attraction of the valley. As the sun rises and descends from the mountain peaks, it made different shades and add colorful texture to mountains.

 It is known for its spring because the waterfalls from maximum height adorn beauty to it, this fall of water is also known as milk-fall because of water gushes from huge rocks gets white shade. Habba Khatoon peak is on the shape of Line pyramid, the peak was named after the renowned Kashmiri poet Habba Khatoon,  who used to sing under the belt of these mountains.

“The peak was having importance at one time as it used to connect vale with the other parts of central Asia. And also it was an ancient silk route for trade”, said Manzoor Ahmad.

Forests of the Gurez valley contain many varieties of medicinal plants and natural flowers. In the forest of the valley wild animals are found like Tiger, Lion. Bear, leopard, Deer and Hangul. Also, some attractive birds can be found in the valley like a peacock. 

“It is difficult to guard the forest due to harsh weather and tough geographical conditions. Every year forest department suffers huge damage due to snow avalanches “, said Mohammed Sultan who is guarding the forests from last many years.

 

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