Unseen Kashmir – Bangus and Lolab Valley - Wadi - E - Lolab

Wadi - E - Lolab
Wadi - E - Lolab 

Unseen Kashmir – Bangus and Lolab Valley - Wadi - E - Lolab

Today we start our real journey to the valleys of Kashmir, which have been kept away from the eyes of the tourist. The Lolab valley does not have any big city but is a collection of small villages. There aren't any stay options in these villages. The only stay option is JKTDC Tourist Bungalow at a small village Chandigam. Chandigam is slightly more than 100 kilometres from Sri Nagar.

As usual, we got up early and freshened up. Anupma had prepared some sandwiches and we had them with tea, as we knew we would not get anything to eat on the way. We called up Shikarawala, but he was not responding. Maybe he did not want to get out of a cosy bed so early in the morning. After multiple tries, when he did not pick up the phone, we waved a passing shikara and he agreed to drop us on the jetty for 50 Rs. When we came on the Boulevard Road, there was almost nil traffic. It was only the morning walkers and Joggers, who were jogging and walking along the lake shore. A farmer was offloading his produce of Turnips, Sarson ka saag, lotus stems, radish and other green vegetables at the jetty. There are a lot of land patches in the lake where the farmers cultivate a variety of crops. They take their crops either to the land market in Srinagar or to a floating market which is held on the lake in the early morning. In this market farmers bring their stuff on the Shikaras and the trading is done on the boats only. I have always wanted to witness this market, but have not been able to do so. We loaded the luggage in the car and set off for our destination by 6.00 a.m.

Due to the lack of the usual Srinagar traffic, we were soon out of the city and crossed a small town Patan and entered Sopore. Sopore had been the epicentre of militancy once upon a time. Passing through this small and beautiful town made me think, why the violence, human greed may it be for power or wealth. Anyways we will not get into this wrong topic and continue our journey to Chandigam. As soon as we entered Lolab valley, the vistas became more beautiful, the vast paddy fields extending to the horizon, mountains on the periphery and the road snaking through them seemed straight out of a postcard.




   A video of the drive to Lolab valley



Lolab Valley

                 Lolab valley was once visited by great poet Allama Iqbal and he said a couplet for the valley as translated below
Your springs and lakes with water pulsating and quivering like quicksilver,
the morning birds fluttering about the sky, agitated and in turmoil,
O Valley of Lolab!
When the pulpit and the niche cease to re‐create Resurrections,
faith then is dead or a mere dream, for thee, me and for all.
O Valley of Lolab!

  Lolab valley also known as Wadi E Lolab is a combination of three valleys Potnai Valley, Kalaroos Valley and Brunai valley. This valley is shaped by the river Lahwal. The valley boasts of rolling meadows, seemingly unending paddy fields, and a lot of fruit orchard especially Walnut. The Length of this valley is 26kilometers and width is five kilometers.


We drove to Chandigam non-stop, but at a very leisurely pace. By around 9.00 a.m. We were at Chandigam. The Tourist Bungalow was at a picturesque location. It was attended by two young boys with ever smiling faces and typical Kashmiri hospitality. When we reached there, due to some goof up, they had not been informed of our arrival. So those poor guys did not have anything to cook for breakfast. I am a pure vegetarian and it was decided that at least all others can have bread and omelette. So one of the attendants accompanied me to a small bakery to another village a couple of kilometres away. Sadly he had baked very less bread due to Ramadan and whatever bread he had baked was finished. So we bought a few Sheermal – A traditional Kashmiri bread. I do not remember what we ate for breakfast, but we somehow managed it.

JKTDC Tourist Bunaglow - Chandigam
JKTDC Tourist Bungalow - Chandigam our abode for next two days
A room with a view
A room with a view- View from our room window at Chandigam



Beautifully carved door go Tourist Bungalow - Chandigam
Beautifully carved door go Tourist Bungalow - Chandigam

After resting for a while, we started to explore the valley. One of the attendants accompanied us. The drive was beautiful. The roads were not so wide and were lined with walnut trees on both the sides and in some cases walnut trees on one side a gently sloping meadow with Pine trees on the other side. We saw a beautiful meadow at one place and stopped the car. We were carrying a thick floor spread, which we spread on the grass. Anupma and Sarthak sat there enjoying the sun while me and Jyotsna set out to explore the Jungle around.

Cows feasting on the green grass at a meadow near Chandigam - Kashmir
Cows feasting on the green grass at a meadow near Chandigam - Kashmir


Vast Paddy fields at Lolab valley
Vast Paddy fields at Lolab valley

A beautiful house in Lolab Valley
A beautiful house in Lolab Valley


At some distance, we found a shepherd with his heard of cows around him grazing merrily and he was playing on his flute. The scene was straight out of Bollywood movies, but the effect was so beautiful that I do not have words to explain it. It could only be felt. We enjoyed the flute and the surrounding for some good time and started again. The road ended in another beautiful meadow. Right through the middle of the meadow, a trench-like thing had been dug most probably for making a road. It was a heart-wrenching scene to see such a beautiful meadow getting spoiled, but this is the cost of development that we have to pay.

Paddy fields
Paddy fields

Another beautiful Village
Another beautiful Village

A beautiful meadow ransacked
A beautiful meadow ransacked 

After spending some time here we started for another village. This time we were ascending a bit. The scenery was also changing and there were huge paddy fields instead of the walnut trees and meadows. While crossing a village we happened to cross a place where the road had been cut across some time back and then filled with soil, which had hardened by now, but was slightly lesser than road level and a sone jutting out. While crossing it, we felt a little bump and the stone hit the underbelly of the car. Awe was enjoying the vistas around. The attendant told us about an old man who is said to be 136 years old and offered us to take there. The road ended in that village and on the right-hand side was that man's home. We parked the car and came out. Then he offered us if we wanted to visit his home. We said let us see. I parked the car on the side and when I came out again, There was oil dripping from the car. The stone must have done the damage. It was time to rush to the mechanic nearby. We were rushing and wanted to get to the workshop before the oil level became dangerously low.

Soon we were at the mechanic guided by the attendant. I sent Anupma kids and our attendant back to the Tourist bungalow while I stayed to get the car repaired. By the grace of God, the mechanic was a good one and did a temporary solution to the leakage which will last till it is hit again. There is a nut at the bottom of the chamber, which is used to drain the engine oil at the time of servicing. It had been hit and gave way to make the oil drip.

Lawns outside the tourist Bungalow
Lawns outside the Tourist Bungalow


It took me good 2-3 hours to get the car fixed and return to the Bungalow. By the time everybody had their lunch and were enjoying the property as it had huge lawns. I was famished and soon the lunch was served It was a huge dining hall and the lunch was super tasty and was served in a very royal manner. After finishing the lunch we played, chitchatted dozed in the lawns. There was a small General merchant shop just across the road. Sarthak enjoyed spending some money making a few rounds buying wafers, chocolates and other knickknacks. Close by there was a silk research institute, which looked like unattended. It had a huge mulberry tree plantation area and a large part of the trees was properly pruned. After spending some time there we walked a bit towards the village, came back and then started exploring another road.

Mulberry trees in Silk research centre.
Mulberry trees in Silk research centre.

Walnut trees
Walnut trees



Soon we were and especially the camera was the centre of attraction of the kids playing. Later on, I realised that how soothing just a relaxed aimless walk, doing nothing, just chatting with your partner can be. We miss these small joys of life in our daily life.



                      The evening was again family time doing nothing, playing and chatting and after dinner, we retired for the day.


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