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Unseen Kashmir – Bangus and Lolab Valley - exploration continues


Lolab Valley - Vast Concentric Paddy fields
Lolab Valley - Vast Concentric Paddy fields


Unseen Kashmir – Bangus and Lolab Valley - exploration continues 



After a night's sound sleep, me and Anupma got up early and went out for an early morning walk while the kids slept. We followed the same road passing in front of the Tourist Bungalow. After walking for 2-3 kilometres, the road ended at a military camp. We chatted with the Sentry their who actually was from UP. There was also a school run by the army for local kids.
The waterbody created by the embankment
The waterbody created by the embankment

From there we turned left and went to see the Dam as told by locals. We passed through small fields, kitchen gardens of the people and they were astonished to see us as they are not used to see tourists there. The so-called Dam was an embankment to stop rainwater and it created a small pond there. Beyond that, the jungle started.


wooden houses in the village
Wooden houses in the village


We walked over embankment for some time and then started walking towards the village. The village was as if time had stopped. Old world charm was oozing out of the wooden houses built in traditional style. The streets were wide but littered and biggest contributor was the plastic wrappers and the empty snack and other eatable packs. We walked leisurely through the village and finally ended at the road opposite the Bungalow.

A young Kashmiri Lad at Chandigam - Lolab Valley
A young Kashmiri Lad at Chandigam - Lolab Valley

Kids at Lolab were camera Friendly
Kids at Lolab were camera Friendly


Now it was time to get ready. So everybody bathed and had breakfast. Today we were to complete the tour of the surrounding villages which we had to abort yesterday because of the car breakdown. When we left, the clouds had started to engulf the Sun.


It was getting Cloudy
 Clouds were planning to play spoilsport - Near Chandigam Lolab valley

Map of Lolab valley
The small villages scattered in Lolab valley, which we visited


A farm being prepared for cultivation
A farm being prepared for cultivation


We visited a few beautiful villages before I asked Bilal the attendant to take us to the same route that we had taken yesterday. The reason for the same was that the route was very beautiful especially when the road comes out of the village and the ascent to the dead-end starts. This time we were very careful and crossed that spot extremely slow. When we reached the dead end of the road the view of the valley around was amazing. Bilal again repeated the story of the same old man who as per him was 125 years old. He again repeated the offer to visit his house. We were a bit hesitant in encroaching upon someone's privacy thinking that he should not feel like something which has been put on display.


The old Guard
The Old Man of Lolab valley, which is wrongly being told as 100+ years old

Reluctantly we agreed to go inside and Bilal went inside to talk to them and came out immediately to take us in. It seemed that the old man and the family were used to receiving visitors. We talked to him and his family for some time, but the mathematics belied his age. I do not know exact figures, but the reverse calculation from his son's age meant that he was blessed with a son when he was 85 years old, seemed quite unlikely. Another version that he lost all his teeth and they have regrown, which does not happen. This was a family of Pahadi Muslims and had a mix of Dogri and Punjabi in their language. It was nice talking to them. We chatted with them for some time before saying goodbyes.


Vast rice fields of Wadi - E - Lolab
Vast rice fields of Wadi - E - Lolab

Rice fields with mountains in background present heavenly beautiful scene
Rice fields with mountains in background present heavenly beautiful scene


Another view of Paddy fields
Another view of Paddy fields



Next destination was the Doorus. Here there were no more trees and meadows rather very vast paddy fields much grander than what we have in plains. The farms were small step farms in a concentric shape. The whole valley looked like a huge saucer. We had a small photo session here.


Cannot capture the beauty in camera
Cannot capture the beauty of Lolab valley in camera. 


Next on the list was Kalaroos. The most interesting and mythical area in this valley. Kalaroos has two important structures. SatBaran and Kalaroos caves. Satbaran in Kashmiri means with seven doors. This half-buried rock has seven engraved doors which are about three feet deep. Locals believe these to be temples built by Pandavas. The Caves slightly ahead of Satbaran are known as Kalaroos Caves and are supposed to be secret caves to Russia. Name Kalaroos is also said to be derived from Quila e Roos. Fort of Russia. A lot of locals who have themselves ventured inside have found it unending even after walking for 2-3 hours inside the cave. Some have reported having heard the sound of water inside. Another school of thought says that these are abandoned copper mines dug to take out copper. Though no record of copper excavation is found, and the Department of Geology after surveying the area for copper ore declared the copper ore as that of poor quality.


Satbaran at Kalaroos - Lolab Valley
                                  Satbaran at Kalaroos - Lolab Valley                P.C. Google images

Entrance of Kalaroos Cave
                                      The entrance of Kalaroos Cave                      P.C. Google images


Whatever may be the story, it sounded interesting and we had kept Kalaroos as the last thing for the day. However, luck had something else in store for us. We were proceeding towards Kalaroos and reached a junction where one road took you to Kalaroos and other to Handwara. At this junction, we were welcomed with torrential rains. I parked the car on the side and we waited for the rains to subside. However, rain gods were not relenting. Bilal called up one of his friends near Kalaroos to check what was the situation there and found that it was raining heavily. We waited another 15 minutes and when the rains did not stop, with a heavy heart we decided to go back to the guest house. Strangely Chandigam was dry.

We had already completed most of the packing in the morning, gave it another look. After Lunch, we left for our next destination. The atmosphere here was so relaxing that nobody in the family wanted to leave, however as they say the journey must go on, we thanked both the caretakers, tipped them well and left with a promise to ourselves come back again soon.

                    I do not have the photography skills to capture and writing skills to describe the beauty of Kashmir. One has to experience it to appreciate it.




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