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Unseen Kashmir – Bangus and Lolab Valley - The Reshwari ordeal


Bungus and Lolab Valley - Mawar River
Bungus and Lolab Valley - Mawar River

Unseen Kashmir – Bangus and Lolab Valley - The Reshwari ordeal

           After saying goodbye to Chandigam after Lunch, we left for Bungus. Bungus is another valley almost untouched by tourists. The base camp for an excursion to this valley was to be Reshwari. Again, Asadullah Khan, the CEO of LBDA had told the tourist rest house there about our arrival and given us the no of caretaker there. We contacted the caretaker while driving and he confirmed the room availability and asked us to bring vegetables and whatever we wanted him to cook. We understood as getting things at such remote places if difficult. So we stopped at Handwara a small town and purchased a lot of veggies, fruits a few pulses and wheat flour. One thing that surprised me was that though Handwara is a small town and at a somewhat remote location, even the small shops were selling the premium imported chocolate brands like Lindt, Bounty and a lot more. This spoke of the good taste and affluence of the society.

A visit to Bungus earlier required a permit from the district and army authorities, at this is very close to Pakistan Border. However recently this requirement had been abolished by the new CO. The road to Reshwari was a mix of good and bad roads and a lot of part had been recently laid. One thing that was bothering me was that we had not arranged for ponies for Anupma and Sarthak for next day's trek. I had called the caretaker of the guest house and asked him to arrange for 02 ponies, but did not get and confident reply.

Guest House at Reshwari
Guest House at Reshwari


In the afternoon, we were at the Reshwari Tourist Bungalow, our base camp for Bungus Valley exploration. The location of the guest house was awesome and we were in love with it at first sight.  The Bungalow had two wings and an old one and the new one. The old one was made completely of wood and exuded an old-world charm. And the setting was just out of a picture postcard. River Marwar flowed merrily in its backyard. Snow-capped peaks all around and conifer forests engulfing the Bungalow added to its charm. But this love did not last long. We parked the car and went inside. The guest house had two wings The new wings and the old wing. The old wing housed Kitchen, dining hall and 04 suits. When we settled in one of the room shown, it was a dump. The door was broken, washroom was not clean, the bedsheets were dirty, and so were the curtains on the windows. When we took out the blankets from the cupboards, they stank. There was another group of 5-6 guys who had occupied two other rooms and they were advocates from nearby places and were friends having a night out. Everybody was upset over the pathetic condition of the room. I suggested that we pitch our tent in the lawns of the guest house. Anupma was very upset and ruled it out. The newer wing was cleaner, but the washrooms did not have water and were reeking with the smell of urine. The group of advocates seeing our dilemma offered us one of their rooms, which was slightly better but was bad by all standards. We removed all the bed sheets, blankets and used our own bedsheets and quilts that we were carrying as we had all the necessary camping equipment. Actually, this propert had been leased out to some private person by the department, who seems did not spend even a single penny on the maintenance.

I came out and started a conversation with the other group. They seemed to be regulars here and used this place for night outs frequently and somehow were not bothered by the bad condition of the guest house. Still, the issue of ponies was pending. The caretaker called one “contractor” of ponies and he quoted Rs. 1500 per pony. I smelt something fishy and did not confirm him. After some time two guys from the other group accompanied me to the village and the very first house we asked about ponywala, directed us to the house opposite theirs. We met Majid Khan, who had ponies and a gem of a person and he promised to be with two ponies at the starting point of the trek which is about 4 kilometres from the guest house. He asked for Rs. 700 per pony, which we found reasonable and agreed to. The day ended with not so good memories, okayish dinner.


A morning tree at Reshwari - Bungus
A morning tree at Reshwari - Bungus

Sun Kissed Snow clad peaks at Reshwari Bungus
Sun Kissed Snow clad peaks at Reshwari Bungus


The Green of The Jungle and the orange peaks caused by sun look beautiful
The Green of The Jungle and the orange peaks caused by sun look beautiful


As the sun rises, the peaks brighten up
As the sun rises, the peaks brighten up


The beautiful river adds another dimension to beauty of sunrise
The beautiful river adds another dimension to the beauty of the sunrise


This scenery made me greedy and another shot of the river with bridge and sunkissed snow-capped mountains

Kids enjoying on the river bank with houses of village across the river are visible
Kids enjoying on the river bank with houses of the village across the river are visible

Kids, Marwan river and the bridge
Also visible is the Marwan River and the bridge over it to cross over to the other side of the village


Next morning, I and Anupma got up early as usual, prepared tea ( we always carry electric kettle and other things with us ) and came out in the lawn overlooking the Marwan river flowing alongside. Anupma had calmed down by now and this beautiful scene elevated the spirits. We had a relaxed tea. Soon we woke up kids and went to the riverbank to witness a beautiful sunrise. We had some good time clicking photos and playing on the riverbank. After having some really good time, we came back and packed our things and put them in the car boot except for some wet towels, electric kettle and other knick-knacks. Anupma prepared some sandwiches and we had our breakfast.

The mesmerising flow of the river washes away the bad experience of previous night
The mesmerising flow of the river washes away the bad experience of the previous night

Sarthak riding an imaginary humped whale
Sarthak riding an imaginary humped whale


There is no motorable road to Bungus and involves a trek of nearly 06 kilometres passing through meadows Jungles and crossing rivers. Last night our new friends had imperilled us a lot about how tough the trek is to Bungus and advised to leave our car here and one of the will drop us to the starting point of the trek. They were all asleep and so was the caretaker. I knocked at their room and after a few knocks one of them came out and took us to the starting point of the trek. He stayed with us there for some time till the Pony walla arrived. Though Jyotsna had done a few treks, last night's discussion made me less confident about her ability to do this trek. So I asked Majid Khan if he can arrange for another horse. He said he had left his other horses in the meadow to graze anyways he will go catch one and bring it. He was back with another horse in 15 - 20 minutes. Jyotsna said that she will also go on foot and we decided to keep this horse as standby.


The gentleman who dropped us at Neelvan  the starting point of the trek
The gentleman who dropped us at Neelvan  the starting point of the trek

We resume our journey to Bungus in the next post and I assure you it is going to be a very interesting journey and insanely beautiful, so stay hooked.


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