Switzerland of India – Bhadarwah

September 29, 2010

Bhadarwah is a beautiful mountain kingdom known in the ancient literature as Bhandra Kasha or a good place to rest at or Bhandravaksha the happy region situated at a height of 5422 ft above sea level. The vast expanse of vegetational forested slopes, the terraced fields with patches of apples orchards, diversified culture of emotional people of Dogri and Kashmiri origin. The people of Bhadarwah could speak four to five languages – Bhadarwahi, Kashmiri, Dogri, Hindi and English. It has the highest literary rate in the whole of J&K.

The way to Bhadarwah is quite enjoyable. The road from Jammu to Batote is 130 kms on NHIA and then takes right turn from Batote towards Pul Doda which is 50 kms on NHIB. Then from Pul Doda, a new road takes 30 km to reach Bhadarwah along the Neeru River, a tributary of the Chenab. The road is fine with several sharp curves and hair pin bends to enjoy the beauty of the whole valley to reach the saucer bowl of Bhadarwah in district Doda. The valley is a kaleidoscope of nature with various ethnic groups of people living in the harmony of God’s creativity. The peaceful atmosphere, pleasant climate, self sufficiency in fruits, vegetables, milk etc attracts lot of tourist every year. During winter season dancing sunbeams reflected by the snow blanket make the dance more attractive. The dark green forest is the abode of tigers. Wild herbs in plenty in these areas add their own attraction and charm.

Vasuki Nag Temple is the presiding deity of the Bhadarwah. There are four Vasuki Nag Temples in the town, one at Gatha, heart of town, second at Nalthi, third at Bheja and fourth at Nagar Bhadarwah.The main idol of the Vasuki Nag Temple at Gatha is a wonderful specimen of art and sculpture. Two idols Naraj Vasuki and Raja Jamub Vahan are made of black schist. The Siva temple is located to the east of the town on the bank of river Neeru at a distance 0.5 km made under natural stone slabs. Inside the temple on a vertically inclined stone slab there is a foot (print of Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata fame) on the rock with an ancient inscription as per the local legend.

There is a splendid mosque situated in the town proper and is marvelous specimen of wooden architecture with influence of Kashmiri architecture. There is another ancient temple of Shitla Mata situated on a slopping hill top about four miles by foot between Chinta Valley and the Shitla Mata Roshera. The temple is used as the spot scared for mundan ceremony or shaving of head in the region. People from Chamba, Bani-Basohli, Kathua, Doda, and Kishtwar every year on the Navrata (Ashtami) pay obeisance and have the hair of their children. There is a Dharmsala for the night stay of the pilgrims.
Chandi Mata Mandir, Chinote is a newly renovated temple situated at village Chinote. Every year Trishul Bhaint Yatra comes here from Doda on 3rd July. Again on 18th August a grand Yatra popularly known as Machail Yatra starts from Chinote in Bhadarwah to Machail (Paddar region of Kishtwar) and after one day stay at Bhadarwah at Bhawan of Chandi Mata to Machail returns to Bhadarwah after seven days. Ziyarat Bangla Nallah is situated to the north east of Bhadarwah at a distance of 20 kms. It is believed that whenever animals of the villagers suffer from mouth and foot disease the people here make some offering in this Ziyarat and the cattle recover from the disease.

Raushira has an old temple of Goddess Durga in under explored Chiralla area . In the north east of Bhadarwah town about 40 km away, a road connects a beautiful meadow called Jai which is fed by a small rivulet flowing towards the Tehsil Thatthri and joins the mighty rocks of Kalgoni Nallah. These rocks are excellent for professional rock climbers.

Rattangarh or Bhadarwah fort is the place of pride for the erstwhile King of Chamba and Bhadarwah. The fort has a history for housing several freedom fighters, including Pandit Kashyap Bandu, Sant Singh Teg and later former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. The fort was probably built in 1733 and converted into a jail in 1919. In 2009 it was vacated by the jail authorities and is now under renovation to make it as a tourist spot.

Bhadarwah has two important ancient settlements beside the evidence of Kushana inscription in Gupta Ganga Temple. There are two ancient town settlements Uday Nagar and Dunga Nagar. As per the tradition these settlements got washed away during the flash floods. The Dunga Nagar is located in the Santigal area of Bhadarwah and Uday Nagar is just abutting the back wall of the Bhadarwah campus of the University of Jammu. The beautiful boali at Sungali just a few yards from the main road now infested with vegetation is the master piece of the sculpture art of Bhadarwah and requires attention of the local authorities.

Subarnag is the name of another peak and it can be reached by a bridle path that bifurcates from Bhadarwah Chinta road, about 6 kms before Chinta. The point gives a panoramic view of the Bhadarwah and Chinta valley. The Jai valley is about 35 kms from Bhadarwah. It has several attractive tourist spots like Thuba. This is the highest point between Chinta and Bhadarwah too.
Kailash Kund 13067 ft. above sea level is the source of many rivers overlooking the Bhadarwah valley. The Kund in the Kailash Mountain is considered as the abode of Shri Vasuki Neg. The annual Yatra takes place in the month of September.
The meadow of Seoj is flanked by a perennial stream which emanates from hills surrounding the Kailash Kund. The landscape across the river is a replica of beauty at Pahalgam. On the western side the mountain takes a steep descent along the crystalline water of Seoj rivulet and runs towards areas of Udhampur District. Padari Gali is a pass of uneven landscape located 40 kms from Bhadarwah on the Chamba road at a height of 10500 ft. It experience snow upto 5 meters which remains upto mid June, considered as the most popular picnic spot in Bhadarwah. Khanni Top, Bhal Padri, Nalthi Basti, Hanga, Devchatan and Killar are other prominent tourist attractions.

Courtesy:- Daily Excelsior

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