Monday, February 22, 2010

Poonch Valley Travel Guide

Poonch district has a distinct historical background, rich cultural heritage and charming natural vacation spots. This track is located exactly on the foot hills of Pir Panchal range, therefore there is a series of mountain ranges, snow covered lofty peaks, thick belts of fir and cheer forests on the slopes, a number of beautiful valleys, gushing streams, lush green pastures with multi colored flowers, milky water falls and crystal clear lakes. This natural atmosphere and unique type of life style of Poonch district can easily attract Indian and foreign tourists if the government takes up these tourists spots under tourism development programme.
A number of forts, sarais and ruins of historical values are available in this area. The caravans of Mughal emperors were traveling towards Kashmir in the beginning of 17th century AD through Mughal road which passes through Poonch district. There are various memorable places and monuments on this road including renowned Noor Chamb milky water fall. With the construction of 84 kilometers Mughal road from Bufliaz to Shoopian, the Mughal monuments and scenic spots along side the road shall come in the lime light and past glory of Mughal road shall be restored. The attractive Dhera Ki Gali, Bufliaz, Behram Gala, Noor Chamb, Dugran, Poshiana, Ratta Chamb and Chandimarh are expected to be the charming tourist resorts along side the Mughal road in Poonch district. Proper publicity of these hill stations at National level can certainly prove this area as the destination of tourists.
Some important shrines with deep religious backgrounds are also existing in Poonch district. These shrines includes Swami Budha Amarnath, Lohar Devta, Nangali Sahib, Asthan Chote Shah Sahib, Ram Kund, Asthan Sain Miran Sahib, Asthan Sain Ellahi Bakash and Asthan Sain Faqar Din. Thousands of devotees from outside the districts are visiting these places with great devotion, but the accommodational facilities are not sufficient on these sites. These places can also be exploited for religious tourism purposes.
Apart from the above, a number of foot routes, passes and peaks in Pir Panchal range are important from trekkers, climbers and hikers point of view. There is a renowned Girjan Dhok, Panjtari Marg, Pir Merg, Chooti Merg, Valley of Seven Lakes like Nandan Sar, Chandar Sar, Bhag Sar, Sukh Sar, Neel Sar etc Peaks like Tatta Kutti (15560 ft), Ganga Choti (10013 ft), Rattan Pir Choti (8500ft) and passes like Panchal Pass (11400 ft), Chooti Gali Pass (13500 ft) and Noor Pur Pass (13486 ft) and trekking routes like Sawajian-Chor Panchal-Gulmarg, Loran-Noor Pur-Tang Marg, Chandimarh, Peer Gali-Shopian. But due to lack of infrastructural facilities and accommodational problems at base camps and non availability of effective publicity, these areas remain out of site for outsiders. There is the need of development of takeoff points and bridle paths leading towards the valley of seven lakes and huts and fast food centers at Girgan, Panjtari and Tatta Kutti Marg. The details of some places of tourists interest located in Poonch area is given here.
Noor Chambh:- This beautiful water fall is located on the north east of Behram Gala village. Mughal Emperor Jahangir visited this place 13 times when he was on the way to Kashmir or Lahore. He was such a lover of this water fall that he named this place as Noor Chamb after the name of his beloved wife Noor Jahan. Later on the name changed from Noor Chamb to Noori Chamb. In the past the water of Hussan Thumb stream was falling from 90 meters elevated mound and the whole stream was converting itself into milky vapours. At present the fall has gone inside the mound after cutting the rock. Even then the milky vapours of this beautiful water fall scatter around the area which gives pleasure to visitor. There is the need of fast food centre, public convenience and a viewing deck for visitors. A chair lift from main road to Noor Chamb mound will also attract tourists.
Behram Gala:- It is 45 kms on the east of Poonch city and connected with motorable road. This place is surrounded by mountains and forests and situated on the foot hills of Peer Panchal pass on Mughal road. Power and water supply are available at the site. The climate is very pleasant and cool. There are two important shrines (one of Hindus and other of Muslims) located in the village. The village is just 500 meters away from the famous water fall Noor Chamb. This spot is also important from trekker's point of view because the main bridal path leads towards the valley of Girgan and the valley of seven lakes starts from this very place. There is a need of conversion of Behram Gala into a tourist resort by constructing tourist huts and trekkers sarais.
Surankote:- Surankote is the most beautiful valley on the south-western side of Panchal range. It situated in between snow bounded peaks. This place resembles with Pehalgam. Power, water supply, road communication are available at site. The climate is very cool and pleasant. The maximum temperature goes to 32 degree C. This place can easily be converted into a tourist resort.
Gagrian Sawjian:- This considerable village is lying at the extreme of Mandi valley of north-western side at the foot of Chor Panchal Pass. This place is 43 kms away from Poonch. The village is surrounded by forest belt of devdar and fir trees. Road communication, power and water supply is available at site. This part can be developed as a base camp for trekkers/climbers because from this very place bridal path leads towards Chor Panchal Pass and then to Khilanmarg, Gulmarg, and Tangmarg. There is a need of tourist huts at Gali Maidan and Rangwar.
Budha Amar Nath/Rajpura Mandi:- Budha Amarnath temple is situated about 25 kms north-east of Poonch on the left bank of Pulsta stream. The village lies on the foot of a step hill. This place has great religious importance due to the temple of Swami Budha Amarnath. It is said that this temple is older than Swami Amarnath of Kashmir. Legend goes that Lord Shiva had visited this place. There is a natural Shivlinga of white stone inside the temple. Thousands of pilgrims with great devotion come to this place from different parts of the country. The main religious function is held on the occasion of Rakasha Bandhan festival. A tourist bunglow and a sarai is existing at the site. There is a need of more such buglows in the periphery of Swami Budha Amarnath because this place is also a scenic resort and this place can also be converted into the nature lovers tourist resort.
Ziarat Sain Miran Sahib:- This is a Ziarat of great Saint Sain Miran Sahib who died recently. This shrine is situated in Guntrian village which is 10 kms away from Poonch city on northern side. This Ziarat is very important from religious point of view because hundreds of devotees come to this Ziarat every day. There is a need of tourist bunglow near Ziarat Sain Miran Sahib.
Nangali Sahib:- Nangali Sahib Gurudwara is situated on the left bank of Drungli Nallah, which is four kilometers away from Poonch city. This Gurudwara was established by Sant Bhai Mela Singh Ji. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had paid a visit to this shrine in 1819AD, when he was on his way to conquer Kashmir. This place is of great religious importance. Thousands of pilgrims of all religions throughout the country travel to this place every year. A tourist banglow is existing at site but there is a need of more accommodation for the convenience of pilgrims.
Ramkund:- Ramkund is 68 kilometers away from Poonch city. This ancient temple is situated in the village Narol which is 11 kilometers on the south of Mendhar town. As per Raj Tringani, this temple was constructed by Raja Lalita Ditya. This old monument is having great religious importance. Legend goes that it was constructed for the first time by Lord Rama when he was on his way to Kashmir. Later on it was renovated by Raja Lalita Ditya. It is proposed that a tourist hut be constructed near Ramkund temple for the convenience of pilgrims.
Ziarat Chotay Shah:- This Ziarat is 58 kilometers from Poonch and is situated in the village Sakhi Maidan which is at four kms. distance from Mendhar town. Hundreds of pilgrims come to this place every day. It is proposed that at least two tourist bunglows and a tourist sarai may be constructed near the Ziarat for the convenience of the pilgrims.
Ziarat Hazrat Sayed Pir Habib Shah Pamrote:- Ziarat Hazrat Sayed Pir Habib Shah Pamrote is one of the famous religious shrine of Poonch district. The Ziarat is located about 12 kilometer in the north of Surankote town across nallah Suran in the village Pamrote which falls on the slopes of Ranjati range of mountains. Thousands of pilgrims from Poonch, Rajouri, Kashmir and POK visit this shrine every year. There is the need of upgradation of motorable road upto Ziarat Sharief. At least three tourist huts and a tourist sarai is urgently need at this religious shrine for the convenience of the pilgrims.

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