Kokernag

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Kokernag is a sub-district town and a notified area committee in Breng Valley (The Golden Crown of Kashmir), Anantnag districtin the Indian administered state of Jammu & Kashmir. The etymology of the word ‘Kokernag’ is controversial and there are various theories and none has any conclusive historical proof. As per one such theory Koker means ‘fowl’ and nag means ‘serpent’. The spring gushes out of the base of a thickly wooded hill from where it divides into channels, which resembles to the claw-foot of a hen, hence its name. The other theory is that the word Kokernag originates from Koh (Mountain) kan (from or under) nag (spring). Kokernag is at the height of approx. 2,000 m above sea level. Place is known for gardens, largest fresh water springs in Kashmir and for its largest rainbow trout hatchery in north India. Towns and village situated around Kokernag are Bindoo, Zalangam, Bidder, Wangam, Hangalgund,Nagam, Mukhdampora Sagam,Duksum, Soaf Shali etc. Kokernag has been mentioned in Ain Akbari, where in it has been mentioned that the water of Kokernag satisfies both hunger and thirst and it is also a remedy for indigestion.

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Basically, the nickname or second name of Kokernag is Breng Kokernag, the name given by Shiekh ul Alam, poet and scholar. He said “” kokernag breng chu sunsund preng”” which means that “”kekernag is Golden crown of kashmir”” means a precious thing. Kokernag is a collection of many small springs and their collective appearance resembles to the claws of a koker (cock). Kokernag is the largest fresh water spring in Kashmir.

Koker means ‘fowl’ and nag means ‘Springs’. The spring gushes out of the base of a thickly wooded hill from where it divides into channels, which resembles to the claw-foot of a hen, hence its name. Kokernag is at the height of approximately 2,000 m above sea level. Place is known for gardens, largest fresh water springs in Kashmir and for its trout streams. Towns and village situated around Kokernag are Wangam, Hangalgund, Nagam, Sagam, Zalergam, Dacksum, Elakti, Soaf Shali .

It is known for its trout streams and the largest fresh water spring in Kashmir, Trout hatchery department which has constructed pools in series where in trout is reared. The total area of Kokernag is 300 Kanals of which 129 kanals is for the purpose of gardens and the rest is forest area.

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Staying in the accommodation right inside the Kokernag garden, gave us an advantage. We could visit the Kokernag garden right at sunrise – an ideal time for birding. Specially by the natural spring that flows through it.

Developed by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department, it is the biggest garden in Kashmir.

 

The department’s Tourism Reception Center (TRC) is next to this garden. We met an extremely dedicated tourism officer here, who guided and mentored us throughout our stay.
Source – Trip advisor for images and Wikipedia
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Doodhpathri(valley of Milk)

Doodhpathri or “Valley of Milk”, situated 40 kms from Srinagar is definitely an unexplored place in Kashmir. If you plan to visit Kashmir sometimes, you should take a little time off to visit this beautiful and enchanting place. You will certainly love the green meadows, pristine environment and serenity.
It  took us about an hour from Srinagar by cab.  A river cascading down the pebbles is a walk of 5 minutes from the parking. You will definitely meet sphered who will be keeping a watchful eye on his flock grazing on the verdant meadows and some cattle and horses. On reaching river, you can soak your feet on the clear and icy water. God, it felt like my feet was frozen and numb for a second. 

 The place is quite secluded, you can rent a tent and set up a camping station. There are a few shops which serve hot and mouth watery omelettes, Maggie, Kashmiri tea and coffee. The best thing to enjoy here is the ride on horses to the bottom of snow covered mountains and trekking.

The best time to travel Doodhpathri is between May- July as the weather is pleasant and preachy. The temperature varies between 10-15 degrees during this time.


Doodhpathri (pronounced Dwadhpathri locally), the wildflower-spangled, inten­sely green meadows come rolling at you suddenly, without warning. Barely contained by the mossy green hills, the grasslands give way to more grasslands. Alpine wildflowers beget more wild­flowers. And packs of handsome wild horses graze fixedly. The meadows eventually wind up at a riverbed. Doodhpathri is one of the most beautiful meadows you can visit and no better setting for a picnic.

Doodhpathri is located in Budgam district of Jammu Kashmir state and can be reached via two different routes mentioned below:

Route 1: Via Budgam

This will take around 42KM and shortest route to reach Doodhpathri from Srinagar. Here is the brief:
Srinagar ->Budgam -> Khansahib -> Raiyar -> Doodhpathri
 2: Via Gulmarg road

If you are planning to visit Gulmarg, you should choos this route which will take around 50KM to reach Doodhpathri from Srinagar. Here is the brief route:
Srinagar ->Gulmarg road till Magam -> Beerwah -> Arizal -> Doodhpathri

Tosa Maidan(king of meadows)


Tosa Maidan is not only famous as a pasture but also for its historical background. Bounded by dense forests, it is situated about 10 kms from Khag in the mountains of the Himalayan range. After crossing the upper mountain reaches of Drang, Zakhora and other small villages, one reaches the pasture of Tosa Maidan. It is said that Tosa Maidan is one of those pastures which the shepherds of other neighbouring countries also used to visit in ancient times. The Mughals used to go to Poonch using this route. It is said that they had constructed a seven-storeyed building – Dam-Dam – here.

The Basmai Gali(13,000 ft) is the pass which leads into Tosa Maidan. Another pass – Poonch Gali – on its right side leads to the valley of Poonch. This pass was deemed to be the safest, easiest, and nearest to reach Punjab in ancient times. From here, a path also leads to Nilnag. Tosa Maidan is the largest pasture in its surrounding areas, 3 miles in length and 1.5 miles in width. Sky-touching deodars fence this pasture presenting a view of a green carpet in summer. During the summer, the camps of the Gujjar community and shepherds with theirgrazing sheep in the pastures present a riveting picture. Also, the fragrance of wild flowers refreshes the whole environment.

Kashmir valley is like a basket full of flowers; colorful and beautiful and Tosa Maidan is one such flower we pick today. When you are in Kashmir, you surely are away from all worldly occupations and are surrounded by nature in its purest form. Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonmarg and Mughal Gardens are one aspect of Kashmir; the aspect known to all. But there is another aspect of Kashmiri beauty; the unexplored one. This includes places that are yet unknown to most people and are visited only by the local population. Tosa Maidan is one such place. 


Tosa Maidan is a valley full of meadows surrounded by Pir Panchal ranges. 3 miles in length and 1.5 miles in breadth, it is 53 km distant from Srinagar. Coordinates:   33°55’4″N   74°29’57″E..

Tosa Maidan” is a major trekking route to -Yusmarg-Badgam and is a large meadow used for cattle grasing by nomads.

 Brief History Of Occupation
Once labelled as ‘death meadow’. Tosa Maidan was leased to the army in 1964 for setting up an artillery firing range for 50 years. The lease ended on April 14 2014. The place has now been cleared and declared safe.

Kashmiri Autumn

       On the majestic Chinar trees the fleshy leaves are changing from green through crimson to yellow. Orchards are laden with ripe apples waiting to be picked. Paddy fields await the harvest and the marriage season is reaching its peak.

The fleshy leaves of majestic Chinar trees are changing from green through crimson to yellow with the onset of autumn in Kashmir. Known for its beautiful climate in all throughout the year. Has a typical European climate that can widely be categorized into four seasons as SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN and WINTER.

AUTUMN – September to November – (18-25 Celsius during Day) to (10-15 degree Celsius in nights)

The most awaited season in Jammu and Kashmir sets in the month of September. It is autumn, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Everything turns to gold. The sight of the landscape has a magnetic appeal then. The red carpeted gardens are a treat to the eyes. Temperatures rise to a maximum of 23 degrees in the morning but the nights are relatively colder. The weather is very conducive for the tourists to take delight in the sights, sounds and smell of this idyllic land. The vibrant valleys, the rustle of the fallen leaves, the fragrance of flowers are there to enchant you. The onset of autumn, perhaps Kashmir’s loveliest season, is towards September, when green turns to gold and then to russet and red. The highest day temperatures in September are around 23 degree Celsius and night temperatures dip to 10 degree Celsius by October and further drop by November, when heavy woollens are essential.

       For anyone coming to Kashmir in autumn nature could just not have been more rewarding.

Char Chinar (4 trees)

Char Chinar, also sometimes rendered Char Chinari, Ropa Lank, or Rupa Lank, is an island in Dal Lake, Srinagar. The island located on the Bod Dal is known as Rupa Lank (Silver Island), it is marked with the presence of majestic Chinar trees at the four corners, thus known as Char-Chinari (Four Chinars). Murad Baksh, brother of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, constructed the Rupa Lank.

Dal Lake is marked by an island which houses ancient and beautiful Chinar trees. Don’t forget to ask your Shikara to be steered in this direction to catch a view of this island.

BATAAB VALLEY-Prasdise of paradise 

Amazing views

About

The Betaab Valley is located at a distance of 15 km from Pahalgam in the district of Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir. The valley owes its name to the film stars Sunny Deol-Amrita Singh hit debut film ‘Betaab’. The valley lies to the northeast of Pahalgam, in the middle of Pahalgam and Chandanwadi, and is characterised by lush green meadows and snow clad mountains. 

Betaab Valley is an immensely popular tourist destination, besides being a favourite stop for camp travellers and those looking to trek and explore the mountains further. Also not to be missed are the nearby lakes of Baisaranand Tulian.

Earlier known as Hagan Valley or Hagoon, Betaab Valley got its present name after the blockbuster Bollywood movie ‘Betaab’ was shot there in 1983. A combination of picturesque surroundings, the valley falls on the way to Amarnath Temple Yatra and is one of the three angelic valleys of Pahalgam; the other two being Aru and Chandanwadi.

Encircled by mountains featuring deodar and pine forests, Betaab Valley is a perfect gateway to enjoy the heavenly pleasure of Mother Nature. The sights of colouring beds of flowers amid the lush walnut and willow vistas make the entire panorama quite stunning casting a spell of magic on this land of eternal beauty. The experience is even more heightened by the musical whispers of several birds. Being a precious jewel of Jammu and Kashmir tourism, Betaab Valley is among a handful of Pahalgam tourist places to visit that should not be missed. Situated at a walking distance from the main center of Pahalgam, the valley is also an excellent camping site for trekkers and explorers.

Flim Culture

Kashmir was home to the Indian film industry from the sixties to the eighties. Scores of films were shot in the Valley like Aarzoo, Kashmir Ki Kali, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Kabhie Kabhie, Silsila, Satte Pe Satta and Roti (1974 film), the list is endless. Film shooting almost came to a halt after militancy erupted in the Valley but with things improving now, one can hope that Bollywood would soon return to what many believe is its original home. The threat of militancy was a deterrent for over 30 years but with director Imtiaz Ali shooting for his film Rockstar (2011 film) in the beautiful valley with actors Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri, the violence seems to be a thing of the past.The hut where Bobby was shot continues to be famous as the ‘Bobby Hut’.Many films like Jab Tak Hai Jaan,Yeh Jawani Hai deewani, Haider have been shot in the Jammu and Kashmir state.

History

Betaab Valley, which is a part of Pahalgam area – one of the several Sub-valleys of Kashmir Valley came into existence during the post geosynclinal stage of the development of the Himalayas. Betaab Valley lies between the two Himalayan Ranges – Pir Panjal and Zanskar. Archaeological evidence proves the human existence in this region from the Neolithic Age, especially at Burzahom, Bomai and Pahalgam. Betaab Valley – a part of the Kashmir region, was ruled by the Mughals since the 15th Century. In latter part of the 15th century the Turko-Mughal Military General Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat ruled over Kashmir first on behalf of Sultan Said Khan of Kashgar and then on behalf of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. A polyglot and a historical writer, General Haider wrote the ‘Tarik-i-Rashidi’ – a personal memoir of the Central Asian History.


Sultan Ghiyas-ud-Din Zain-ul-Abidin known by all his courtiers and Nobles as the greatest local King ruled the entire Kashmir region for about 40 years during which he was famous for promoting peace and harmony in Kashmir’s pluralistic society. He even gave a directive to restore and restructure Kashmir during his reign – quite contrary to conventional foreign invading rulers. It was under him that ‘Kashmiriyat’ – a ‘social and cultural consciousness’ of Kashmiri people was developed.

Aru Valley Pahalgam 

  • Aru Valley is a small yet self-sufficient scenic village located 12 km from Pahalgam. The drive up to the village is alluring too. The location of the village among the grasslands, make this place a tourist delight. It is reachable by walking along a mountain path. The village also serves as the start point for trekking to Kolahoi glacier. Another long trek for the serious trekker is to Sonmarg, which can be covered in 3 days! Besides, the valley is also known to be a good site for camping.
  • Here, you can have a glimpse of Kolohoi Peak, 5370 mtrs. Another trek from Lidderwat leads to the most desired twin Lakes, Tarsar 3794mtrs & Marsar 3788 mtrs (2-3 days trek).
  • Overlooking the majestic snow-capped peaks of Himalayan Range, Aru Valley is a pristine scenic village situated in the region of Trans-Himalaya. Clear blue canopy over the head, misty surroundings, whispers of the native pines and conifer forests and beautiful meadows create a captivating diorama for travelers thronging the place. Though the village is the smallest hill station in the state, but still its breathtaking beauty and interesting activities like trekking, hiking and horse riding make it one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Pahalgam.
  • An excellent choice for both leisure seekers and adventure lovers, Aru Valley enriches the glory of Jammu and Kashmir tourism by being the starting point of trekking expeditions to Kolahoi Glacier and Sonmarg. Apart from the trekkers, the village also caters to the skiing desires of tourists who love to visit the place during winters. Aru Valley is located at a distance of about 12 km from Pahalgam. 
  • Best Time/ Season  to Aru Valley
  • Aru Valley has a cool and pleasant climate in summers and very cold climate in winters and the best season for tourism is from March to November.

  • Winters (October to February) are chilly and snow bound. The minimum mercury level goes below sub zero levels and the region mostly covers receives fresh snowfall. The views of the landscape are excellent with snow covered hilly terrains.
  • Summers (March to June) are warm and pleasant. The temperature in this hilly region ranges between 11°C and 25°C. Intermittent showers are seen during this period. There is no snowfall but snow can be found on high altitudes. Best for Amarnath Yatra
  • Monsoons (July to September) are very scanty. The region becomes highly humid during this period.
  • The summer months in Pahalgam are cool but not chilly with warmth in the atmosphere. The hill resort is best for vacations in this period. It is good for all tourist activities, adventurous activities and pilgrimage related to Amarnath Yatra. Winters in Pahalgam offer snowfall with subzero climate. It is not good for sightseeing, but is good for honeymoon and winter sports.