Kishtwar district situated amidst snow-capped mountains, emerald valleys, fruit orchards, whispering deodar and pine forests with their rich flora and fauna, gurgling streams meandering through lush green meadows, sprinkled with colorful natural wild flowers, create a grandeur that is hard to match.
The valleys of Chhatroo, Dachhan, Marwah, Paddar and Warwan in particular have an enchanting and mesmerizing natural beauty which has a great potential for adventure, pilgrimage, eco, health, rural, cultural and film tourism. Unexplored and unexploited due to scarce road connectivity, these areas, having lush green forests, humming heights talking to the sky, green meadows and alpine pastures in the lap of high rising mountains where sight of neighing horses, bellowing cattle, bleating sheep and goats which have ascended from hot plains, display an absorbing view in summer months and remain under a white blanket of snow during the winter.
The prominent Tourist circuits along with the main beauty spots, worthy of mention are the following:
Some of the beautiful spots in Kishtwar are given below:-
To the south west of Kishtwar town is a hillock where a fort and palace existed during the rule of the Raja’s of Kishtwar. There are said to be built by Raja Kahan Paul. With the passage of time, the house and the fort at Kishtwar became non-existent excepting the throne, made of stone, which stands there even today. The one piece seat of stone slab with a thickness of 15cms, stands on four stone pillars of greenish colour 42 cms high. As it is a heritage site, it needs be preserved, otherwise the slab too will get lost in due course of time. The two guns locally called ‘TOPE’ have been preserved and installed within the premises of the office of the Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar.
From ‘Qilla’ site a panoramic view of Kishtwar town, NHPC colony and Mandal along with tall mountains surrounding the valley of Kishtwar can be seen. The ‘Kishtwar Development Authority’ proposes to develop this place by laying a park and fountains there and connecting it with a road.
The place at a distance of three kilometers from Kishtwar and connected with a road is another beauty-spot, wherefrom the view of Kishtwar town, Dul-Hasti Project Colony, and its beautiful surrondings, Nagin- Shiru peak to its North and roaring river Chenab to its South can be seen. The premises of the ‘Kartik’ Swami temple are situated at a prominent place. there is a vast ground in front of temple, a two room suite, a kitchen and a toilet for the convenience of the pilgrims.
The picnic spot of Bharnoin, below Pochhal village, 3 kilometers away from Kishtwar town is known for its eye-captivating beauty. The place is situated in a forest area dense with conifers like deodar and kale trees. The place nearby busting Kishtwar town is cool, calm and pollution free. Down below the slopes of Bharnoin is the majestic view of roaring Chenab whose roar is heard here. Side by side is the beautiful forest patch of ‘Bindraban’. The whole area is, indeed, full of mesmerizing beauty.
The Kishtwar Development authority has constructed a ‘Shelter Shed’ a toilet block, an eating point, viewing deck and some view points keeping in view the eco aspect of development. The place is full of hustle and bustle created by various picnic parties. After this place, the visitors feel themselves free of stress and strain and return relaxed.
A place of attraction for the tourists are the saffron fields of Kishtwar located mainly in Pochhal, Hatta, Bera-Bhatta, Matta and Berwar villages nearby Kishtwar town. Saffron flowers are in full blossom in the months of October and November every year, so this time is the best for visit to Saffron Safari. The view of purple colored Saffron flowers, spread like a blanket over the fields, early in the morning is, really, enthralling and mesmerizing. The fragrance scattered by this blossom in the atmosphere gives a heavenly touch the environment. Early in the morning women folk, men and children in their colorful attires go to the saffron fields for plucking flowers, preferably, before sun-rise otherwise its red carpel’s get separated from the petals after sun rise, causing inconvenience in handling these later on.
For the convenience of the tourists and their comfortable stay at Pochhal, the Kishtwar Development Authority has constructed a rest house there.
1. Kishtwar-Chhatroo-Synthen Top- Dakshum-Anantnag Circuit
The circuit having matchless beauty is one of the most beautiful toursit circuits of the country. Recently, on 26th and 27th June 2010, a motor rally was organised by the “Himalayan Motor Sports” in which 33 racers, drawn from various states of the country, passed through this beautiful circuit. It traversed through Dakshum, Synthen, Mughal Maidan, Kishtwar, Udhampur, Mansar, Surinsar, Jammu, rajouri, Poonch, Mughal Road, Shopian and back to Srinagar. The motor rally has attracted the attention of the adventure tourists of this country and the world towards this beautiful region, hither to neglected. The government of Jammu and Kashmir has taken up the construction of road, with liberal central assistance, from Kishtwar to Dakshum via Synthen Top through GREF. The road is operational now. The government is also proposing to connect this circuit to Kathua, Bani, Bhaderwah, Doda circuit which will open an area of immense natural beauty, places of pilgrimage and adventure for the local as well as the foreign tourists. This road will also be the most comfortable road for the Yatries of baba Amar Nath Ji or reavhing the base camp at Pahalgam within shortest possible time.
The place is situated at a distance of about 12 Kms from kishtwar town on Kishtwar-Synthen-Anantnag road. A big mela is held here on Baisakhi every year. After a dip in the ‘Sangam’, the visitors pay their obeisance to the two most revered religious places, the Astaan of ‘Shah Zain-ud-Din‘ on the left side of Chanderbhaga, an the ancient ‘Neelgangeshwar’ pond and the temples of other gods and goddesses on the right bank of the river. These two places of religious importance attract thousands of pilgrims not only on Baisakhi but for the whole year round. Cocks and Sheep are offered at the Astaan by both the main communities for taking the blessings of the great saint.
Bhandarkoot, thus, is symbolic of complete mutual brotherhood and communal harmony. A small army cantonment at the place has added to the hustle and bustle of the place. The scenery around Bhandarkoot is quite charming. This is an ideal place for rock climbing.
Eight kilometers ahead of Bhandaroot comes Mughal-Maidan a scenic spot on the bank of Chatroo river. The market place and some govt. buildings and add to the beauty of this place. The place is being developed as tourist spot. Chatroo River is known for rearing ‘Trout’ fish. Therefore the fisheries Department of Jammu and Kashmir had established a ‘Fish-Hatchery’ here and constructed some buildings, Fish trade, if promoted, will raise the economic standard of the people.
From chingam onwards, we find an ascending road amidst Zigzag road and forest cover; we reach Synthen Maidan, 60 kilometers away from Kishtwar. The alpine pastures of this place have matchless natural beauty. The cool and salubrious climate of the place has a refreshing effect on the tourists. Here we find unending slopes and plain meadows on the foot of the Synthen-top. The place is ideal for games like Para-gliding, horse riding, rock climbing and winter games like skiing, skating, ice –hockey etc.
24 kilometers ahead of Synthen Maidan is the Synthen Top at an altitude of 3784 meters from sea level. On reaching the top, one feels at the top of the world, quite light and detached from the worldly worries. View of the surrounding area is very charming. A potato farm established here by the Agriculture Department yields a good potato-crop which is superior in quality and tasty to eat. From Synthen top, the descending road leads to Daksum, a health resort of Anantnag district in the Kashmir valley.
There are several other picnic spots in Kishtwar like Har Gaddi, Tel Mochay, Godresh Naag, Varda on NH1B,Gali Gaad on Sarthal road and various other fascinating and eye-captivating places are here in Kishtwar. You can enjoy the real charm of natural beauty.
2. Kishtwar-Dool-Nagseni-Paddar-Suncham Tourist Circuit
DOOL DAM:- 22kms ahead of Kishtwar town is a water body at Dool, the site of the Dool-Dam of the famous Dul Hasti Hydroelectric Project of 390MW capacity. The NHPC has constructed a good road up to the Dam site. The water body formed due to the construction of 65 meters high dam on Chenab is being developed for water sports as the surroundings area of the reservoir has a huge potential to attract tourists.
Dul dam is one of the four water bodies of Jammu region namely Mansar, saruinsar, bagilar dam and Dool dam for which experts of the Goa based ‘national Institute of Water Sports’ have recommended boating and water sports. Use of motor boats and Shikaras with specific horse power and seating capacity has been recommended for this water body. The department of the tourism has decided to encourage private participation in starting these activities here. The department will provide license for operation of boats, make rescue boats available, take safety measure, set up launching pads, jetties, view points and all other basic infrastructure but for the purchase of boats and Shikaras private participation will be encouraged and provided proper training and guidance. At present the KDA has completed the following works at site:-
A guest House
HRT Building to be used for training purpose
A park in about 8kanals of land.
A work shop for repair of boats and Shikaras
On the start of the boating, avenue for the employment of the local youth will usher in an era of economic prosperity in the area.
At a distance of about 30 Kms from kishtwar town by bus we reach Padyarna village, the block headquarter of Nagseni block where from historical sites of Nagseni block can be visited. 8 to 20 Kms above Padyarna are some villages where ruins of stone- temples, broken idols and stone inscriptions have been found. Padyarna, a picturesque spot on the right bank of Chenab. Qomiye Naag is also a place where you must visit.
3. Kishtwar-Dachhan-Marwah-Margan Top-Anantnag Tourist Circuit
The circuit abounds in matchless natural beauty, forests with rich flora and fauna, meadows and pastures and places of interest for adventures, mountaineers, film makers, rock climbers and sportsmen. This circuit has, already, attracted hundereds of trekkers during early seventees when the ‘Youth Hostel’s Association of India’ organized trekking on this circuit by making Kishtwar, the base camp. foreign Mountaineers have been visiting this area to scale a number of internationally famous mountain peaks and places of absorbing natural beauty.
From Bhandarkoot, 12kms away from Kishtwar, one has to go alog Kishtwar-Marwah road up to Patimhala, the last bus point, 32 kms away from kishtwar. From Patimhala onwards light vehicles take us to Ikhala further 6kms away. Ikhala, a beautiful village situated amidst sylvan scenery on the bank of ‘Mariv Sudhir’ has a Guest House made by the forest department, where tourist can have a comfortable night stay. Ahead of Ikhala, we have to travel on foot or on horse back. The path passing through sky-rising mountains, dense forest cover with rich flora and fauna. gushing streams and water falls keeps off the tiredness of the journey. there are few habitations on the way from Ikhala to Dachhan sparsely populated till we reach sounder, the gate way to Dachhan valley.
This place is situated at a distance of about 20 Kms from Ikhala. The village has natural beauty in the true sense of the word. As it lies within the precincts of ‘Kishtwar National Park’ , so it has much offer to the tourists. The J&K state P.W.D., Wild-Life and Forest Departments have constructed Rest-Houses here where tourists are provided the facilities of boarding and lodging. Mountaineers who want to reach the ‘Brahma Peaks’ via Kiber nalla can make this place as their base camp. It is also the base camp of famous ‘Hud Mata yatra’ which starts from Radha Krishen Temple here in the month of July every year.
Some other tourist places in this circuit are SIRSHI, Nanth Nalla, Kiyar Nalla Marwah and Warwan valley.
INSHAN, the head quarter of Warwan block has now been connected witha motor able road from the Kashmir Valley side and it is hoped that the area will now get due attention as far as its development from tourism point of view is concerned. As Warwan valley is now open for tourist flow from Anantnaag so time is not far when it will find its due place in the tourist map of India.
The famous mountain peaks ‘NUN’ and ‘KHUN’ can be reached easily from the Sukhnai village of Warwan by crossing ‘Lanwilla’ pass. From Inshan the ascending motor able road leads us to Margan Top at a height of 4470 Mtrs above sea level and thence from the descending road takes us to Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley.