Introduction to KashmirForum.org Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.
www.kashmirforum.org

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kounsarnag

Iqbal brings us in touch with joys of Kashmir

(Mr. Iqbal Ahmad, 48, was born in Parigam Chek, Kulgam. He is a graduate with Diploma in Numismatics, Archaeology and Heritage. He is an archaeologist, writer, and a cultural historian. He is employed by the Jammu and Kashmir State Government. Mr. Iqbal Ahmad has published 12 reference books on Kashmir archaeology and heritage.)

Exploring the Snow Covered Sites of Kounsarnag.

The triangular mountain peaks of Pir Panchal range to the south of the valley above the Kounsernag are usually named as ‘Kounserin Kothera’ -rooms of Kounsar, by the people living in the adjacent and surrounding areas. These glorious peaks remain under snow throughout the year. The glaciers also serve as the source to the rising waters of four major hill springs namely, Sarkanch, Brahim, Sir-Chher-Sar and Dunth-Sar. These are the main tributaries for the famous southern stream called Vishow.

The larger spring called Kounsar Nag is the most famous hill spring of the southern Kashmir. Situated over a rocky bed, the spring measures about three miles in circumference. Its waters are blue while ice blocks float in it throughout the year. This is also a historic spring in the sense that famous King of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin (Bud Shah) is believed to be a regular visitor to at the sight. The great king would make sure that each season he spends time at this amazing place.

Besides the lustrous beauty and impeccable glaciers, Kousar Nag is also famous for various curious legends and mysterious stories associated with it. Once Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom, the patron saint of Kashmir is learnt to have sent one of his disciple to this spring who was, the legend says, attacked by the water beat. The saint, who was engaged in some work back at his place, hurled a stick towards a wall exposing blood stains on it. The other disciples were taken aback and inquired about it. The saint is believed to have informed them that the disciple who was sent to the spring was attacked by a water beat while the saint had rescued him by killing the beast.

A historic legend accounted by Hassan in his monumental book, Tareekh-i-Hassan also recorded a similar event. He writes that he visited this spring alongwith a saint and some friends. One of them jumped into the waters and his feet were swallowed by a dangerous animal. While providing the description of this beast, Hassan says “the animal was two cubits in length and its width at the lower side was one cubit and towards the head eight gavels. Its skin was hard”.

Apart from this, these hill springs, situated in the south of this valley, are worth seeing. One can also enjoy the glorious beauty of Zaig Marg, Haka Wass, Gogal Marg Chitinand Astan Marg and Kongwatton slopes. All these meadows are also worth seeing. The green waters of these hill springs dances through these vast meadows and compile a splendid look worth seeing. The small streams later on join at Sangan, few kilometers below the beautiful meadow of Kongwatton.

The blue water of all these springs which constitute the stream of Vishu, flow through the Sangam pass at a point between Kunsar Nag and Kunghwatten in the shape of a narrow channel and later falls below like a sheet of water from a height of 300 to 400 cubits. The great height from which it falls when club with the winds flowing provide a wonderful spectacle of divine power. This great place is called Aharbal water fall. Perhaps this is the only grand water fall found in whole of the valley.

This wonderful waterfall has occupied a prominent place in the travel history of this part of the world. It has been one of the most attractive tourist spots of the valley and stands visited by olden Kings, Rajas and Maharajas. The place had been of the great interest to Mughals, Hassan says, ‘all the Mughal nobles were proud of this water fall’.

Zafar Khan Ashan has expressed the glorying beauty of this water fall in his Persian lyric as follows:

“ze Janat Chand gooi Aay Sokhanwar
Nadaarad Aab- Sharee Mughal Akbar”


In the olden times, these hill springs, meadows and water fall of Ahrabal has been of significant tourist value. During Maharaja Period too, many European travelers are recoded to have visiting these sites and enjoyed advantage of the adventure tourism here. The trekking and scatting like events of Kounsar Nag are also well recoded in the archival records of the land.

But later a period came when state holders adopted an indifferent approach towards these southern tourist sites. They totally neglected these glorious sites while as emphasis was laid on Phalgam, Gulmarg and Sonmarg tourist sites. Phalgam and Gulmarg shined on the state tourist map while as the olden sites of Kounsar Nag got replaced from the tourist records. But thanks to nature, despite public neglect the pristine glory of these sites was maintained to the fullest. These remain the spots least polluted by human greed and selfishness. It is, but, nature which has been doing this incredible job while as the government’s continue to neglect these sights.
But the negligence has, till now, come as a blessing in disguise as these sites remained safe and secure from the human vandalism. As such their natural beauty is well intact. Let the tourism department come forward and re-explore these sites but in a mature and nature friendly way.

1 comment:

jog said...

I have viited the lake in late 90's and I found thi lake totally different. It i an amazing nature's creation and the track i not too tough. It can be trekked through the beautifull valley namely koungwattan. I was a kid at that time n I always wish to visit the lake once more. I was motivated by the words of Mr. Iqbal Sahab which tempeted me to visit surely next time.