Aharbal Waterfalls Known for its Photography, Skiing, Trekking and Horseback Riding

Aharbal Waterfall is a beautiful falls in Kulgam district, in Jammu & Kashmir state of India.

Aharbal Waterfalls near SriNagar, Kashmir.
Aharbal Waterfalls near SriNagar, Kashmir.

The fall is known as the ‘Niagara of Kashmir’. Aharbal falls lies on Veshu river, a tributary of River Jhelum. The falls is in an Alpine valley famous for its pine & fir trees and the area is part of the “Pir Panjal mountains”.

Aharbal town is famous for Adventure tourism. Veshu river is rich in Trouts and fishing permit needs to be taken for the tourists to go for fishing here. The area is famous for trekking also. Other activities includes Horseback riding, skiing and photography.

How Do I Go to Aharbal Waterfalls?

The falls is situated at around 65 kilometers south of Srinagar. Its at a distance of 8 kilometers from the Mughal Road, which connects Srinagar with Poonch. Srinagar is connected to other parts of India and rail, road and flights. Awantipora railway station is the nearest railway station at around 25 kilometers away. Srinagar is the nearest major railway station. There is an International airport at Srinagar; Sheikh ul Alam Airport.

The falls is at around 18 kilometers south of Shopian, the nearest town. Kulgam town is at around 28 kilometers away.

Lack of Food Stalls Near Aharbal Waterfalls

There are no food stalls or hotels near the falls. You need to get the food packed and then go to Aharbal Waterfalls.

Baglihar Dam Across Chenab River

Baglihar Dam is a 144 meter high Dam built by India across Chenab River in southern Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir state.

Panorama of Baglihar DamPanorama of Baglihar Dam

Baglihar Dam’s Stage-I of 450 Mega Watt (MW) Baglihar Hydel Power Project was inaugurated in October 10th, 2008. Construction of this work was started nine years back in 1999. Stage-II of 450 megawatt Baglihar Hydel Power Project was inaugurated in November 2015 by the Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi. This dam is also known as Baglihar Hydroelectric Power Project. This dam has now a total power production capacity of 900 Mega Watts.

Pakistan has initially raised some disputes related to this Dam, at various international forums like World Bank. Professor Raymond Lafitte, a Swiss civil engineer appointed by World Bank to resolve the issue, declared his final verdict on February 12, 2007; forcing some changes like reduction in the height of dam structure, pondage capacity, and raising of power intake tunnels.

On 1st June , 2010, both India and Pakistan has resolved the issues at the meeting of the Permanent Indus Water Commission and agreed not to raise the issue further, ending years of dispute, once for all.

How Do I Go to Baglihar Dam?

Anantnag is at around 130 kilometers distance from this massive barrage over Chenab River.
Srinagar is at a distance of around 180 kilometers from the Dam. Pathankot in Punjab is also almost at the distance from this dam in Doda district of Jammu & Kashmir state.

Phugtal Monastery in Ladakh

Phugtal Monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, in Kargil district, Jammu & Kashmir state. Phugtal Monastery is located in the remote Lungnak Valley in south-eastern Zanskar taluk. The Phuktal Monastery is built like a honeycomb around a natural cave, which is believed to have been in existence for more than 2,550 years. The present Phuktal Gompa of the Gelug lineage was established here in the 14th century by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo.

Phugtal Monastery
Phugtal Monastery.

Phugtal Monastery is also known as Phuktal Monastery or Phugtal Gompa and the Monastery can only be reached by foot. Supplies to the Phuktal monastery are brought on donkeys, horses, and mules in the warmer months. In the frozen winters, supplied are brought through the frozen Zanskar River.

Monastery here houses about 70 Buddhist monks. The monastery is built on a cliff, right under a cave entrance. The foundation is built with clay and twigs. The earliest inhabitants of the cave were the 16 followers of Gautama Buddha, whose images are there on the cave walls of the Phugtal Monastery.

How do I Go to Phugtal Monastery?

Phugtal Monastery is very difficult to reach . One can drive up to Zanskar from Padum by road and then need to trek, the remaining part. It requires lot of trekking (anywhere around 7 to 9 hours trekking alone) and its not a place for ordinary tourists. You need to cross many a Himalayan mountain passes to reach the Monastery via villages of Anmu and then Cha. A few houses offer home stay facility in Cha.

Another option is to go to the village Purne, on the opposite side of the river Lungnak and you need to cross wooden bridges en route. The second route is wider and not so high as mentioned in the first option.

Its advisable to opt for a group tour package from any reliable tour operator.

Wular Lake, the Largest Fresh Water Lake in India

Wular Lake in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir state is the largest fresh water lake in India. Jhelum River feeds Wular Lake. The size of the lake varies according to seasons; from 30 square kilo meters to 260 square kilo meters (or from 12 sq. miles to 100 sq. miles). Wular Lake was known by name “Mahapadamsar ” in ancient times.

Wular LakeWular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir state, India.

The Jhulam river feeds the Wular lake. The Jhulam river flows into the Wular lake at around 40 kilometers down from Srinagar city, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state. The Jullam river flows out of Wular lake at the southern part of the lake in Sopur, at around 35 kilometers North – West of Srinagar. Sopur is at around 16 kilometers South – West of Baramulla city. National Highway, NH 1, connects Sopur with Srinagar.

Government of India jointly with Jammu & Kashmir State Tourism department and Kerala State Tourism department have recently introduced water ski and water sports along with boating facilities in Wular Lake.

Wular lake is designated as a “Ramsar site” as per the “Ramsar Convention” held at Ramsar (Iran) in 1971, where an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, was signed initially by 21 counties. Currently, 168 countries are signatories to this treaty and around 2000 ‘Ramsar sites’ exists internationally, United Kingdom leads the list with 170 ‘Ramsar sites’. Bolivia has the Largest Area (140,000 square kilometers) in terms of ‘Ramsar sites’.

There was an artificial island in the middle of the lake built in the 14th century. Later on, this island has joined with the lake shores due to slitting and is a picnic spot now.

The Tulbul Project, (work was started in 1984) is a barrage (partly constructed by India) at the mouth of Wular Lake. Tulbul Project was planned to control the flow of water into the the Jhulam river to maintain the required water level, mainly for navigational purpose (boating). The project work was suspended in 1987 due to objection from Pakistan on grounds of violation of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.

What is the ideal time to visit Wular Lake, the Largest Fresh Water Lake in India?

Wular lake is known for dangerous winds and waves! Tourism is at its peak during the months of June, July and August and these months are considered as the ideal time to visit the Wular lake.

Ladakh, The Land of High Passes

Ladakh is region in the Jammu and Kashmir state of India. Ladakh is the Land of High Passes, which were used for trade purposes. Zoji-La pass is the gateway of the Ladakh.

LadakhTaglang La mountain pass in Ladakh. Photo Source : Creative commons .

Ladakh is a land with very limited population, largely with Tibetan culture, in the high ranges of Himalayan mountains. Ladakhi population consists of Buddhists from Tibet and Muslims in almost equal proportion.

Tibetan border is on the eastern side of Ladakh. Leh is the most populous and largest town in Ladakh. Kargil and Leh and the two districts in the region. The Kargil War was fought here in this region in 1999.

Many rock carvings dating back to the ‘New Stone Age’ were found found in Ladakh. This suggests that humans inhibited Ladakh, in around 10,200 BC (or earlier).

The Siachan glacier area in the north eastern corner of Ladakh is considered as one of the highest battlefields of the world, with constant conflict between Indian and Pakistani military.

The area is diverse in flora and fauna. Many migratory birds come to this area, when other parts of India experience summer. Yaks are found in large numbers in this region. Barley, wheat, peas, etc, are the main cultivation found in this region. Vegetables are also cultivated int he region. Funnel water from the ice and snow of the Himalayas irrigate the lands! Fruits, especially Apricot is a major exporting item from this region. The area is also famous for Kashmiri woolen fabric. Famous Cashmere shawls are made from this fabric.

Ladakh is famous a Indian tourism center and is known for its adventure tourism related activities. There are many who trek from Srinagar to Leh, which may take around a fortnight.

If Non-Indian citizens wish to visit the areas of Dah-Hanu, Nubra, Pangong Lakes, Tsomoriri, Tsokar, etc. (beyond Leh), it is mandatory to approach a recognized travel agent or District collector office and get the necessary inner line permit. This rule, which was applicable to Indian citizens also, was changed on 24 April 2014 (provided you are traveling with a valid Identity document) by the J&K state government.

How Do I Go to The Land of High Passes, Ladakh?

The conventional route is the Srinagar – Lak route. There are buses between Srinagar and Leh, operated by J&K state road transport corporation. These buses normally halt at Kargil for an overnight stay. Chartered luxury buses are also operated by J&K state road transport corporation. Cars and Jeeps for available for hire, at Srinagar (and at Lak for return journey). Tourist operators arrange deluxe luxury buses. The distance is around 435 kilometers. This route is open from early June to November end.

Manali-Leh road is a new road which connects the hill station Manali with Leh, which is open during mid June to early October. Taklang-La pass, world’s second highest motor-able pass is in this route, at an altitude of 5,235 meters or 17,469 feet. There are many other mountain passes also in the 473 km long Manali-Leh route. Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir state road transport corporations operate ordinary and deluxe bus services in this route. The journey takes around 2 days and passengers have to take an overnight stay at Serchu or Pang.

There are a few flights to Leh from New Delhi, Srinagar and Jammu.