Valley of Kashmir often referred to as the paradise on earth is famous for its enchanting beauty, pleasant and favourable climate. The world famous tourist places like Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Mughal gardens and Doodhpathri are seeing a heavy rush of local and national visitors these days. Few weeks back Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan also shooted a film Dunki here alongside Taapsee Panu. Due to abundance of snow clad mountains, lofty hills, vast green meadows and freshwater lakes and streams, Kashmir is the first choice of majority of national and foreign tourists intending to spend the summer vacations in order to have some relaxing days post heavy and hectic busy days of their life.
To refresh mind and soul and to explore the unexplored natural beauty of our valley, our school Govt BHS Anderwan Ganderbal went for a day’s outing to world famous Yousmarg of district Budgam. Students were anxious and craved for a picnic to a health resort a few weeks ago but the erratic weather conditions didn’t permit them to go for an excursion and finally it was set on 10th of June after reviewing the climatic conditions. The weather was kind enough to let us enjoy the day. A day before on Friday students were let free after Friday prayers to make some preparations for the outing and were directed to report to the school campus at 7:30 am sharp next morning. However to our utter astonishment and surprise most of them had arrived an hour before. They were over joyous and excitement was apparent from their faces. It reminded me of my own studentship days when I would rarely have a sound sleep the night following which I had to go for an excursion.
I would even keep my shoes and uniform close to my bed so that the following day there were less chances of time waste. I would like any other guy to wake up early in the morning and prepare for the outing. After assembling in the school campus, two local teachers namely Rafiq sahib and Mushtaq Sahib lead them to the bus stop where they boarded the respective buses and started their journey exactly at 7:45 am. Four teachers of Arhama village were waiting for them at Arhama and other four including me at Dursuma. Headmaster Sahib of the institution joined us at Ganderbal since he is hailing from the historically important Tullamulla village of the district. From Chanapora Srinagar onwards students got newer experiences of travel, architecture and roadways. Prior to this they seldom had travelled through such adorable and densely populated areas. While traveling from Ganderbal to Srinagar they chanted varied prayers and occasionally sang some melodious Hindi and Gojri songs. Some even were so excited that they danced to tunes of soulful songs in the bus. Many talented guys of artistic abilities were discovered during the trip. From Nagam chadoora the road leading to Chararishareef has signboards on both sides painted by the poetry of Sheikh Noor Din Noorani ra.
Amid apple and cherry orchards finally we reached Chararishareef, the town of Sheikh Noor Din Noorani ra. Before entering the shrine of Sheikh we took a cup of fresh warm Lipton tea in a local hotel. Children too were busy in purchasing the items of their choice. We had to wait for some time at the main gate of the shrine as the honorable Chief Justice of JK was there at that time and security agencies didn’t let common people enter the shrine premises. They were allowed only after he came out. We spent an hour or two there, praying and seeking blessings. Charari Sharief is the last resting place of revered spiritual saint of valley Sheikh Noor Din Noorani ra. He has visited every corner of the valley preaching the noble teachings of God and through his poetry in native language made people understand the principles and message of the Quran. Dried pear slices, firepots and many other things of Charari Sharief are famous all over the valley.
From Charari Sharief we straight away moved to Yusmarg the meadow of Jesus according to some legends. 53 kilometres from summer capital Srinagar, Yousmarg provides space for beautiful landscapes, young pine nurseries, green pastures and heart touching lotic and lentic water bodies. Nilnag, Doodhganga and a nascently created artificial dam Sudri Mouj Dam adds more to the beauty of the meadows. Nature has bestowed Yusmarg with pleasant flora and fauna. Yusmarg is often referred to as a trekkers paradise.
The vast green meadows of Yusmarg add to its enchanting beauty and cool climate. Both students and the teaching faculty after spending an hour in the green meadows went for lunch. There was a prediction of erratic weather but later it was kind enough for us and didn’t irritate us in any way. We enjoyed a lot at Yousmarg, students were overjoyed to move in vast green meadows and were busy taking selfies amid woods because after a pretty long busy classwork they felt somewhat free to enjoy themselves in the lap of nature.
In Yousmarg the Doodhganga Nalla is famous for its crystal clear and pollution free ice-cold water. Every visitor enjoys the trekking from Yousmarg meadows to Doodhganga Nalla to get mesmerized by its natural beauty. I along with my Headmaster took an opportunity to visit the site. We both enjoyed the trip and were encountered both by local and national visitors during our to and fro journey. After reaching the Doodhganga Nalla site we spent some memorable moments on the banks of Doodhganga Nalla. Glimpse of the dense woods freshened our mind and soul.
We felt relaxed and realised the value of a serene atmosphere. Seeing others we took out our cellphones and clicked some photos. Along the track some temporary hotels erected by some unemployed youth compel every passerby to taste the famous Kashmiri pink salt tea along with the bread made from corn flour by women on traditional chullahs. It was 5:30pm the moment we reached back at Yusmarg main stop. Then we called all the students and directed them to board the buses to move towards Pakherpora where the famous shrine of Syed Ali Aali Balkhi ra is a must visited place. Whosoever visits Chararishareef and Yousmarg definitely visits this shrine also. We prayed Asar prayers there and bought Halwa paratha and other items for home. After spending an hour there we finally turned back to our homes. While returning back, students didn’t feel exhausted and tired but were pleased after a day’s trip to Yousmarg. They enjoyed the buses even during the back journey and sang different songs. Their parents were eagerly waiting for them at Anderwan main stop when we reached back at 10:35pm.
– The writer hails from Qazigund Kashmir. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org