123 Kms from Srinagar, Gurez is the Utopia You're Searching!

Attributes: Unusual Travel Places in India, Hill Station

Famous for its breathtaking beauty, Kashmir valley covered by the lofty mountains in the northern part of India is popularly known as “Paradise on earth”. Tourist destinations like Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Mughal Gardens, Dal-Lake, and Sonamarg need no introduction among the locals as well the visitors.  A visit to Kashmir normally means visiting all these above places.

But there is a little-known place called Gurez- a virgin valley, which many also attribute as God’s own country. Gurez, a small valley, located in the high Himalayas, is about 123 kilometers north of Srinagar, the summer capital of J&K. At about 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level, the valley is surrounded by snow capped mountains, kissing clouds.

Breathtaking meadows and lush green plateaus, just add your attraction towards the place. On the way to Gurez, one has to travel through numerous villages which depict the traditional and ancient Kashmiri culture. One shouldn’t miss a traditional Kashmiri tea Nunchai (salt tea) at a roadside kiosk with bread made of wheat or maize flour. 

Apart from the breathtaking beauty and gushing streams flowing icy water, heavy military footprints are a cause of inconvenience at the place which is simply married to bewitching beauty. Forces register the visitors and also check suspicious belongings before one enters Gurez. Being close to Pakistan border, Gurez has a high concentration of army soldiers.

A few years ago, tourists required to get a temporary visa to visit this God’s own country, but the visa formalities are no more needed now; thanks to the efforts of its incumbent Member of Legislative Assembly. The drive to Gurez is a bumpy ride as the surface of the road is almost in shambles; courtesy government’s callous attitude towards the area.

Gurez, apart from being a lesser known tourist spot, has a key historical importance. Kashmir was connected to Gilgit via Silk Route, the road cuts through Gurez. Kashmir’s only indigenous ruler Yusuf Shah Chak was also Gurez.

The life in Gurez is different than rest of the Kashmir. The area is devoid of the communication network. No internet addiction means no Facebook or WhatsApp. The people live a simple life. They make every effort to make it a place of solace.

June to August is said to be the best time to visit this virgin valley as the only narrow road link opens only for few months to connect the region with the outside world. So, by now, if you have decided to pack your bags and live with the Mother Nature, I wish you a happy journey.

Author and Picture Credit: Sameer Showkin

 

Tags: gurez, srinagar

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