Places of Interest

Doodhpathri

Doodhpathri (translation; Valley of Milk) is a tourist destination and hill station in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.It is located in Budgam district of Jammu & Kashmir. Situated at an altitude of 8,957 ft from sea level, and located at a distance of 42 km from state summer capital Srinagar and 22 km from district headquarter Budgam.

History and Etymology:-

The name “doodpathri” means Valley of Milk. It is said that the famous saint of Kashmir Sheikh ul Aalam Sheikh Noor din Noorani has prayed here and once when he was in search of water in the meadows, to offer prayers, he pricked the ground with his stick to search for water and milk came out. He asked the milk that you can only be used for drinking and not performing ablution. Hearing this milk at once changed its state to water and the meadow got its name Doodpathri. The water which is at present flowing through the meadows has a milky appearance from the distance and remains very cold throughout the year. The lush green grasses over the vast meadows and silver shining streams running over the large stones further increase its beauty. Doodhpathri is sloping grassy landscapes with a diversity of multicolored flowers up to Chang. The famous Tosamaidan lies in the west of Doodpathri.

Geography:-

Doodhpathri lies in a bowl shaped valley in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, at an altitude of 2,730 m (8,957 ft) above sea level. It is an alpine valley covered with snow clad mountains and the meadows of Pine Fir and Deodar. The natural meadows, which are covered with snow in winter, allow the growth of wild flowers such as daisies, forget-me-nots and butter cups during spring and summer.

Demographics:-

Doodhpathri has no permanent settlement and is inaccessible during winter due to heavy snowfall.In summer shepherds from the plains of district budgam bring cattle for grazing and remain at doodhpathri seasonally for about six months.

Places around Doodhpathri:-

Main attraction of Doodhpathri is Tangnar, Mujpather, Dophkhal, Sochilpather, Palmaidan and Parihas.

  • Tangnar:This place comes on the way 2 km before doodpathri,it is a beautiful place of small valleys with deaodar and pine trees on small hills.
  • Mujpathri:Mujpathri(translation;Valley of Turnip) is a small hamlet 3 km from doodpathri,it is situated on the bank of river shaliganga.
  • Palmaidan:Palmaidan (Translation;Big stones ground)the name of this place is after the “Big Stones” because there are huge stones all around the ground.It situated at a distance of about 5 km from doodpathri and is the favorite spot of shepherds and cowboys where shepherds and cowboys gather in large numbers in summer and graze their cattle and livestock.It is beautiful place with a small stream running on one side of the ground.The place is rich in deodar and pine trees.
  • Diskhal:It is a beautiful meadow on the top of the mountain and overlooks the Ashtaar glacier. It is around 10 km trek from Shaliganga nallah in Dodhpathri.

Access:-

Doodhpathri is easily accessible from Srinagar or Srinagar Airport ,in under 2–3 hours from car or bus. The routes of doodhpathri  are from Srinagar to Budgam, Budgam to Khansahib and Khansahib to Doodhpathri via Raiyar total distance of about 42 km. Another route is from Srinagar Gulmarg road,the route starts from Srinagar to Magam, Magam to Beerwah and Beerwah to Arizal total distance about 50 km.

Yusmarg:-

Located in Bagdam district, Meadows of Jesus or Yusmarg is known for its long stretches of green pastures. An ideal tourist attraction that in its humblest of ways teaches to revere nature, Yusmarg is a proud part of the Valley of Kashmir. Embark on trails that lead to exotic places like Sang-e-Safed Valley and Nilnag. Away from the confines of the mundane, Yusmarg is a little paradise in its own right.

The jewel of Bagdam district, Yusmarg shelters many picture perfect locales. It mesmerizes tourists with its natural beauty through destinations like Sang-e-Safed valley; Yusmarg is also famed for having some exceptional springs of flowers. It has some of the highest peaks in PirPanjal range including Tattakutti (4,725 m) and Sunset Peak (4,746m). The majestic river Doodh Ganga also makes this destination more thrilling and challenging. The mighty natural slopes of Yusmarg provide skiing opportunities to adventure enthusiasts. On the other side, the holy shrine of Charar-e-Sharif endows blessing to the entire regions and is reckoned to protect the land from all kinds of mishaps. The timeless beauty of Yusmarg captivates the hearts of the visitors and compels them to return from time to time.

Access:-

Yusmarg is easily accessed from Srinagar or Srinagar Airport , the capital of Jammu and Kashmir, 47 km. The drive in under 2 hours by car or bus leads through Charari Sharief town. During winter the road sometimes gets closed due to snowfall and remains cut off from the Kashmir Valley for weeks.

Tosa Maidan :-

Tosa Maidan is meadow in khag tehsil of Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir.Tosa Maidan is not only famous as a pasture but also for its historical background. Bounded by dense forests, it is situated about 10 kms from Khag in the mountains of the Himalayan range. After crossing the upper mountain reaches of Drang, Zakhora and other small villages, one reaches the pasture of Tosa Maidan. It is said that Tosa Maidan is one of those pastures which the shepherds of other neighbouring countries also used to visit in ancient times. The Mughals used to go to Poonch using this route. It is said that they had constructed a seven-storeyed building – Dam-Dam – here.

The Basmai Gali(13,000 ft) is the pass which leads into Tosa Maidan. Another pass – Poonch Gali – on its right side leads to the valley of Poonch. This pass was deemed to be the safest, easiest, and nearest to reach Punjab in ancient times. From here, a path also leads to Nilnag. Tosa Maidan is the largest pasture in its surrounding areas, 3 miles in length and 1.5 miles in width. Sky-touching deodars fence this pasture presenting a view of a green carpet in summer. During the summer, the camps of the Gujjar community and shepherds with their grazing sheep in the pastures present a riveting picture. Also, the fragrance of wild flowers refreshes the whole environment.

Tosa Maidan was leased to the army in 1964 for setting up an artillery firing range in a 50-year lease that ended on 18 April 2014. Local residents were fighting against the extension of the lease.This beautiful tourist spot is in Khag tehsil of Budgam district. The best time to visit Tosa Maidan is summer especially from April to September.

The lease was not renewed  and Tosa Maidan has been officially opened to visitors from 30 May 2016.

Pehjan:-

Pehjan is an alpine pasture situated about 25 km from Khag in the lap of the Himalayas. The route of the place is from Khag to Gogaldara via Anzwaer. The place is serene, picturesque and rich in deodars covered with various kinds of asters and several plants of saussuera lappa (Kuth).To reach this alpine pasture, one has to cross the green slopes of Gogaldara, Donwar, Brari Pather, Anzwaer and Yanga Pather. In local language it is called “Nueer”. The place is covered with lush green forest on four sides and in the month of June shepherds from plains of tehsil Beerwah, Magam, Pattan bring their cattle and sheep for grazing.On the way to Pehjan there is a huge rock with Seven Pinus trees on its top (locally known as Satte Yaeer) which is considered to be the miracle of Sheikh ul Alam Sheikh Noor Din Noorani, besides this other Pinus tree erected on one of the big stone (locally known as Palle Yaeer) is also considered to be his miracle. Wular lake can be seen from this place.

Nakwaer Pal (Nocturnal Rock)

On the way to alpine pasture Pehjan, there is the 14,000 ft-high Nakwaer Pal (the nostril rock) on the way. It is the highest peak of this range. About this rock it is said that when the Kashmir Valley was a lake (Sati Sar), boats used to be anchored with this rock. Today there is an iron hook within it. (Ded Bal), also known as (Lal Khanen Gher) the Place of Lal Khan falls on the way to pehjan. Here shepherds and Gujjars come from adjacent villages with their livestock.

Naranag:-

Naranag is a spring situated in Bus stand Khag. Naranag spring is also known as Narain Nag. The spring is known for its fishes and a fisheries farm has been built by the fisheries department of Jammu and Kashmir. The water of the spring remains very cool during summer and warm during winter. Tosa Maidan Spring is considered to be the origin of the spring, which according to locals merges with Nara Nag only after flowing various kilometers below the soil. According to local legend, an ascetic passing through Tosa Maidan spring once dropped a bag full of sheep dung into the lake. When he reached naranag Khag several days later, he saw the dung floating on the surface of the Naranag. He returned to Tosa Maidan and sprinkled some turmeric powder into the lake, which appeared in the water in the Naranag.

Sita Haran (Sutharan)

Known for its spring, Sitaharan is located near Tosa Maidan and the Line of Actual Control. According to local legend, (Vanvas) Ram Chander stayed here during his 12-year-long exile with Lakshman and Sita. The spring’s name comes from Sita who is said to have bathed in the spring.The name got later changed toSut Haran. Close to the spring is a rock which, according to the legend, was used by Sita to sit on. The spring is also said to be the origin of a small lake, Tosa maidan. The water of the spring is very sweet.

Ahij Kol:-

Ahij Kol, a mountain spring starting from the district of Budgam, flows through numerous villages and valleys including the Khag Valley. The spring unties with river Jhelum after going through several pastures and forests. Sukhnag is the common source for Ahij Kol spring, Sona Maen spring and Laen Kol spring.

Gandhak:-

Gandhak Nag, located in Darang Khaipora village in the Budgam district, is a spring that contains sulphur in its waters. The spring is believed to possess medicinal properties, which can cure all kinds of skin ailments. Tourists in a large number come here to bathe in this spring so to get cured of all sorts of skin diseases.

Mala Kol:-

Mala Kol, popularly known as the deaf and dumb stream, is one of the beautiful springs present in the Budgam district. According to a legend, this stream very quietly followed the saint Syed Taj-ud-Din from Sukhnag to Sikandarpora. The spring after flowing through dense forests combines with the Sut Haran.

Nilnag:-

Nilnag is a picturesque lake situated 4 km away from Yousmarg. The path from Yousmarg is quite rough and passes through dense forests. The lake received its name from its clear-blue water where nil stands for blue and nag stands for lake. It is also an ideal picnic spot. A 13 km uphill trek from the lake leads to various other spots.

Tomb of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din(RA)

Tomb of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din, located 28 km from Srinagar at Chrar-e-Sharif, is popular as Alamdar-e-Kashmir or the flag-bearer of Kashmir. It is dedicated to Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani (RA) who spread the religious message of Islam in the valley of Kashmir. Coins were issued in his name after his death by Atta Mohammad Khan, the governor of Afghan. Sangram Dar, who was a disciple of Alamdar-e-Kashmir, constructed a mosque here.

THE SHRINE OF KHAN SAHIB

Situated in the Khan Sahib block of district Budgam, the shrine is associated with a famous saint – Hazrat Salen Khan – who belonged to Pakhla village (now in Pakistan) and came here in the sixteenth century along with his father, Ismail Sahib. On the day of the birth of his son, it is believed, 99 saints visited the house of Ismail Sahab to see the new-born child. At age 5, his uncle, an influential man in the area, wanted to adopt Salen Khan but Ismail Sahib would not agree. When the former exerted pressure, Ismail Sahib took his son along and travelled on foot to Kashmir. On way, Syed Salen Khan met a famous saint – Bu Ali. Syed Salen’s father took his son to Baba Naseeb-ud-Din Gazi, a well- known saint of Kashmir, where the two stayed for over a year. Later, the Baba granted Ismail Sahib permission to leave and Syed Salen Khan stayed back and took religious and spiritual guidance from the Baba for 13 years. Syed Salen Khan also meditated for almost a dozen years in a cave and also stayed for some time in the Srinagar city. Later, he chose a place in a jungle for prayers and meditation. The cave, where he meditated, still exists. During his stay in the cave, people began to visit Syed Salen Khan and soon he was widely known to be a saint of high order. The place came to be known as Khan Sahib after him. Hazrat Syed Saleh Khan passed away on Zeelqad17, 1019 Hijri. He was a fine calligrapher and a copy of the Holy Quran calligraphed by him is available at Watal Kadal, Srinagar. In the month of Zeelqad, a week-long urs (festival) is held at the tomb of Syed Saleh Khan Sahib.

IMAMBARA BUDGAM

IMAMBARA, Budgam is a major religious place for the Shi’ate Muslims of the Valley. The building of the Imambara was originally constructed in 1857, under the supervision of Aga Syed Mohammad, on the place where famous Shi’ate religious leader Aga Syed Mehdi used to offer prayers. Inside the building was designed by Asgar Ali of Mirgund, Budgam. In 1924, extensions where carried out on the existing structure by Aga Syed Sahib and paper machie work was also under taken. In 1955, another extension was carried out by the Anjuman-e-Shari Shian under Aga Syed Yusuf Al- Mosavi Al-Safvi.

The present octagonal Imambara has five main entrances each of 12 ft. width. One of the entrances is reserved for the women. Adjacent to the Imambara is a mosque constructed by Aga Syed Yusuf Al-Mosavi Al-Safvi. The Indo- Iranian piece of architecture, the Imambara commands great reverence in the of Shia community of the Valley. Apart from its religious significance, it is equally important as a piece of monumental value.

ZIARAT ALAMDAR-E-KASHMIR

Sheikh Noor-ud-Din (RA) had widely travelled throughout Kashmir. The shrines connected with great sufi saint are found all over the Valley. The distant block of Khag also had the good fortune of receiving the saint and there would hardly be any place here not visited by him during his meditation. The village of Hamchapora also provided him a place to meditate. When Alamdar-e-Kashmir arrived at Khag, he selected a rock for his meditation which bore still bear imprints of his feet. The rock, known as Shah Kean (the king- stone). During his stay at Poshkar, Sheikh-ul-Aalam met a pious lady, Sham Ded, who under his guidance, attained spiritual heights. As the great sufi saint stayed at Hamchapora for long, the place became revered and people started flocking the village which steadily attained the status of a ziarat. The devotees visit the shrine in large numbers to pay their respects.

TOMB OF MIR SHAMAS-UD-DIN IRAQI

The shrine of widely revered Shiete theologist, Mir Shams-ud-Din Araqi is also situated in Chadoora Shamsuddin Iraqi first came to Kashmir towards the close of the15th century. He left Kashmir only to return back in 1502 along with the number of followers. His father was a Mosvi Syed and his mother too was from a Syed family of Qazvin in Iran.

Ziarat-E-Sarkar

Ayatullah Aga Syed Mehdi Al Mausvi Al Najfi

Prominent Aga family of Budgam is the descendent of Mir Syed Shamsuddin Iraqi (RA)

AYATOLLAH AGA SYED MEHDI (RA)

Ayatollah Aga Syed Mehdi, who after staying for 27 long years in Iraq, during which he was awarded the rank of jurisconsult (Mujtahid), returned to his native land in 1880 and started preaching and propagation of Islam. Aga Syed Mehdi was a great scholar and he has left behind number of books dealing on various subjects like Islamic history, jurisprudence etc. Aga Syed Mehdi breathed his last on 21 Ramazan, 1892A.D. and is buried in Budgam.

>AGA SYED MOMAMMAD ALMOSAVI

Aga Syed Mehdi was succeeded by his son, Aga Syed Mohammed, who himself was an eminent scholar and theologian of his time. He laid the early foundation of Imam Bara Budgam. He too wrote many books and most popular among them is a book on jurisprudence (Minajus Salah wa Merajul Falah). This was one of the first books of its kind written in Kashmiri language during that period. The book is considered a magnum opus in Kashmiri literature. The book speaks volumes about the intellectual insight of Aga Syed Mohammed. Even today, one would hardy come across a home in the Valley, particularly in rural areas, where this book has not been treasured. Aga Syed Mohammad established an organization, Hamiyul Islam, which ran a chain of Madrasas in different villages and towns of Kashmir. Aga Syed Mohammed after spending his entire life spreading the teaching of Islam left for the eternal abode on March 07, 1931A.D. After Aga Syed Mohammed, his elder son Aga Syed Ahmed shouldered the responsibility and dedicated himself to carry forward the mission of his ancestors. Prominent among his contributions is that he rebuilt the tomb of Mir Shamsuddin Iraqi in 1352 Hijri and also got the Imam Bara of Hasanabad reconstructed in 1354Hijri. He died on 21 Zil’hajja, 1364Hijri24.

AYATOLLAH YOUSUF KASHMIRI (RA)

The life of Ayatollah Yousuf Kashmri perfectly attested the truth in Allama Iqbal’s one of the most inspirational Urdu couplets. Aga sb., as he was popularly known, was a charismatic leader, a social reformer, a revolutionist, a visionary, an eminent educationist, a great scholar – all the rear qualities consolidated in one person. Aga Syed Yousuf is ranked one of the greatest scholars Shia community has ever had after the Late Ayatollah Aga Syed Mehdi. Ayatollah Yousuf Kashmri was born in Budgam in 1322 AH and completed his education in jurisprudence and Islamic law from Najaf in Iraq, and after the demise of his elder brother, Aga Syed Ahmed Al-mosavi, shouldered the responsibility of spreading the message of truth.

As Educationist:

Aga sahab went beyond the conventional duty of his family vis-a-vis propagation of Islam, he not only brought a revolution in the field of education but a social renaissance among Shias. Aga sb. established an educational institution for Islamic learning, namely ‘Madras-e Babul Ilem’ (Gateway of Knowledge) in Budgam. The doors of the institute were thrown open for all those who wanted to acquire knowledge irrespective of the school of thought they belonged to. Aga sahab was well aware that it won’t be convenient enough for the people living in far flung areas of Kashmir to come to Budgam therefore he started a number of branches of Babul Ilem in the remotest of villages in Kashmir and Ladakh. Madasa-e Babul Ilem is the alma-mater of many big names who dominate the literary field in Kashmir today. Some of the students of the first batch of Jamia Babul Ilem were:

  • Hujjatul Islam Aga Syed Mohammad Baqir
  • Aqai Syed Mohammad Mehvari
  • Aqai Syed Ibrahim Mehvari
  • Molvi Abdul Subhan
  • Aqai Abdulah Zampuri
  • Aqai Mohammad Husain Tibbati
  • Zakir Syed Abbas Chandipora, et al

Widening of Imambara Budgam:

Taking notice of the growing crowd and persistent demands, Aga Sahab undertook the large scale construction of Imam Bara Budgam, which till date is one of the best models of the Anglo-Iranian art in the entire subcontinent. People across the globe still flock to see the mesmerizing beauty and the architecture of the 20th century monument. He also got Imam Bara Hassanabad widened, which is a replica of the one in Budgam, although smaller in area.

Religious Court:

It has been a norm among Shias of Kashmir that whenever there would be any dispute they would prefer to go to their religious heads (Moulvis or Agas) instead wasting time in going to the courts. Such courts are known as Sharie Adalat (Religious Court) where justice is delivered according to the Islamic doctrine. During the period of Aga sahab, Sharie Adalat became very popular. Aga Sahab was famous for his sense of justice. The landmark verdicts of Aga sahab became so popular that Sunnis, Shias, Pandits and Sikhs would come with their cases to Aga sahib. There have been number of occasions when the District Court too followed the suit and sent some extremely complex cases to the court of Aga Sahab. These instances speak volumes about the intellectual competence of the man whom every one trusted and revered, who was a people’s leader in a true sense of the word.

Setting up of Anjumane Sharie Shian:

One of the biggest achievements of Aga Sahab was establishing an organization, namely Anjumane Sharie Shian, which during his lifetime, virtually ran parallel to the govt. The organization gave new identity to the Shias of Kashmir and became a platform for them to address their grievances.

Contributions and Achievements:

There is no escaping the fact that Budgam was accorded a status of a district only because of Aga sb. After his death, the district hospital of Budgam was named after him. Aga was a very close associate of Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini, the father of Islamic Revolution of Iran.

Last Journey:

In accordance with the Quranic saying that “all that lives must taste death” passed to the everlasting world on August 31, 1982 and left thousands of well wishers sobbing and lamenting. People from all parts of the state and guests and representatives of different nations offered their last respect to the leader who was instrumental enough to bring a cultural and educational renaissance among Shias in Kashmir. The then Prime Minister of India Ms. Indira Gandhi also visited the bereaved family and offered her condolence.

TOMB OF SHAM DED

SHAM Ded, daughter of an ironsmith of Poshker village, was introduced to spirituality by Sheikh-ul-Alam, Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani (RA). Around the same time, Alamdar-e-Kashmir had another disciple – Baba Latif-ud-Din Qazi. It is said that Sham Ded informed Baba Latif-ud-Din about the departure to the heavenly abode of Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani (RA). It was evening (Sham) when the lady broke the news to the Baba, hence the name Sham Ded, who after her death, was laid to rest at Poshker village.

BABA LATIF-UD-DIN

POSHKER village is also home to the tomb of Hazrat Baba Latif-ud-din Qazi, a worthy disciple of the Sheikh-ul-Alam (RA). He was a man of great qualities. The Baba, in search of employment, had to come to Kashmir from Kishtwar and when he arrived here, he began his quest for a spiritual guide. Some people believe that this search led him to Poshker where he had an audience with Sheikh-ul-Alam (RA). Known then as Ludo Raina, the Baba asked for the spiritual cure to his ailments. The spiritual power of the Sheikh influenced Raina and he became his disciple after which he was known as Hazrat Baba Latif-ud-Din. The company of Alamdar-e-Kashmir taught him to ameliorate the condition of the downtrodden besides striving for his own spiritual attainment. By orders Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani (RA), the Baba left Poshker and meditated for years together in a cave known as Baba Marg, situated far away from Poshker, where he later also passed away. The disciples of the Baba were anxious as to how their other colleagues in remote areas would reach this farflung cave to perform his last rites. Their anxiety, however, proved short-lived as the coffin carrying the body of the Baba, miraculously took off and flew to Poshker village where the saint was later buried. On the 7th of Phaguna every year, an urs is held on the tomb where relics, including a sword of the Baba are displayed.

THE SHRINE OF SYED MOHAMMAD SAMRI

SEVEN kms from Habir village, in Khag block, at Lassapora, is situated the shrine of Hazrat Syed Mohammad Samri. On the 12th of Phaguna the devotees throng the shrine to pay obeisance to the spiritual leader. The saint had arrived here from Shopian, in Pulwama, several hundred years ago and chose to meditate in the dense forests for years where, he later passed away. He is buried at Laspora.

THE SHRINE OF HAZRAT GANGA BABA RISHI

HAZRAT Ganga Baba Rishi is one of the prominent saints buried at Palapora Poshker where he spent his entire life in material poverty. But with his meditation and prayers, Baba Rishi attained enormous spiritual wealth. In and around Palapora, 3 kms from Khag, the Baba is believed to have constructed 360 mosques and an equal number of culverts. He had migrated from Maraz and lived in Palapora, where he breathed his last and was laid to rest. His tomb is thronged by a large number of devotees every year. The Baba, had a tremendous environmental temperament and was responsible for planting thousands of saplings during his life time. One tree is believed to have reached the girth of around 40 ft.

SOME three centuries back, it is believed, Hazrat Zia-ud-din Bukhari reached the Valley from Bukhara along with 360 Syeds. During his stay here, he came to Kanihama and preached Islam. The saint performed many miracles one of whom is related to a blind girl. It is said that he asked the girl to fetch some fire for his Kangri(an earthenware firepot). Since the girl was blind, she expressed her inability to do the required. Upon this, the saint touched her eyes with his hand and the girl’s eyesight was restored. Hazrat Bukhari died at Kanihama where he was laid to rest. On 26th, in the Muslim month of Rajab, an Urs is held at the shrine where people in large gather to pay their respects.

TOMB OF SYED TAJ-UD-DIN AND SYED ALLA-UD-DIN

ACCORDING to a legend, when Syed Taj-ud-Din arrived in Khag, the Mala Kol silently followed him from Sukh Nag to Skinderpora. Syed Taj-ud-Din first arrived in Sukh Nag where he stayed for long, and later, crossing various villages, reached Skinderpora, where he spend the rest of his life. Following his death, the mantle of spiritual guidance of people fell on his son, Syed Alla-ud-Din, who was equally a pious soul. The tombs of both the father and son, are situated in Skinderpora and attract a large number of devotees.