“Nature Gifts of Kashmir Valley”

Mohit Husain
June 11, 2018 OPINION 195 Views

The State of Jammu and Kashmir looks like a crown. The state is 640 kms. In length from north to south and 480 kms. from east to west. To its north lie Chinese and Russian Turkistan. On its east is Chinese Tibet. On the South and South-West lie the states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. On the west is the North West Frontier Provinces of Pakistan, China and Russia. Afghanistan and Pakistan now have come close to the boundaries of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The entire State lies between 32.17″ and 36.58″ North altitude and East to West, the State lies between 73.26″ and 80.30″ longitude. The standard time is 5.30 hours ahead of Greenwich Time as in the rest of India and has a difference of half an hour with the local time. In latitude, the State of Jammu and Kashmir corresponds with South Carolina (North America), Fez (Morocco), Damascus, Baghdad and Peshawar (Pakistan).
Kashmir is famous for its beauty and natural scenery throughout the world. Its high snow-clad mountains, scenic spots, beautiful valleys, rivers with ice-cold water, attractive lakes and springs and ever-green fields, dense forests and beautiful health resorts, enhance its grandeur and are a source of great attraction for tourists.
It is also widely known for its different kinds of agricultural products, fruit, vegetables, saffron, herbs, minerals, precious stones handicrafts like woollen carpets, shawls and finest kind of embroidery on clothes. During summer, one can enjoy the beauty of nature, trout fishing, big and small game hunting etc.; during winter climbing mountain peaks and sports like skating and skiing on snow slopes are commonly enjoyed. In addition to the above, Pilgrimage to famous religious shrines of the Hindus and the Muslims make Kashmir a great tourist attraction. About Kashmir Sheikh Sadia great Persian poet is believed to have said, “If there is any heaven on earth, it is here in Kashmir.”
Karakoram (8615.17 M) and Kyunlun Ranges: Both these mountains lie to the north and north-east of the State and separate it from Russian Turkistan and Tibet. In the North West, Hindukush range continues towards Karakoram Range, where K2 peak, the second highest peak of the world, is situated. Two lofty peaks of Gashorbram (8570 metres) and Masharbram (7827 metres) also lie there. People of Ladakh pass through Karakoram pass (5352 metres) and Nubra pass (5800 metres) while going to Chinese Turkistan and Khattan. One can reach Tibet from Ladakh via Kharudangala pass (5557 metres) and Changla pass (5609 metres).
Zanskar Range: It is about 600 metres above sea level and separates Indus Valley from the valley of Kashmir; it prevents south-west cold winds from reaching Kashmir. Ladakh region terminates at Zojila pass (3529 metres) from where begins the valley of Kashmir. Poat pass (5716 metres) of this range is also a famous pass in this range.
Nun Kun Range: It lies between Ladakh and Kashmir border. It is 7055.1 metres above sea level. To its south-east is situated Kulu and to its north-west is situated Kargil tehsil of Ladakh. One has to pass through Bawalocha pass (4891 metres) to reach Leh (Ladakh) from Kulu. In 1947, when Kargil was attacked by Pakistan, Indian forces, arms and ammunition were sent to Ladakh by the Indian Union through this pass.
Nanga Parbat Range: This range spreads in Gilgit. Its height is 8107.68 metres above sea level and is utterly devoid of vegetation. It was conquered by the Italian mountaineers in 1954.
Harmukh Mountain: This is a range of the Himalayas and is situated at a height of 5141.3 metres above sea level towards Bandipore between the rivers Jhelum and Kishan Ganga valley.
Burzil Mountain: It bifurcates Kashmir and Ladakh on which Burzil pass is situated at a height of 3200 metres above sea level.
Amarnath Mountain: This is famous for its holy Amarnath Cave, at a height of 5372 metres above sea level, which thousands of pilgrims visit every year on Rakshabandan. They have to pass Mahagunas pass (1475 metres) on their way to Shri Amarnathji. Gwasharan (5450 metres) is situated in the Lidar valley towards Pahalgam; on it lays the famous glacier Kolahi. Sheeshnag Mountain also spreads in this valley. It is called Sheshnag as its peaks resemble the heads of seven big snakes.
Toshmaidan: Toshmaindan (4270 metres) and Kajinag (3700 metres) mountains lie in the Inner Himalayas. They remain clad with snow throughout the year, but during summer when the snow melts, the water flows down into the Jhelum River.
Afarwat: This Mountain spreads through the Gulmarg valley. The famous spring Alpathar lies on its peak, from which Nullah Nagal comes out and flows down into the Wullar Lake.
Pirpanjal Range: It separates Kashmir valley from the outer Himalayas and is about 2621 Kms. in length and 50 Kms. in breadth. Famous Banihal pass (2832 metres) lies in the shape of a tunnel on its peak; it remains covered with snow during winter making it impassable. Now at a height of 2200 metres above sea level a new tunnel ‘Jawahar Tunnel’ has been constructed. The tunnel is 2825 metres long and it was opened for traffic on 22nd Dec. 1956. On the other end of this range lie Baramulla pass (1582 metres) and Hajipir pass (2750 metres). Hajipir joins Poonch and Uri. During 1965 Indo-Pak war, the Indian army had occupied this pass. Later on it was handed over to Pakistan.
Siwalik Range: These hills extend from the north of the outer plains to middle mountains of the State reaching heights varying from 600 metres to 1500 metres above sea level.
Volcanic mountains: One volcanic peak, ‘Soyamji’ (1860 metres) is situated in North Machhipura (Handwara) and the other ‘Kharewa’ peak lies in Tehsil Pehalgam, which is dead so far; the former, however, continued eruption of lava for about 13 months during 1934.
There is a temple on this peak and many sulphur springs are found at the foot of the hill. These volcanic mountains are the cause of earthquakes in Kashmir. So far twelve devastating earthquakes have occurred in Kashmir. Of these the earthquake of 1885 was the most devastating. Hundreds of houses collapsed, thousands of people died and there were cracks in the earth as a result of this earthquake.
The valley of Kashmir has deciduous vegetation. The Chinar, Poplar, Deodar, Fir, Pine, Kail, Partal, Mulbery, Walnut and other fruit trees grow throughout the valley. Baramulla and Anantnag districts have respectively 71% and 60% of their areas under forests. Among these forests are situated the famous health resourts like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Achhabbal, Verinag and Kokarnag.

Writer is a Research Scholar SKUAST-Kashmir.


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