We travelled about 58 kms from srinagar to Bandipora via Ganderbal , Manasbal and Sadarkote villages on the circular wular lake road. . The other approach to this town is from Narbal , Shadipora and sumbal and then Safapora side but again one has to come to the Wular circular road.. One can also come from reverse route that is srinagar , sopore and watlab via the Ziyarat of Baba Shukardin Sahib . From this side ,Bandipora is about 26 Kms from Sopore town.Come any way you have to visit Wular lake as this town is situated on the eastern bank of this dying lake of Kashmir . It is also called the port town of Wular Lake .The roads to Gurez and Gilgit lead from this town only.
Bandipora is a town with shops lined on both sides of the Road .. The traders do brisk business over here . Nishat park greets you on roadside when you pass through the Main Bazar. There is a visible presence of Army in and around the town . An armoured vehicle was parked in the Heart of the town near the main Bus stand. River Madhumati flows through this town. About Bandipora, I have found a reference in R S Pandit’s translation of Rajtaringini ( See Taranga 8 Verse 2509 at page 609) wherein Kalhana mentions that rows of houses on the banks of river Madhumati were set up by one Dhanya a military chief from the royal house of King Bhoja who decided to make it a base camp of DARD troops . Kalhana also makes reference to Wular Lake or Padmasara or Maha Padma ( see Taranga IV verse 593). Kalhana makes further mention of river Madhumati many times in Rajtaringini and some of the Cantos can be quoted as under :-
1 Taranga 7 verse 1179
2 Taranga 7 verse 1193-1194
3 Taranga 8 verse 2707-2709
4 Taranga 8 verse 2883
Neelmata Purana makes mention of two rivers with Madhumati as their name . On the banks of the one which joins the Krishenganga , stands the SHARDA temple or the most Important Teertha of ancient kashmir. The second Madhumati meets Vitasta which empties itself into the Wular lake . This Madhumati flows through the town of Bandipore in kashmir.
Kalhana praises the beauty and sanctity of this river repeatedly . Ignorant of their glorious heritage that is now drying up, the town dwellers call it Madhumati Nallah. Madhumati finally Joins Vitasta in Wular lake only. Apart from other Merchandise traded in the town Bazars , one finds Fresh fish and water Chest nuts( Singhara ) from Wular Lake sold on Pavements by women .People have forgotten that this water Chest Nut had three main varieties namely BASMATI , DOGRU and KANGAR . Basmati is the chief variety with thin skin and more kernel.The Dogru is a larger variety with thick shell and small kernel while the Kangar has thick shell with long projecting horns with a very small size of the kernel. New RCC structures are now dotting the skyline of this town which is a Tehsil Headquarter falling under Baramulla District.
Number of Tata Sumos ( Passenger vehicles ) ply direct from Srinagar to Bandipora and even to Gurez now . The town used to be known as Gateway to the country of DARDs . Kalhana Makes frequent mention of DARDS in Rajtringini. They still continue to live in and around Tilail and Gurez . Gurez is about 86 Kms from Bandipora . Originating from DRASS in Kargil , river Kishen Ganga flows through Gurez This river after passing through the mountain tracts of Tilail , Gurez , Keran and karnah, joins Jhelum ( Vitasta ) at Domel. This river is also called Neelam river. DARDS speak SHEENA ( Dardi ). Being brave warriors , Kashmirian kings employed DARDS in their Infantry as also for protecting Passes from invaders . Kalhana also makes frequent references to Krasnganga ( Taranga 8 verse 2492 ).
. I end this post with a some poetic lines of faiz ahmed Faiz
Raat yunh dil me Teri khoyee Hui yaad aayee
Jaise veeraaney mein chupkey sey Bahaar aa jaye
Jaisey sehra on mein howley se chaley baadey naseem
Jaisey Beemaar ko Bai wajhey Qaraar aa jaaye
( Faiz Ahmed Faiz )
Last night, your lost Memories again walked into my heart
As spring sneaks slowly into a barren wilderness,
As cool morning breeze blows gently in a desert,
As a sick person suudenly feels well, for no reason.
( Autar Mota )
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