Sunday, March 28, 2010



 (Photographs   Autar  Mota )

"The happy region-the prettiest country ever seen in the mountains."
 Sir G.T.Vigne, who toured this region in 1842 A.D., described Bhaderwah in these words .

“Tracing his ancestral roots Mr. Azad said that his great grandfather had migrated from the Valley of Breng in Anantnag  to district Doda, around 150 years ago. He said that the people of the two areas shared same culture, tradition and history”

( Website of jammu and Kashmir .)

“Jenab this is Chhotaa kashmir( Mini Kashmir ) . You can find Kouls , Misris , Rainas , Razdans , Zutishis and many other kashmiri Pandits living peacefully since ages . You shall also find Zargars  , Bandays , Nayaks , Misgars , Wanis , Bhats , Ahangars ,Mirs and Dars amongst kashmiri muslims also living happily . Most of the kashmiris living here have migrated out in middle of Nineteenth Century from Anantnag district due to recurring Famines and failure of the then rulers to come to the rescue of starving villagers .”

Said Ghulam Nabi Bhat who met me near Jamia Mosque Bhaderwah 

Bhaderwah  is also know as “Nagon ki bhoomi” or’‘ land of Snakes '.  The Bhaderwah Town ( Nagar Bhaderwah ) was known as Hettary Nagar and prior to that, there were two other towns namely Donga nagar and Udho Nagar. Bhadarwah was ruled by "Naga Dynasty"  The powerful kingdom of Bhadu Bilawar also  existed  in nearby Hills and its rulers conquered and annexed the states of Bhaderwah and  Basohli to their Kingdom. Prince Radhk was given the state of Bhaderwah and he ruled it calling himself Raja Lakshmi Dev. He  shifted his  capital to Bhaderwah proper called Nagar. The last king of this dynasty was "Pahar Chand".

During the rule of Maharaja Ghulab singh , Bhaderwah became the part of J&K State.  When Maharaja Partap Singh was crowned ,  Bhaderwah was given as "Jageer" to his younger brother Raja Amar Singh.


Bhaderwah is  known as Chhotaa Kashmir ( Mini Kashmir ) in jammu and Kashmir state .It is a beautiful valley with hills of Kishtawar in its north , Chamba ( HP ) in its east , Basholi area of jammu near river Ravi in its south and Chenani area of Udhampur district in its west. One can safely call this place as a queen of hills . Perched at a height of about 5300 feet from sea level and surrounded by snow clad hills with Deodaar forests on all sides , this area has a unique history and culture .You find kashmiri Pandits , kashmiri speaking Muslims , Gaddis , Thakkars ,  Wazirs , Kotwals , Parihars , Chib Rajputs  and Manhas Rajputs , Khatris from Punjab ,Mahajans and Bhaderwahi speaking Locals of other tribes and castes living in peace and harmony . One can safely call it as a melting pot of many cultures and civilizations .

To reach this valley , one has to take a right turn on Jammu Srinagar road near Batote and go all along river Chenab upstream to reach DODA . DODA is about 60 Kms from Batote. Baglihar  Hydro electric  Project has submerged vast area of Doda district in Chenab waters . Even  Pul  DODA market  has submerged  along with  the  old bridge on Chenab at Doda . This Dam has given depth to Chenab from Baglihar upstream   and made it silent  . One could hear lot of noise near Chenab banks prior to the construction of Dam reservoir of Baglihaar . Surely  Depth does bring silence . 
    (A view of Seri Bazaar Bhaderwah during Annual Chandi Mata Yatra.. Photo .D. K.Dogra )

 (Dussehra in Bhaderwah.Photo D K Dogra)

At DODA,  Neeru stream Coming from Bhaderwah hills joins mighty Chenab So another right turn at Doda and about 30 Kms in upstream direction of Neeru lies Bhaderwah . It just resembles Pahalgham valley of kashmir .The temperature during summer ranges between 18 to 30 degrees centigrade making it climatically more pleasant then srinagar . Its bewitching beauty enthralls any visitor.


The construction of residential houses in Bhaderwah  is done in Kashmirian style of architecture .The Dubs , Dark alleys , Gossiping men on roads , Butcher shops , kadam vegetable ,Pherans ,Kashmiri bakery shops ,  Azaan and Vedic Mantras from Loud speakers during morning hours  make every kashmiri   feel as if he is   at  some place in his  motherland . Newly constructed mosques bear the Minaret  and the Dome architecture but the older ones seen all over the district bear close resemblance to  kashmirian Style   architecture .The temperature during summer ranges between 18 to 30 degrees centigrade making it climatically more pleasant then srinagar . Its  Bewitching beauty enthralls any visitor.

The annual kailash Kund Yatra is a festival joined by hindus and muslims .The ancient Vasuki Nag temple , Guptganga Temple , Chandi Mata Temple , Jamia Mosque and Gatha Mosque are largely frequented religious places .The black stone single piece  images in Vasuki Nag Temple were covered by cloth  when i visited  and the Purohit informed that the same would be opened for public Darshan after Baisakhi day.


                             ( Final site of Kailash Yatra ... Photo Dharam Kant Dogra ) A three day long Mela Patt is also celebrated every year to commemorate the historic meet between Emperor Akbar and Raja Nagpal of Bhaderwah . Some time in 16th century,  Raja Nagpal  is reported to have gone to Delhi to meet the emperor  .This festival is devoted to Lord Vasuki  Nath ,the presiding deity of Bhaderwah .It is organized on the conclusion of Kailash Yatra.Wearing colorful clothes, people dance on the tunes. Of ancient  Dakhu.The traditional Dakhu dance is a special attraction of this Mela.
                                 ( Mela Patt  Bhaderwah .. Photo Dharam Kant Dogra )

                                                ( Mela Patt  Bhaderwah .. Photo Dharam Kant Dogra )                                               



“Kyaa saa Vaaray chhukh ”
(  Are you OK in kashmiri  )
“ Pandit Ji salaam ”
“Bee Shaa ji ”
(  Sit down please in Bhaderwahi  )
“Kodi Ghaano ”
( Where are you going in Bhaderwahi  )

You  hear these words most frequently while moving in the Bazar . They are kashmiri and Bhaderwaahi  words .Bhaderwah has been an important town on old Shawl route of  Kashmir .This shawl route means Srinagar – Anantnag – Daksum – Kishtwar – Bhaderwah – Basholi _ Chamba  and other kingdoms of Himachal. Kashmiri Shawls and craftsmen have travelled from this route to Chamba and Basholi  in early 17th and 18th century .

Basholi area of kathua district had a long relation with Kashmir . Some painters of Pahari Style  miniature  Art   were kashmiri Pandits. I quote  Dr M S Randhawa eminent Art Historian :-
"This family of Razdan or Raina Brahmins were responsible for the introduction of one of the most romantic movements in fine art in almost all the principalities of jasrota, Basohli, Guler, Jummu, Chamb, Noorpur and Kangra. Pandit Shiv Raina and his sons, Manak and Nainsukh the master painters of pahari miniature were in fact kashmiri fugitive Brahmins ." 

The rulers of Basholi had kashmiri Pandits as their Raj Purohits . I happened  to know  one Razdan family that  owned  large agriculture land in and around Basholi . Prakash Rani Razdan MLC was from this Razdan family of Basholi  and her ancestors were Purohits and painters in  Basholi Darbar . She was from Lahore and  was known for her aristocratic life style . She  enjoyed horse riding and Paan chewing . I came to know many forgotten links of Basholi and Kashmir during my stay in this area as Manager of our bank’s Branch .Pashmina shawl industry flourishes in Basholi town to this day even . Even the kings of Jasrota ( Kathua ) had kashmiri shawl Craftsmen in their kingdom .



 It is Wonderful to see that people in  Bhaderwah use Kaangri in winters . Kashmiri Muslims use Rabab and  NOETT (Matka  ) in singing CHAKRI in CHALANT style .Bhaderwahi is the major spoken language of the area . People still remember  late Prof Saproo  principal of Bhaderwah Degree college with reverence and regard for spread of education in this area. Strangely but true , away from Kashmir you are in Kashmir.

Tourist potential areas of this region are :-

Seoj and  Kailash
Jai valley-sabardhar
Padri Gali-Bhal Padri
Bhaderwah town and  periphery


A motorable road has  now been completed to connect Bhaderwah with Basholi. A bridge on  river Ravi  at Basholi  shall connect this area with  Pathankote . Kishtawar- Bhaderwah road is operational since last 50 years . A road also links Kishtwar with Anantnag now ( Via Simthan pass ) .Thus this area now comes on the alternate connectivity to Kashmir via Pathankote directly . That opens flood gates of Tourism for this area . This position qualifies Bhaderwah to be developed  as a Gate-Way of State’s Tourism.


People in Bhaderwah  Town are  mostly well educated . Most of them are Teachers ( in colleges , schools and universities ) , Doctors , Lawyers and Engineers .Bhaderwah has a degree college in the town imparting quality education since early fifties . University of Jammu has also  established an Offsite campus at Bhaderwah.  Kashmiri culture and language is widespread in entire Doda and adjoining Kishtwar districts of the state .

 And then Abdul Qudoos Rasa Javidani( 1901-1979), an eminent poet  from  this area wrote  his poems both in Urdu and Kashmiri language . Rasa belonged to a family which had migrated from village Kadipora in Anantnag  (Kashmir )to Bhadarwah.
I end this post with lines from a  a beautiful GAZAL of this  poet . This GAZAL  has been sung soulfully by  well known kashmiri singer  Raj Begum sahiba

Masharaavthhuss janaana Tche Kurr yaad Peymoy Baa,
Chhukh Az wafaa begaan Tche Kurr Yaad Peymoy Baa.
Raadhaaiy Jigruss Kaan Taarith Baal maarith Guvv,
Goopaal Krishen Kaanhaa Tse Kurr Yaad Peymoy Baa.
( Rasa javidaani )

Love ! Willfully you forgot me   !
when Shall  you  remember me !
Why are thee so noncommittal to my Love !
when Shall  you  remember me !
Piercing arrow in Radha’s tender heart,
you  move playfully away.
O Gopaala ! O Krishna !O Kaanhaa !
when Shall   you  remember me !

 ( Autar Mota  )

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  1. thanks Sir for taking me back down my memory lane. That was way back during my college days when on tracking expedition from Basohli to Badherwah via Bani , Sarthal we had just entered the valley of mini kashmir, there we saw a family of a farmer having their lunch under the shade of tree. They welcomed us and offered us to share their lunch. It was so touching and it is still so fresh in my mind. Later during our one day stay at the place we encountered so many people whom we found very hospitable and warm hearted, ready to help. The place has immense scope for attracting tourism but reasons known better by most of us, never got the proper projection. I hope it gets the recognition it so richly deserves as a must visit for all those who yearn to look for virgin areas.

  2. How nice dear.let us plan another trip now and go to Kishtwar valley . I like tht area as well. absolutely like kashmir

  3. Surfing around to find info of kashmir and reached here. Nice post and pictures!
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  4. Really interesting post and these pictures are so beautiful, i really liker this place. Thanks for sharing this knowledgeable post.

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