Saturday, January 19, 2013



Photographs  by  Autar Mota                                                                       

 "Woh Idhar Nahin Miltaa hai jenab . Aap jammu Ki Kalaadi Dhoondtaa hai . Ye Roti wala Maeshkraari hai . Gujjar Log Laata hai "

“ That is not sold over here . Sir you are possibly trying to purchase Kalaadi of jammu .This is a Chapaati type of kalaadi. Gujjars make it over here .”

So said the shopkeeper at Shopian when i asked for Kulchaa type Kalaadi . I could only find Chapaati type Kalaadi at his shop. Kalaadi is specialty of jammu hills . It is as solid as Cheese .Gujjars make it from Milk. It tastes something in between Curd and Cheese. Just Fry it in  the Pan  and take it . It pours out Ghee or fat  of its own. I have relished it at Samroli on Jammu Srinagar Highway . I have also tasted it at Udhampur town in Singh Cafeteria .I have also bought the fresh Stock of Kalaadis from Pehalwaan's shop in Gandhi Nagar Jammu for friends in Srinagar . How tasty !

This was our visit to shopian in september2009 . I visited shopian again in 2010 ., 2011 and  2012. Shopian is a historical town about 52Kms from Srinagar city .It was in 1979 that Pandit Swaroop Nath saraf headed an all party action committee which started an agitation demanding that Shopian be made a District .Gh Nabi Azad’s  Government finally accorded a district status to this area in 2007. This district has two assembly segment  namely Wachi and shopian .

Mughals would enter kashmir through Shopian only, trekking through what is now known as Mughal Road by crossing the Sidau or Budil Pass ( 14000 feet  ).This road has  now  connected kashmir with Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu.Owing to shortness of this route , it was the most preferred route of kashmiris to move in and out of Kashmir valley. From this route one could go straight to Sialkot  via Akhnoor or to Lahore via Bhimber  .  Some Beautiful places in this area are Seadow , Forests range of Kungwattan, Lake Kounsernaag , River RembiAraa and Aharbal waterfalls . Apart from these places the area is full of stunningly beautiful forests , meadows and streamlets of water.

Mughals camped in this town  while visiting kashmir after crossing Pir Panjal Mountains. It is said that the imposing jamia Masjid in the heart of the town dates back to Mughal period .This mosque catches your attention once you move in the town.I have visited and stayed in the town many times previously as my sister's husband was posted over here for about three years .

"Come in . This is a place for offering Prayers to Allah Subhaan o Tallah . I am none to stop you. Please be comfortable ."

said the Muazinn when i sought permission to go inside Jamia Mosque located in Shah Mohalla , in the heart of the town . What a beautiful structure the mosque is ? Imposing entrance ,wooden Pillars , Spacious Halls for prayers , A spacious and clean courtyard inside and artistically decorated brickwork , the mosque reflects elegance of Mughal era.The famous Kapalmochan Teertha of Hindus is also located in this area .People speak Kashmiri , Gojri and  Pahaari over here .Horses are used as a mode of transport in this hilly area.


Shopian is also home to apples and walnut . Ambri variety of apple is grown in this area only. Walnuts are grown in Shopian and Kupwara area of kashmir . Delicious, American and kullu variety of apples is also now grown in plenty in this area . A fruit Mandi has also come up in the outskirts of the town. Trucks are directly loaded from this Market for Delhi and other fruit markets  of the country .

Maharaja Ranjit Sigh’s forces marched from lahore and   defeated Afghans  in a fierce battle in this town  in 1819 A D . This decisive battle ended the rule of Afghans in Kashmir  valley . The rule of Afghans  had given lot of pain and suffering in kashmir . The subsequent rule of sikhs did not bring the much needed  relief . Enjoy the views and permit me to quote some lines from Tawarikh e Hassan with regard to misrule of Pathans in kashmir .

"During the reign of KarimDad Khan( 1776-1783A D ) the entire country remained plunged in absolute misery and fear .During this period everybody high or low , poor or rich , was fleeced of all he possessed. He ruined the chastity of a thousand girls of both Hindu and muslim communities and ruined their lives for ever .Many people migrated out from the country .Heavy fruit Tax was imposed on people who could not meet this demand and they cut down fruit trees and sold the wood to meet the demand of the government . In this way the beautiful gardens laid by Mughals around Dal lake were denuded of all fruit trees."    

( Autar Mota )

 saturday ,19th January 2013.... Time 11.50 PM . Good Night .    

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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