Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Soan Wattan Posh Hue ,
Taav Hyot Yaavun Bahaaruk ,
Shaalmaruk Gosh Hue.
Navi Poshaakuk Bosh Hue ,
Pholvunay Pamposh Hue ,
Soan Wattan Posh Hue

( Dina Nath Naadim )

Our country is like a flower
Like the fresh spring , full of vitality
Or like the scenic Shalimaar garden ,
Or like the happiness displayed in Newly worn clothes ,
Or like a fresh lotus flower opening its petals ,
Our country is like a flower only.

( Translated from original Kashmiri by a k Mota )

Some days back I had to visit Handwara town for some official assignment . In fact i visited the area thrice during 2009. This area was previously known as UTTER MACHIPORA .You can go to Handwara via Sopore or through Baramulla . It is about 24 Kms from Baramulla and in all about 88 Kms from Srinagar city . Plenty of Tata sumo Vehicles ply on this route from Srinagar and the journey is covered in just two hours. The road from sopore or Baramulla is lined with apple trees on either sides with some Walnut trees in between .Handwara is a tehsil Head quarter with a degree college , old market , two Higher secondary schools and roughly 20 private schools . The town has a functional Municipal committee catering to a rough population of 10700 persons living in 1245 households at present .From the main Chowk in the Bazaar , roads branch off to Villgaam , Kupwara , Baramulla and Bhadrakaali shrine via wadipora village . Bhadrkaali shrine situated in Raajwar forest range is about 7 Kms from the town. Gushi Sharda is about 12 kms from this town . A temple dedicated to Goddess Sharda still exists in this village . In olden days people would assemble at Gushi Sharda to perform pilgrimage to SHARDA TEMPLE ( Presently in POK ). A beautiful stream known locally as POHRU, coming from Kupwara and kunangaam , passes through the town and finally joins jhelum ( Vitasta a) at Doabgaah ( Sangam ) near Baramulla.. I could not find the name of this stream in Nilmata Purana or Rajtaringini though about 60 streams and rivers of kashmir have been mentioned in Nilmat Purana. It is certainly not Hiranya mentioned in Nilmata Purana as this river is clearly the present Erin Nallah flowing into wular lake . It is also not river Vaitarani mentioned in Nilmata as some people in Shopian area still call the RembyAra as Vaitarani. It is also not Kanakvahini as this river as per Nilmata joins Sindhu to finally merge in Vitasta . It is somewhat close to Madhuri mentioned in Nilmat Purana ( Page 33 Volume I Translation by Dr Ved kumari Ghai ) since Madhuri is mentioned to be a river flowing through Machipur Pargana though many rivers of Nilmat Purana like GOTAMI , GOTRANADI, KUMUNARI, MADAVA, MALINI, MANDAKINI, SAMULA, SATASILA, SILAMA, SANDILI, SUGHANDHA, SUKHA, TRIKOTI and VISVAMITRA remain unidentified .

Presently the town is inhabited by warm hearted people known for their hospitality .Pocket full of fresh walnut kernel were given to me when I interacted with traders in main Bazaar .

“ Stay for a night at ours ”
said Mohd Ramzaan Chopaan a trader in Main Bazaar .

“ Visit Bhaderkaali Shrine since you have come all the way from srinagar . it is just 7 kms from my shop ”
said Ghulam Rasool Pandith another Trader .

“ Did you meet B L Pandita Advocate from this town? . He is like my father . He is presently supervising construction of the Shiv Mandir complex in Main Market .”
said Altaf Ahmed another shopkeeper

“Recently (in July 2009 ) a tragedy struck this area . A fierce high velocity windstorm damaged several houses , shops , cowsheds and injured about 40 people and killing a woman besides damaging crops . It all happened in a few minutes . Trees were uprooted and roofs were shattered by high velocity winds . ”
said Gulzar Ahmed a trader of the town to me

During my visit to the Bazaar I observed that Handwara must have been a very old trade centre . Many Punjabi Khatri traders had their shops in the main market. One lala Madan lal still runs his cloth shop in the main market. So do family members of Kishori Lal have their independent shops in the main bazaar. Many Sikhs from DeedarPora , HutchiPora , Badrah and Chogul have opened their shops in the main bazaar and are engaged in selling medicines , Dry fruits and general merchandise . Jujhar Singh and Mohinder Singh are two Prominent Dry fruit traders of the town from Sikh community . A Gurdwara also has been built in the town. The town has a beautiful and spacious mosque known as Jamia Masjid or Idd Gaah .

Since apples especially Delicious variety are brought to market in October , the bazaar was busy with sale and purchase of Walnut kernel. Pavements were full of men grading the kernel or drying it and packing it for jammu Market . I could also see villagers coming with bagfuls of this kernel for sale to traders in the market. Lala Madan lal told me that Mrs sheela Dhar and Shamboo Nath Raina ( Contractor ) were his customers and they still lived in Handwara . Sh Maharaj Krishen Pandita who is General secretary of the Shiv ji temple committee Handwara (along with Sh B L Pandita as the president ) informed that Pandits lived in Razdan Mohalla , Kaw Mohalla and Ganesh Mohalla in Handwara for centuries in peace and tranquility with their Muslim brothers. "We enjoy enormous goowill of our muslim brethern overhere" added Maharaj Krishen Pandita . Mr Wani president Beopaar Mandal Handwara felt happy to receive us in his office . A Kashmiri to the core he did not allow us to leave without having tea since we had visited him after EID. EID was celebrated in Kashmir on 21st September 2009 .Enjoy some views of the town captured by me on 22nd September 2009 and some previous visits to the town .

(Avtar Mota )
I may informed my readers that while taking photographs at Lal Chowk srinagar , my camera slipped from my hands and its LCD got damaged. I had to buy a New Camera . Between the period of my purchasing a New Camera and the return of the old camera from the repairs shop at Abi Guzar , i clicked some views with a borrowed Camera . The camera used at Handwara belonged to Mr M K Pandita who is based in Srinagar ( 09419064007). The camera had the year preset as 2007 instead of 2009. The date appearing in some photographs is 22.09.2007 wheras it should have been 22.09.2009 when the views were actually captured by me at Handwara . In fact we opened a branch on 22.09.2009 at Handwara and i had to visit the area in this connection only.I regret the error.


  1. The date on your nice photographs wrongly appears as 2007/09/22.

  2. i do not know how it came . Infact my own camera slipped from my hand in lal chowk. The camera belongs to one mr m k pandita who accompanied me to Bhaderkaali shrine on 22.09.2009 . I did all photographing with a borrowed camera . Perhaps the Camera had incorrect preset Year as 2007 instead of 2009. I regret the mistake . I request my readers to treat 2007 as 2009 . I have taken all the photographs on 22.09.2009 only when we opend a branch in Handwara. The error is regtretted .Handwara

  3. So you actually visited Bhaderkaali also!! Congratulations! I have my own share of wonderful memories of my visits to Bhaderkaali since my childhood!
    The most cherished one are those when we walked all the way from Handwara and back. I guess the idol is no longer there and is with one B. L. Pandita, whose name appears in your write-up also, at Jammu. It seems that you did not take pictures during your visit to Bhaderkaali? I would have loved to see some.

  4. Thanx for your comments . I did take pictures of this shrine . i went to the top. What a beautiful shrine it must have been . I stayed for two hours over there .Accompanied by Sh M K pandita of Handwara , we went in my car via wadipora .I was told by authentic sources that the shrine has 1600 kanals of land . so beautiful a place with Rajwar forest range in the backdrop. i do intend to put up a post on this visit . The shrine is presently occupied by an Army unit who also maintain it.There is a black top road upto the base of the shrine from Wadi pora .

  5. It is nice to see pictures of Handwara as I went back to my childhood memories there. It was also nice to read a write up from my child hood friend - Dinesh Khurana. Am not sure if he still rememberes me or not - Ajay Kapoor

  6. Autar ji I owe you a lot for posting the nice pictures of Handwara, my hometown. I was indeed overwhelmed to see the picture of my father! Now your site has brought me in touch with my childhood friend Ajay Kapoor! I am still waiting for the pictures of Bhaderkaali!

    p.s. Ajay, of course I remember you. My e-mail address is dkhurana@iisermohali.ac.in

  7. happy to see the pictures of my town and other good things written about our town..i was glad to see Mr.madan lal khorana's pic.Khurana uncle is one of the most respected personality of the town and my father's friend...

  8. Thanx for the comments dated 25th Feb 2010

  9. i m from the same place.i love u sir for ur this work.TAHIR MAJEED LONE ASHPORA HANDWARA.MY MOB.09797150222.PLEASE CALL IF POSSI

  10. Thanx dear tahir .I shall not only call you but see you on my next visit to Handwara .keep smiling

  11. pandith bayon kay janay say alam_o_adab be yahan say chala gaya.aap loog wo kashmir sath legae.it is not like that know.tahir majeed lone,handwara

  12. AM-
    This is really awsome....it did bring back some good memories of that town. I lived there for sometime as well..in 80's. Thanks for Sharing.

    Also..i do remember Ajay and Dinesh as well. If you guys see this please email me back at upbhat@yahoo.com.
    Upinder AKA "op".

  13. i m glade to see my office(friendstel)amonug the pictures of handwara town.i must mention handwara is most historic n peacefull town of kashmire.i m proud to be a citzen of handwara.regards mudasir lone

  14. I have been to Handwara in the 70 s. Then was posted to secondary school, which did not materialize. Been to Badarkali. have a favor want to know whereabouts of Abdul Gani Bhat from wadipora. Please help!!!

  15. thanks to all my readers for their comments .

  16. Thanks Mr Autar Mota for bringing the so many sweet memories from Handwara my Home Town Infact recently I met my chidhood friends from Handwara Summer Hill Public School Mr Sanjay, Mr Khushbir, Tahir, Mubashir Sultan , ETC.

    mY uNCLE mR Shumbu Nath Contractor still resides in Handwara..


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