Great idea, good implementation but pathetic follow up!
By : MS Nazki
The Department of Tourism set up a great place for tourists to sit and watch Noorie Chammb in District Poonch but now it is the livestock of grazers that rests and relaxes here!
Indeed this is mockery that is being made of some brilliance which was shown by the department to develop Noorie Chamb as a tourist relax point on their way up the Mughal road to Srinagar.
Whoever got the idea must have thought of something good without realizing that in the end it would be dirtied by the cattle and the flocks of herders who move for their summer visits to the mountains.
The place smells of the feces of the animals and the smell of their skins. These grazers will not bother because any shelter they see abandoned, this one constructed by the tourism department and hence they will put their herd there.
The fact is that there is no one to check and the locals do not tend to interfere, so it is the job of the department that is looking after tourism to check into this and why be partner in spoiling a historical places where tourists do stop over as and when they are there in their travel on the Mughal road!
If you love romancing with nature then this is the place. If you love reveries during day time, just get nearer to the waterfall on a hot summer’s day and let the slashing drops of water touch your face. Trust me you will be lulled to sleep with rhythmic music at the back drop. It is simply an awesome feeling with your heart saying, there is a waterfall in every dream. Cool and crystal clear, it falls gently on the sleeper, cleansing the mind and soothing the soul. Just go to sleep as I beat inside you to give you the experience of your lifetime.
Trust me there’s no better place to find than this, yourself sitting by the Noori Chamb waterfall and listening to it’s music. It’s dreamy and fascinating.
If you happen to be there on the moon lit night and sprinkling shining stars in the heavens, you will get a feeling that you are in a different world altogether because when the moonlight and the waterfall come together, all other things fade from the scene
Emperor Jehangir was an eternal romantic always in stupor and playing with nature as a bouncy child would do. I have no idea as to what this place would have been during those times but one thing is certain that it would have been a nature establishment that only the special could visit. Emperor Jehangir and his wife Noor Jehan were really special and that is the reason why they chose this place to spend some time whenever going to Kashmir or coming back. The place is now also extremely beautiful but the signatures of modernization have intermingled with nature’s beauty. Incidentally the modernization still falls short of the standard which mother nature set long, long back. There is a hug of houses in the green mountains that together make a village. The village homes are stamped in the slopes as if placed by some careful and meticulous collector. The villages are a family, for better or worse the folks know one another. Despite the occasional squabble they are loyal, loving and protective of one another. Ah! Those kids with sparkling eyes and the white enamel under their lips are a treat to watch!
I. Some facts and legends about Noori Chhamb
Noori Chamb is associated with the name of Mughal queen Noor Jehan and is known for its waterfall. It is situated near Behram Galla in Surankote Tehsil about 45 kilometers from Poonch town. Behram Gala is the place where Jehangir fell sick, subsequently recovered and finally died in Chingus. That was his last trip to Kashmir and probably also of the empress.
The fall of the stream gives rise to dense clouds of water vapors which engulf the area and spread all over. The Emperor Jahangir had developed so much fancy and liking for this fall that he named it Noori Chamb.
Many locals call Noori Chamb a milky waterfall, due to the white colored vapours formed during descent. You have to be here to see this magic.
It is believed that whenever the Queen visited the state, she bathed in the gurgling waters. Also, she got a royal mirror fixed near the waterfall for viewing the same from her tent of which only the frame exists.
The waterfall used to descend from around 100 feet earlier. Due to rock cutting and other natural changes the descent has shortened to just 75 feet. Still the beauty has not reduced one bit.
It is written in the texts that in the afternoons, both the King and Queen spent their time in the waters, where the public was barred from coming anywhere near.
It is said that Mughal Emperor named the place as Noori Abshar which later became Noori Chamb as Chamb in the local dialect means waterfall.
There is another legend that says that Noori Chamb is believed to be built by the Pandavas.
According to the legend the waterfall in the village Panjsaran was built by Pandavas during their exile period when they were living in this area. The legend says that the Pandavas diverted the water of Lucksar and Kolsar lakes towards this point to make a windmill and also cut the stone for the same purpose. However they could not use the watermill as they left the village soon after.
In Tuzike-e-Jahangir, Emperor Jahangir has described that there used to be a lot of joy and happiness among the local people when the royal caravan used to reach here. They raised slogans with beating drums and the music of Shenai.
The main sources of Noori Chamb water are Lucksar and Kolsar lakes. The lakes are located at an altitude of 3900 m near Panjtari Marg in Pir Panjal mountain range. The water of these lakes flows down in the form of a stream, which passes through the forest range of Hassanthamb.
Though Kashmir is the destination of choice in summers, tourists visit Noori Chamb Waterfall in great numbers to beat the sweltering heat in plains. It is situated in the midst of Behramgala & Chandimarh on Mughal Road, around 45 kilometers from Poonch District and has an elevation of 3480 meters.
II. The condition now:
Nature bestowed all the beauty and glory on the place and thus it became a major tourist destination on the Mughal road but sadly speaking enough attention was never paid. Had it been, the entire route should have been a tourist magnifier. It still can be provided interest is taken by the tourism authorities, said Nadeem Rafiq Hussain Khan advocate and the senior PDP leader. He had several other things to say:
It looked like the Directorate of Tourism had begun taking interest as they constructed a resting place for the tourists where they could sit, spend some time and check out the beautiful locale.
But the enthusiasm fizzled out with the passage of time and now stands a structure where no one can sit.
The reason is that it has turned into a resting place for grazers up mountains during the summer trips and also when they return.
With all this happening the place becomes dirty as no one cleans it after the halt or a stay for the night.
The whole area has to be developed again so the tourists come and spend some time here which is not exactly the case though the reasons for this are otherwise now.
Human beings co-exist with nature and one amongst many also happens to be this place. It has to be preserved because existence is a priceless gift and the beauties of nature are the priceless gifts of existence! This should not be forgotten by the tourism authorities because if they are in position to do something they should just do it!