Beautiful Behramgala

Beautiful Behramgala


K.D Maini


Behramgala is a glen track within the main Peer Panchal series of mountains from Peer Panchal Pass (12360′) to Rattan Shah Pass (8600′) in Poonch district. The place is also known as Panjsrain valley. This beautiful and attractive valley runs through snow bound mountains, lush green pastures, dhoks, mergs, crystal clear lakes, streams, water falls and thick forest of Fir, Devdar and Pine trees. The track is dotted with habitations on slopes with small agriculture fields. The area was named as Panjsarian by Mughals after they constructed five inns (sarias) on Mughal road at Rattan Peer, Chandimarh, Poshiana, Gungadian and Peer Pass for the convenience of Mughal caravans. It may be said here that Mughal road used by Mughals also falls in the same area.

Presently, Panjsarian valley comprises 10 villages having 0.25 lacs population. There are also 95 dhoks, mergs high pastures spot where 0.35 lacs floating population of Poonch and Rajouri districts migrate in winter season. Chandimarh is the oldest township existing in Panjsarian valley which is located near Behramgala and is famous for iron tools and Kashmiri Bakery.
B.C. Hugel, the author of ‘Kashmir and the Punjab’ who visited Panjsarian area in 1842 AD while going to Kashmir has compared it with Simla and wrote that while ascending from Rattan Peer (8600′) the terrain, vegetation and climatic conditions resembles with Simla. G.T. Vegne, who traveled this picturesque area in 1840 AD, wrote the name of Chandimarh as Chandur Ma (Moon) which was a township of log-houses. He describes that the glen is covered with forests, plunging down from the vast height into the very bed of streams and a forest of Devdar and Pine covers the whole face of mountains.
Behramgala and Chandimarh townships still possess their virginity and are looking more attractive than an such hilly track of Kashmir valley. However, there is no economic development. During spring season, the herdsmen, shepherds, Paharies and Nomads start moving in this area for onward migration to high pasture lands. They camp at the periphery of Chandimarh along with the herd of goats, flocks of sheep, horses and convert Chandimarh and Noorichamb into tented colonies. The migratory population and travelers purchase Kashmiri Bakery, agriculture implements and grocery items. They also sell and purchase animals.
Behramgala-Chandimarh area boast of a deep historical background. As per Raj Tarangni of Srivar, the ancient name of Behramgala was Bharogal (Named after a Hindu Diety). Later on, with construction of old Mughal road by Mughals, this valley became the neck of Kashmir valley and was renamed as Behramgala.
This strategic track had played a great role during the reign of sultans of Kashmir. In 1420 AD Sultan Ali Shah converted Behramgala into a Chawani when his brother Shahi Khan (later on Budh Shah) was camping at Thana for a final battle with Ali Shah.
In 1474 AD, when Mohd Shah was designated as Sultan of Kashmir, Fateh Shah, the grand son of Budhshah gathered a strong force at Behramgala and ultimately conquered Kashmir and became Sultan under the title of Fateh Shah.
As per Tuzak-e-Jahangeri at the time of Mughal invasion on Kashmir in 1586 AD via Salt road, (later on Salt road was renamed Mughal road), this track was governed by local Sardar Bheram Naik who welcome Mughals and helped them in capturing Kashmir. In reward, Emperor Akbar who visited kashmir in 1587 AD through this track and halted at Behramgala-Chandimarh, designated Bheram Naik as Sardar of this track. The Emperor also directed him to construct five sarais in this principality from Rattan Peer to Peer Pass. Emperor Jhangir who visited this place for the first time in 1612 AD was quite impressed with this place. He named the waterfall located near Behramgala after the name of his wife as Noor Chamb, which later on became Noori Chamb. Jahangir had halted at Behramgala thirteen times while going to Kashmir.
He also got five sarais constructed in this area and renamed the tracks as Panjsarian. The Mughal caravans of Emperor Jahangir used to halt at this track for weeks together for recreation. At this very place the Emperor fell ill seriously in 1629 AD and took his last breath in Rattan Shah forest. With the death of Jahangir, the Royal glamour attained by this area started vanishing.
C.E Bats, the writer of the ‘Gazetter of Kashmir’ had visited Behramgala in 1867 AD. He described that Panjsarian track as part of Poonch principality of Raja Moti Singh. He writes further ‘an old stone fort is built on the lofty commanding peak near the village. The village Behramgala comprises 40 flat roofed cottages and is inhabited by both Hindus and Muslims. The hill above the north is crowded by Gujjars. It appears that the population living at Behramgala township were Pahari. A beautiful waterfall to the north east is attracting the attention of the travellers’.
Presently, the Panjsarian area is inhabited by Muslim population but the old Hindu names of the track have not been changed by the habitants. The seven lakes namely Nandan Sar, Chandan Sar, Neel Sar, Suk Sar, Bhag Sar etc. are existing in Panjtari Merg of this track. Chandimarh is changed name of Chandra-Ma (moon) and Behramgala (Bhrogal) Rattan Shah (after the name of Chandan Rani of Loran), Dogrian after the name of Dogras. It is also said that Chandimarh township was established by Chandi Devi and Behramgala by Bhero Devta. An old Shiv Temple still exist at Behramgala which is mostly looked after by the Muslim population of the area as no Hindu family is living in the valley.
The Muslims beonging to various tribes are inhabiting this track. There are Bakerwal and Gujjars residing near the forest areas, Pahari on the slopes, Kashmiris at Poshiana, Sailan and Chandimarh area while Rajputs and Mughals dominate Dogrian and Marah area. Recently 84 kilometers Mughal road has been constructed from Bufliaz to Shopian. The first 42 kilometers road from Bufliaz to Pir Pass fall in this nature blessed valley which is full of scenic spots and resorts like Noorichumb, Behramgala, Gali Girgan, Panjtari, Ratachamb, Sari Mastan and so on. It is expected that with the opening of Mughal road for traffic in near future the nature blessed Panjsarian valley shall definitely attract local and foreign tourists and this area shall be converted into the centre of scenic tourism.