Dr Tasaduk Hussain Itoo
Although it has been almost four years since then, but some reminders could pen-me-up to write about that amazing journey. In comparison to our planned trips so far,that trip came out of the blue.It was most probably the 2nd of July 2015,in the holy month of Ramadhan,when we had to go home on the eve of Eid Ul Fitr.
As the main Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was closed due to rainy weather,my good friend and batchmate, Dr. Syed Manzoor Ali found an opportunity and told me to do a marathon trip from Jammu to our back home via historical Mughal road.We were a group of friends including my brother, Aubaid Itoo, a civil engineering student in Jammu.
As we most owe to feel adventure of nature,so any opportunity to visit the Himalayas and higher reaches of the state is always welcome. Given the best time of the year, we agreed to make this a really amazing trip, so we club out for the day-long trip.We had managed a Tavera car a day before, so we asked a common friend driver to join us.Given the driving involved and the distances to be covered, photography for a change was given second priority.So here we set out for a journey starting from our medical college, passing through Akhnoor, Nowshehra, Rajouri, Thana Mandi and finally through old historical mughal road.Apparantely the latter was the alley way from where the ancient Mughal armies of Humayun and Babar would invade India.Akbar, the great to conquer Kashmr in 1586 and his son Jahangir died while returning from kashmir on this road at somewhere in Rajouri.
The first, though hallucinating but fascinating thing were those sharp and blind turns.While the surfacing was good, every bend was a blind turn and we found overselves face to face with local taxis on many occasions during the journey. We drove through some of most narrow and remote mountain roads I have ever seen.However we saw none of that aggression that you tend to see on Jammu-Srinagar National highway. As we drove to the higher reaches of the road,we started finding black on the road in the areas where the sun-rays could not reach, typically on U-bends. We witnessed a bunch of fog on the higher reaches which was creating a sort of hindrance to drive smoothly.On the way many times we were amazed by clouds. Looking through these deep valleys was an amazing experience which is not possible to simulate through photographs.Through out the journey, we were amazed with lush green hills all around, with shining white snow on the tops. Water stream and water-fall flowing all around.It was really amazing to see those cool-watery clouds all around and simulate their freshness.
There is an iron bridge after Rajouri town from where this Mughal Road actually starts so popularly called Bufliaz Bridge.We stopped here and clicked some photographs.Whole Mughal road is very lucrative and amazingly beautiful, snow-caped hills all around, with various white water streams flowing through them which can’t be expressed in photographs. It is pertinent to mention here that Mughal Road, 84 kilometers long passes over the Pir Panchal mountain ranges, forms an alternative road-route to Kashmir valley from the rest of India, other than over-crowded Jammu-Srinagar National Highway through two tunnels- old Jawahar Tunnel and the new one though lucrative, Chinani- Nashri Tunnel.The road passes through Baffliaz, Poshana, Chattapani, Peer Ki Gali, Aliabad, Zaznar, Dubjan, Herpora & Shopian.
The amazing feel of chilled wind is always worth freshening and calm to simulate. At many spots we clicked photographs, though it was difficult to resist from stopping the Tavera car at frequent intervals.Every turn on Mughal road was coming with pleasant surprises. After Rajouri, elevation level started increasing continuously till we reached Pir Ki Galli, the highest elevation at around 11500 meters above the sea-level.Here we stopped for a while and took some photographs, with freshness of cool-watery clouds touching our minds amazingly. After high hills of Peer Ki Gali, we started driving towards the valley which passes through Shopian. At Shopian we de-seated ourselves from Tavera car and finally moved towards our respective home places.
In conclusion, I would like to mention some inferences drawn from the journey:
One has to go to the place for experiencing the real nature and wish that place remains the same even when tourists start visiting it frequently.
Getting lost in the natures beauty to find the exit to this historical road.
Black ice along bends that caught us off guard on many occasions.
Historic relevance of places along the route dating back several centuries and eras.
(The autho is Medical Practioner/Motivational Speaker/Activist/Columnist/ Educator at Unacademy, India’s largest online education platform.)
Dr Tasaduk Hussain Itoo