Enchanting Dudu Valley

G L Khajuria
Dudu Valley in Udhampur district lies amidst the lush green vibrant coniferous forest intermingled with broad leaved trees, shrubs, herbs, climbers with multihued variety of other flora. The valley lies around 171 kms from Jammu city itself. The break up journey through local buses, hired/ owned vehicles is from Jammu to Chenani (100 kms), Chenani to Man-talai (50 kms) through various hamlets viz Basti, Bast, Gauri kund, Sudmahadev (where 2800 years old lord Shivas temple) exists. At                    Sudmahadev an annual Shiv mela is religiously celebrated. Pilgrims across the country assemble in the form of a pilgrimage in the first week of June every year here.
The journey onwards passes through Mantali (12 kms) prominently famous as a beautiful spot amidst deodar, kail and chir forest. Here, late Dharendra Bhramchari raised beautiful structures for yoga center of international fame apart from petrol pump, gaushalla, mini zoo, rosary, and a swimming pool. With his death, all his further ambitious planning stood at standstill. It is painful to add here that many writers have repeatedly emphasized about the hefty invested money on yoga ashram together with allied developments warrant their up keep, preservation and further enhancement to restore the beauty of the spot by bringing it under Patnitop Development Authority (PDA) but nothing concrete has been done so far.
When I  was posted as a Forest Officer (Headquarter Chenani  had occasional deliberations with yog guru who used to tell that he had taken up the issue with Hilton Group Of Hotels for the further development of this picturesque spot but unfortunately no head way could be made.
It would be incomplete to make a mention about the legendary multistarrer movie “Jani Dushman” by R K Kohli, most part of which was shot at Chenani and its mesmerizing spots. Sh Dharendra Bharmchari was forest conscious and as requested, he raised a nursery with around one lakh seedling in poly pots which afterwards were planted out in the vicinity of the area. Apart from that he was very affectionate as he provided employment to the locals of the area who still remembers him whole heartedly.
Now, onwards from Mantalai the road winds through various hamlets viz Bap, Srara, Marothi, Koi, Latti, Dhoona, Jakhed and finally Dudu valley. However this road has further extension to Seri the main base camping point. And Uphill there is suez dhar and further trekking the Suez dhar is hazardous. Suez Dhar forms the northern aspect of the Dudu Valley.
It will be most interesting and enchanting to make a mention that while the writer with his staff was conducting markings in the Dudu Valley,  I stayed most of the time at Chari forest rest house. It was to my astonishment to see glow worms while viewing northern aspect of the Dudu Valley.
And on enquiry from the locals, I came to know that there is a vast potential of multi medicinal herbs. Also they told that one can conveniently trek from base camp chari during the day. But with the sunset, the herbs emit fragrance which makes one drowsy and it becomes cumbersome to cross the area.
The top of the Suez Dhar is just like a small plateau and on the other side there are lush green forests of deodar, kail, coniferous and spruce with broad leaved trees such as maple, rhododendron. And descending down one lands in charming Chenab Valley. So , desencending down from the top of Seuz Dhar means to land into Bhadharwah Valley which is still more thrilling and enchanting.
Concluding, therefore, it is prudent to mention here that nature has all along been worshipped across the globe for its timelessness. The mesmerizing meadows and mountains make for a great home. Everyone experiences richness of nature and all its bounty at least ones in lifetime.
Let we, therefore, spend time with nature, accepting the diversity and brilliance  of  what is really a gift to mankind. Let us learn to revere and preserve nature at all costs and at all times.
(The author is former deputy conservator of forests)