Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Vikas Tandon
Bakkal village in Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir is known for the natural beauty. The village is blessed with a charming view with hills all around and flowing Chenab River near it.
The natural beauty of this village can attract anyone. Dhol Baba is a one of the important religious places in Bakkal village. Near this village Chenab Rail Bridge is under construction. Once completed, this bridge will be the highest bridge in the world and even 35m higher than the Eiffel Tower. This bridge will be the source of attraction for the tourists. The village is having spectacular view. Sometimes tourists from far and wide used to visit this village throughout the year as the village is having the highest bridge in the world and also to know about the village folk. This place is also known for the cool weather especially in summers. If one wants to make a pleasurable journey in the district, one should go to this village. As we proceed towards this village from Reasi, we observe the pleasurable cool and fresh weather which reminds us about the Kashmir valley like atmosphere. On both sides of the road there are steep green hills and Chenab River in between the hills adds extra charm to the place. There are very few shops on the road up to this village. Feel freshness while moving there. On the way one can observe the Gujjar and Bakarwal grazing their goats and sheep on the green hills. The farmers also take green fodder from the green hills for their animals. The journey to this village can become a memorable travelling for you.
The village has immense beauty with hills all around. The charm of village is increased by the Chenab river which flows through this village. Maize, paddy and wheat are the main crops of the village. As said by the locals the paddy land is being affected by the contaminated water discharged through the under construction tunnel. The paddy yield has been reduced due to the application of water discharged through the tunnel.
Bakkal is the native village of the famous theater personality and Padamshree awardee, Balwant Thakur. This village has immense variety of traditional performing arts and people have preserved their valuable cultural arts. In the year 1969 Nambardar of this village Hari Saran Thakur represented Jammu & Kashmir state in the National Folk Dance Festival held in New Delhi and received standing ovation from the then President of India, Zakir Hussain and Prime Minister of India, Indra Gandhi and brought laurels to the state. I got opportunity to meet his son Krishan Singh who is also the Nambardar of the village. He told me that he is carrying the legacy and encouraging the younger generation for the village folk. He is promoting the traditional performing arts such as Kud, Masaade, Soian, Bhakhan, Shinjan, Geetru, Goria, Jagarna, Chann, Chand, Dafle etc
The village is also known for the dairy farming. The farmers of this village are having large number of buffaloes. They sell their milk in local markets. The farmers of this village are having large cultivable land and mostly they use their organic Farm Yard Manure (FYM) in their crops. This place is surrounded by magnificent mountainous and reminds us the coolness of Kashmir. One can enjoy pleasant summer if one proceeds to this place from Reasi. We can experience the natural air conditioner on this road to this village. The Chenab River flows between the steep hills give an extraordinary beauty to this spot. The greenery on the hills further added the charm to this place. But the intrinsic tourism potential of this beautiful is not known to the tourists and has not been explored yet. Most of the tourists come only up to Siarh Baba and after that they do not proceed further and come back to Katra or Jammu or move towards Shiv Khori. If we visit this spot we can add charm to our visit in Reasi district. While travelling to this village one can observe the beautiful view of Salal dam project and also the view of world highest Chenab Railway Bridge. One can enjoy the pleasant moments at Salal Project and can also observe the scientific working of dam and engineering of world highest railway bridge. The pleasurable cool breeze blows across the mountain range and flow of beautiful Chenab river adds glory to this village. Tourists can observe the view of agro- tourism in this village. One can also purchase the organic vegetables or organic crops products from this village as mostly the farmers avoid using the chemicals in the soil.
Moreover, paddy is also grown in the nearby villages and the aroma in the paddy fields really attracts towards fields. The greenery gives the bridal look to the village. The fruits such as ber, mango, litchi, citrus etc. are also grown in the village. There is also the potential of growing the walnut, pecan nut and apple in the area. Farmers of this area are very hard working and are making strenuous efforts for commercial farming. There is need of good roads connectivity, e-connectivity and medical facilities in the area. One can easily reach this village from Reasi by matador, bus or by the car. Undoubtedly there is a great tourism potential in the area. The bridal look of the area attracts the nature loving people to come close and explore what they like. When one moves from Reasi to Bakkal one feels that he/she has come in the lap of nature. This village can attract thousands of tourists from every nook and corner of India. This unknown village should be explored for the tourists.
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Vikas Tandon