GHORDI: A region unexplored

Dr. Vaini Gupta
After a long time, I had the chance to visit the home place of my spouse. The place is known by the name Ghordi. It is a small block in District Udhampur. The place is situated to the east of Udhampur city, about 37 kms away. The moment I entered this village, I was euphoric to see its scenic beauty. I then decided to explore this place at my own level. I got to know from the locals that this place got its name from the people of Gardyal caste who inhabited this place for the long time and that this village is famous for its milk products like kalari , ghee etc.
My visit revealed that there is much to get attracted to Ghordi which I may be enlisting. The first major source of attraction is its pilgrimage centres. Near to it is Marada mata temple which is a famous shrine of Maa Chandi. Thousands of pilgrims visit this place especially during Navratras. The place is also having a beautiful landscape surrounded by high Shivalik hills. Tall pine, deodar trees, shrubs and herbs add more beauty to it.
Another religious place nearby is Baba Kair where a big mela is held in June every year. A famous Sheetla mata mandir is also there.
An old Pandu mandir near Jhansi bouli is there in Ghordi. It is a historically important site as it is believed to have been built by Pandavas during their visit. However, no exact information is there.
A place called Kasoori near Ser Manjhla village of Ghordi is considered to be a meditation place of Guru Gobind Singh Jee. It is said that the tree where he meditated and the instrument which he played is still there.
A place that added thrill to this village was a story associated with drain called” Bhoot ki kool”. It is associated with a mythical story that this drain was dug by a ghost on request of an inhabitant of village due to ongoing scarcity of water.
Another source of attraction to me was the visit of migratory birds. Huge flocks of migratory storks visit here in summers for breeding. These birds clearly reveal the presence of a serene environment which is pollution free and full of greenery. Also, the water bodies in near by areas have the presence of a large number of fish fauna and edible crustaceans like crabs. Other wild fauna observed here include peacock, jungle fowls, leopards, bears, wild rabbits, fox, jackals, porcupines, mongoose, pythons, cobras etc.
The area is also rich in great number of medicinal plants like Brahmi (Moniera cuneifolia), Ghritkumari (Aloe vera), Giloy (Tinospora cardifolia), Aamla (Emblica officinalis), Banafsha (Viola odorata), Shalmali (Bombax ceiba), Safeda (Eucalyptus sps.) etc.
But inspite of all these assets, this place is rarely known to the outer world and the exclusive reason for this is the poor road connectivity. The roads are in ramshackled condition and when heavy rains break out, the approachability to this place is completely lost. It results in the major sufferings of one and all. The students are the foremost sufferers of this as the school staff (coming from far off places) finds it difficult to reach there at proper time and thus can’t deliver their precious knowledge to the little seekers. This ultimately is a great loss to the village, to the state and to the country as the minds which could be great scientists tomorrow keep wandering within the concrete walls of a classroom. Health services are also affected. Patients, there are more dependent on DUWA rather than DAWA. Duwa that roads are open for traffic so that they could get Dawa. Doctor who are no doubt very diligent in their duties still find it difficult to send patients for further higher treatment and management to even nearby sub-district hospitals. Also, the basic amenities don’t reach there properly leading to inflated cost of day to day requirements.
Tourism, which could be a great source of income to the Govt. as well as locals is also deprived largely. The snow covered mountains during winters in the upper reaches of Ghordi depict the similar backdrops and general scenery as that of Patnitop. But, due to the lack of accessibility, these places remain unexplored.
Inspite of possession of such rich natural beauty and biodiversity, including medicinal plants, no major or minor activity related to their conservation is being taken there.
Hence, a humble request from my side is towards Govt. and the authorities concerned that some heed must be taken towards this unexplored hotspot of our district so that it may develop to its best potential and give its best to all of us.