In the lap of Pir Panjal right in front of the famous Huen Heng peak, there are many unspoiled captivating meadows. Among them two are worth mentioning- Panchan Pather and Nuss Pather. These two meadowlands lie next to each other. Almost 25 kilometres away from district headquarter Kulgam, the road to Panchan Pather passes through the small towns of Damhal and D. K. Marg to end up at Humpathri. Just a kilometre away a narrow unpaved road with gradual ascend leads to the magnificent meadow of Panchan Pather.
The two lesser-known picnic grounds are abundant in natural resources. They contain all things that add life to the meadows. The splendour display of verdant meadows is a treat for sore eyes. The impressive appearance of the beautiful landscape touches one’s heart.
Panchan Pather is an oval-shaped meadow surrounded by small and big mountains on all sides with thin vegetation cover. A few brooks loop around the grassland. During summertime, the grassy paddock is full of domestic animals. At the entrance of the meadow on the left side, there is a sacred place attributed to Sheikh Nuruddin (RA). It is said that he worshipped in this piece of land for some time.
The meadow is a local picnic spot and has the potential to attract more tourists in the coming years. There is also a natural cricket stadium. The youngsters come from far off places to play cricket on this field. Especially the teenagers of Mahu valley who come here by crossing huge mountains.
Recently a festival was held at Panchan Pather by district administration Kulgam & J&K Forest Department in collaboration with Tourism, Ahrabal Development Authority and Youth Services and Sports departments. The place was officially thrown open to tourists. In a day-long carnival, many eco-friendly activities took place in the presence of Deputy Commissioner Kulgam.
From Panchan Pather towards the southeast, a thirty minutes gentle short hike on a hilly trail leads to triangular-shaped pastureland called Nuss Pather (2600 m). This is a sloppy meadow surrounded by dense forest cover. The imposing view of the Huen Heng peak is visible from the gate. On one side of the nicest place flows a beautiful rivulet formed by joining many glacial meltwater streams. There is another way to reach this tourist destination. It starts from Kutmarg (Badijahlan) if one follows the D.K Marg- Chimmer route. Adjacent to Nuss pather across the ridge lies the wonderful picnic spot of Mohu valley named Rattan. One can reach there by passing through a gap at the crest of a highland.
The mountaineer’s greatest joy is in climbing mountains. As far as the Pir Panjal range is concerned, there are numerous big and small mountain peaks on it. Apart from skilled hikers, common people can also conquer such peaks. Some of the mountain peaks in Kulgam are considered very important for mountaineering. Such as Bramshakri (4500 m), Huen Heng (3900 m) and Sondir Top (3700 m) have great significance. Bramshakri is the highest mountain peak of district Kulgam.
Huen Heng (Dog’s Horn)- Who doesn’t know this mountain peak? I think everyone is aware of the tragic incident that happened on February 7, 1966, when a Fokker F 27 IA plane passing over the Pir Panjal mountains carrying 37 passengers including crew members met with an accident due to less visibility and bad weather conditions. The plane lost control and collided with the mighty Huen Heng peak. All the passengers on board lost their lives.
Huen Heng is known for a terrible accident that happened there a few decades ago. It is neither the highest peak of district Kulgam nor the Pir Panjal. It is one of the prominent peaks of the Pir Panjal range with an average elevation of 3900 meters. Close to it, there is another peak with a height of 4200 meters a little bigger than Huen Heng. People often get confused and call it Huen Heng. The peak that comes first while climbing from the valley and is low in height is the famous Huen Heng.
Many trekking routes from several places steer to Huen Heng. The hikers of the Jammu division climb this mountain either from Mohu valley or Gulab Garh. The mountain slope from the valley side is very steep. No one can trek on it from the front other than professional mountaineers. As far as the rock climbers of Kashmir are concerned, they climb this mountain by four different routes that run parallel to its sides such as Kutmarg, Nuss Pather, Panchan Pather and Lalpora- Sanyadi route.
Among all Lalpora- Sanyadi is a bit easy to climb the mountain. This place is only a few kilometres away from the main town D. K. Marg to its right. The enthusiastic alpinist should follow the main glacial outflow that comes down from the mountains close to Huen Heng. After passing through the pastures of Pajmal, Burzi Pathri, Kalkinsar, Chopan Pathri, etc one can reach a mountain pass called Gagad Gali. A little higher than the pass is situated a spectacular Huen Heng cliff.
The whole of Kashmir valley and some parts of the Jammu division are visible from the summit. It separates two regions of J&K. On one side of this mountain falls Kashmir valley. On the other side, there are two pristine sub valleys- Mahu and Gulab Garh.