Rightly said that-
“kya rakha hai bedh bhad vale seharon me,
Aao kuch din to bitaoo pahadoon me…”
Jammu and Kashmir is a mountainous state endowed with abundant natural landscapes, snow capped mountains, lush green valleys. There are many places like Gulmarg, Patnitop, Sanasar, Bhaderwah etc that have been thronged by tourists every year. But, still a lot of natural treasures lies hidden in the mountains and are not yet been explored by the capacious eyes of the man. One of such places is Kellar valley or Bhalla valley in Doda district of the Jammu province of the state- a place full of pristine natural bliss and abundance.
Kellar valley lies in Bhalla tehsil, located nearly 15km from Doda town and 25km from Bhaderwah, on the Doda – Bhaderwah road. It is a bowl shaped valley surrounded on all the sides by the majestic Himalayas and sharing its borders with Bani- Basohli on south, Bhaderwah on east, Marmat and Sudhmahadev on west. The valley is guarded by towering middle Himalayan ranges locally called by different names like Devshetra, Chander ,Taaliyan Mountains. The passes in these mountains are called Dhars, major ones are Seoj Dhar, Bhaihal Dhar, Kemel Dhar. These Dhars are covered with the thick blanket of lush green meadows bordering by high spruce, Sal and Deodar trees. Major rivers of Jammu region like Tawi and Ujh finds their origin in these Dhars. The Glaciers in these mountains are the source of numerous rivers and rivulets. The major river of the area is Binkood nallah and Khenkhela nallah together both joins river Neeru – one of the tributary of chenab river. There are a number of small gushing streams with crystal clear water, a number of natural water springs which provides the abundant source of water to the valley all year round. This hydropower potential can further be tapped by forming small hydro power projects.
Whole valley is divided into a number of anticlines and synclines and the entire landscape is dotted by numerous big and small villages like Malothi, Dugga, Rishupura, Dugli, thalsalla to nname a few. The cool and temperate climate of the Valley adds charm to its beauty. In winters the valley receives heavy snowfall on the upper mountains and mild snowfall in the down valley. Summers are pleasant with maximum temperature ranges from 20 to 25°c. Nights being more cooler than days. The area receives abundant rainfall both from western disturbances and during monsoons. Monsoons rains presents a panoramic view of the valley with white clouds appears floating on the lush green valley.
Kellar or Bhalla valley has a huge potential for tourism if developed properly. Various natural spots like Bhaihal, Trown, Khellani, Bani, etc can be developed to convert the whole area into tourism paradise and to boost the local economy. The captivating environs and breath-taking natural beauty, fresh cool air, far from the din and noise of cities can act as an ideal place for the tourists from plains. Eco tourism can also be developed here with the involvement of the local people. Tourism Department can also organize tourism melas in the area to showcase the ethnic culture and natural beauty.
The temperate climate in addition to fertile land provides a favourable conditions for the growth of variety of crops, fruits and flowers. The Kellar Valley is particularly popular for the sweet Rice(desi chawal) exclusively grown here.This variety of rice is little sweet in taste when cooked,thus adding natural flavour to the dish. People here have large orchards of Apple, Apricot, Walnuts, Pears etc. Tons of fruits are sold in markets of Jammu province. The valley is also specifically famous for floriculture. Flowers like marigold are supplied to the other areas of the state. But still the true potential of horticulture, floriculture has not been exploited yet. Government should take necessary steps in this direction. Pisciculture, Apiculture too can be carried out in this region. All this can be a game changer to the local economy. The forests here also abound in rare herbs and produce such as kasroor, Kundi, Gutchi (wild mushrooms).
Thus, we can say that nature has granted everything in abundance to kellar or bhalla valley, be it natural beauty, fresh water, fruits, flowers, and Fish. It is hoped that Government should take necessary steps to develop this economic potential of the area and also to bring it on the tourist map of the State.
(The author is a teacher)