Kotranka, the beautiful valley

Sajjad Iqbal
Kotranka is located 39 kms away from Rajouri District and the Ans river flows through Kotranka city. The river is unique as it flows from west to east direction – that’s why the river got its popular name “Ulti Ans”. Ans river comprises of water of five lakes located in heights of Pir Panjal Range. Water of these lakes feeds the river at different locations which then flows in reverse direction, from west to east.
People from Rajouri, Sunderbani, Nowshera, Kalakot, Thannmandi and other places visit Ans river in summer. School and College students also visit the place for picnic and enjoy the beautiful valley and refreshing water of Ans. To add to the beauty of Ans river plants of Salix or Weeping Willow (commonly known as “Beesa” and Sallali’s) dot the landscape. The river also helps in irrigation of farms in the adjacent areas and offer work for labourers to earn money for their survival. Labourers collect sand, stone and sell it to contractors and earn a good amount of money. Many farmers have built water mills and produces flour of wheat and maize. These water mills also play a role in the beautification of Ans.
Water of five different lakes that meet Ans river are Doban Sar, Ghum Sar, Kaldachni Sar, Peer Tigyaad Sar and Smrat Sar. Many other small rivulets also meet it in Chenab in Reasi. Water of Ans River irrigates the entire Ans valley and the Irrigation Project in future will be able to irrigate dozen of villages on its outskirts and also provide drinking water to thousands of people in Kotranka sub district. An amusement park is under construction on the bank near Bus stand Kotranka. The place could further be developed as a key tourist destination here. Kotranka has the potential to become a popular tourist place in the country.
Putha Sar, another undiscovered lake of Pir Panjal is located in Mohra Panchayat of Kotranka which is just 5 kms away from Kotranka. The place is now fully covered by soil and grass. According to a folk tale very long ago there was a lake which was just 10 km away from Kotranka main city, and was called Putha Sar (disappeared). The lake today is the grazing site for animals. Putha Sar’s water flows underground and join Ans river through a small river in Mohra Panchayat.
Peer Tigyaad, one of the highest mountains of Jammu and Kashmir is always covered with snow and can be seen from Kotranka. For the natural beauty and attractions to travellers, the state tourism department must develop the site. All the features that this place offers are natural and therefore can woo tourists from all parts of the world.