Prof. (Dr.) R.D. Gupta
One of the very famous milky waterfall, commonly known as “Noorichamb”, is situated exactly on Mughal road, quite adjacent to Behramgala village in the Panjsaran valley. This waterfall is about 45 km from Poonch city on Surankote road which lies on foothills of Pir Panjal Pass, having an elevation of 3480 m. Some of the peaks around this waterfall remain covered with snow throughout the year. Its southern side is surrounded by the beautiful forests of fir and deodars. The Girgan valley having a number of natural lakes is also approachable from this very spot.
The main sources of “Noorichamb” waterfall, its legend and how the name of this milky waterfall got its name as “Noorichamb”, have been described here as under:
SOURCES OF NOORICHAMB WATER
The main sources of “Noorichamb” water are Lucksar and Kolsar lakes. The lakes are located at an altitude of 3900 m near Panjtari marg in Pir Panjal mountain range (Maini, 2011). The water of these lakes flows down in the form of a stream, which passes through the forest range of Hassanthamb. This stream after falling from a height of about 27 m, takes the form of waterfall near Behramgala village. The water of whole of this stream converts into the milky water vapours, gives lot of pleasures to the tourists/villagers. It, as a consequence, allures them to visit the “Noorichamb” waterfall. This is the reason, why now a number of tourists come to visit this place not only from Rajouri and Poonch districts but also from other districts of the State. Visitors from outside the State also come to have a view of this waterfall and its beautiful natural surroundings.
As the legend goes in the villages of Panjsaran valley, this waterfall was built for running water mill by Pandavas, when they were passing their exile days in these forests. They diverted the water of lakes towards this mound, where presently exists the waterfall. They also dressed a big stone for water mill in nearby Pamai stream. However, they could not build this water mill because they left this place after staying here only for a day.
VISIT OF MUGHAL EMPEROR JAHANGIR
After the visit of Pandavas, this waterfall remained without any name for centuries. The place again came in limelight during the reign of Emperor Jahangir, who used to stay here, while he was travelling to Kashmir and stayed thirteen times at this spot. When he visited this place for the first time, he was so much impressed with the beauty of this natural waterfall that he named it as “Noorchamb” in the name of his queen, Noor Jahan. With the passage of time, its name changed from “Noorchamb” to “Noorichamb”. It is worthwhile to mention that some elders of nearby villages still call this waterfall as Noor Jahan or Noorchamb.
In Tuzike-e-Jahangir, Emperor Jahangir has described that there used to be a lot of joy and happiness among the local people when the royal caravan used to reach here. They raised slogans with beating drums and singing of shainai. The caravan was accompanied by local people under the supervision of local Jagirdars. The Emperor Jahangir used to stay at a baradari constructed at Chandimarh (about 2 km on the north of Noorichamb) for few days and left for Srinagar. While a number of tents used to pitch there for darbaries and soldiers, and a few maths for personnel dak of Emperor Jahangir also used to be constructed in the area (Maini, 2011). Chandimarh had five sarais, which are now in ruins (Jamwal, 2003). About 8 km from Chandimarh is situated a Poshana village. The remains of Mughal sarai can still be seen in this village. The village is mentioned in Rajtarangini of Kalhana.
During Emperor Jahangir’s stay at Chandimarh, Noorichamb area remained prohibited for general public. In the evening, he along with his Queen Noor Jahan used to walk from baradari to waterfall. While they relaxed on the terrace in front of Noorichamb, dancers of local jagirdar used to dance before the Emperor. There was also a mirror fitted behind the terrace in the rock in such a way that Emperor had a view of the waterfall (Maini, 2011).
It is said that Queen Noor Jahan, during halt of caravan at this “parrao” (place) used to take bath in drizzling water vapours which make a rainbow on a fairy sunny day (Mughal, 2009).
As per the Iqbalnama Jahangir, in 1627 Emperor Jahangir arrived at Noorichamb from Srinagar in serious ill condition. In light of the deteriorating health of the Emperor Jahangir, the hakims exhorted him to say there for a few days. During this stay he was very much perturbed when one day a hunter while hunting a deer, on his orders and in his presence, fell from the opposite mountain of Noorichamb and died on the spot before him. This hunter was the only son of a widow. She wept in such a way that the Emperor got shocked. This incident affected his deteriorating health adversely. Keeping in view the serious condition of Emperor Jahangir the caravan at once started. But the Emperor Jahangir died between Noorichamb and Rajouri on Mughal road.
The entrails of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir were buried inside the Mughal sarai known as Chingus when he passed away. It was resorted to avert possible war of succession among his sons. Fact of his death was kept a secret from the people and the name of village Khanpur got converted to Chingus, meaning entrails in Persian, and is so popularly known even today (Jamwal, 2003). The place, Chingus, is the starting point of Mughal road, and is known as Chingus sarai, which is situated at about 660 m altitude on the right side of Rajouri town on Jammu-Poonch road.
The demise of Emperor Jahangir closed the chapter of the glory of Noorichamb waterfall. However, with the opening and running of the Mughal road, the hustle and bustle of this waterfall can be expected again. In this regard, one should not forget the remarks given by a well known tourist, Richard Temple, while going to Kashmir in 1859. These are, “Then we reached Behramgala, it consists of only two houses. Close to our tent, there is a stream called “Chita Pani”. About a mile (1.6 km) from Behramgala we come to Noorichamb, which is not very large but very pretty. On the rock of the above, there is an inscription in some old language.” These remarks stand published in a book written by Richard Temple, titled “Hyderabad, Kashmir, Sikkim and Nepal”.
PRIORITIES AND SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
(i) As presently there is no accommodation facility available at this site so it must be created for the tourists to stay.
(ii) It is proposed that facilities for a tourist bungalow, public convenience, a viewing deck, and food centre may be created. By doing this, the tourists from different places can be attracted.
Prof. (Dr.) R.D. Gupta