Dr Mandeep Singh Azad
When we think of visiting Udhampur for vacation and holiday purpose the name of the places that come to our mind are Patnitop, Mantlai, Kirmchi temples, Sheesh Mahal of Ramnagar, Ramnagar Fort, Shankari devta but the another tourist destination yet to be explored is Saddal Panjar area . Udhampur is located on the highway from Jammu to Kashmir. The culture of this area is PAHARI which resembles the culture of other areas of Duggardesh. The other part of the district has Dogra culture. Dogri is the main language spoken by the people of the district. The Dogri spoken here is known for its sweetness in tone. Their main language is DOGRI/PAHARI. The language is the rural and hilly area has maintained its native purity, accent and sweetness. Gojri is also spoken by the Gujjar Community settled here and there. However, Dogri is main language spoken in the district. The district is culturally an integrated part of Jammu region.
Saadal Panjar village a small village located 55 kms away from Udhampur city is another tourist destination yet to be explored by the tourist. A small village located in dense lush green forest ,long tall standing trees ,green pasture grass lands .The green forests and pleasant can be very refreshing for the nature lovers. Historic temple like Sheetla devi mandir, Saroli Kalka mata mandir, Baba Jassar Mandir, Baba Kansar mandir are the best blend of spirituality and nature. Kasori, Shapra, Saroli, Chauda dabbad are some of the most calm and beautiful scenic places of Jammu and Kashmir. Moungri cave shrine laocated few kms from panjar village is another important tourist attraction and has an ancient history. In the ancient times the village Moungri was known as Sonara. The word Sonara means a land of hundred water springs. In Dogri language, water spring is called Naaras. According to the legend, it was an abode of Nag Devta (King of the snakes), and once hundreds of natural stone made water springs used to flow. Still at present number of such water springs are found in the area. According to another ancient legend, associated with the Kansar Shrine, a small stone shrine of Lord Shiva was discovered by an irate local villager. To remove the impediment in the process of cultivation, agriculture being the mainstay of the local population, the stone structure was uprooted and flung into the Kansar stream. But as soon as this was done calamity befell on the helpless villagers. Then the shrine was hurried retrieved from the rivulet bed and a temple was erected on a nearby hilltop by the rural folks. The temple still stands as a testimony to their labors. A total population of 4000 people covered under panjar panchayat .Here tourist can also find in addition to fresh air ,local made kaladis,walnut trees ,local rajmash,and one of the best anardanas.
It is now complete one year when on last year on 7 September 2014 flash flood hit this. According to the district administration, 40 people were buried under the rubble of the landslides of which all most all corpses have been recovered so far. Over 132 families were dislocated following devastating rains and resultant landslides that hit the village on September 7, 2014. 86 families have been shifted to hutments in nearby Panjar village whereas 46 families are living in similar tin sheds in Sui village of Udhampur. At the advent of winter season, the left out people will also take refuge in the houses of their relatives, one of the villagers said. “That the tin sheds get hot in summers and cold in winters, which is why most of the affected families preferred not to stay in these government sheds”. District administration had identified land at Dabreh area in Udhampur tehsil where it is planning to construct 32 houses for the 46 families affected in last year’s havoc, presently living in Sui area of Udhampur.
Minister of State in Prime Minister Office, Dr. Jitendra Singh, who also represents the area in the Parliament, on January 24 this year, visited the area and announced adoption of the village under the Model Village Scheme. “However, on ground there are still many things to be done for the development of this area with regard to construction of roads and infrastructure or providing other benefits to the flood ravaged people is concerned. Althogh the local admintration had made efforts and survey has been done for construction of the road from Panjar to middle school saddal under PMGSY .