Shiv Kumar Padha
Having been bestowed with natural beauty and climatic variations ranging frome quatorial to temperate, the whole Bani of tehsil is considered as a unique geographical entity and occupies an important place among the tourist places in the jammu region. River Sewa flows quite in the middle of Bani. The boundaries of Bani tehsil touch Kailash- Sarthaldhar (the source of Sewa river) in the north, Himachal Pardesh in the east, Banjal- Chaladhar in the south and Dhar Mandi – Nooknal in the west.
Entire Bani tehsil is a hilly area which abounds in sights rich in natural beauty. Sarthal, Lowang, Bani headquarter, Dhagar, ChalaDhar, Banjal, Rolka, Jaurian Mata, and a terrain extending from Sarthal to Kailash are worth mentioning as rich tourist places. Ever green tall waiving deodar trees, forests of cheel and padtal, crystal clear water and coolbreez, streams and brooks, springs and cascades, snow clad mountains, green pastures, vast stretches of water and snow,and the verdure, enhance the beauty of Bani. The forests of Bani are rich in flora and fauna, the whole stretch of the forests from Banjal upto Sarthal Dhar abounds in valuable herbal plants which are used in the preparation of life saving medicines. Both wild life and the vegetation especially the valuable herbs help boost the possibilities of tourism in Bani.Bani tourism can be divided into natural and the religious. Owing to natural beauty, Bani is counted among the most important tourist places of Jammu Province. Doubtlessly, the whole Bani tehsil is bestowed with enormous beauty by the bountiful nature but there are such places as excel in natural beauty in comparison with their counterparts in other parts of state and which are worth mentioning here for the information of the tourists coming to the state.
Bani town is the tehsil headquarter and is a picturesque valley. Sewariver divides the town in two parts which are connected by the two bridges. The lay out of the town is extremely charming and attractive. The oval shaped valley of Bani is encircled by the high mountains having thick grooves of tall trees of Deodar. The houses of the town are steep and are made from the corrugated steel sheets. The roofs are painted with designs colors which look very beautiful when seen from a height. There is enormous plantation of the walnut trees.
Banjal Gala is at a distance of 44 kilometers from Basohli on the old BasohliBani road and is situated at the peak of hill 1980 meters above the sea level. Perhaps Banjal forest is the only one in Jammu region which has got so vast stretch of oak trees (banj trees) a which contributes to its name as Banjal. Owing to its height, one can have the view of the twinkling lights of Dalhousie and the nearby cities of Punjab at night from here. Fascinated by the beauty of Banjal, the springs of water, thick grooves of oak trees and the lush green pastures, the British government of the time selected Banjal suitable for tourism.
ChalaDhar range reaches Banjal after passing through the peaks of a number of hills. In summer, the whole range is covered with green grass and flowers of different colors and present a fascinating view. Like khilanMarg the entire terrain of Chaldhar is suitable for trekking and snow games.
Sat Seer is a famous water fall near Kardoh on BasohliBaniroad. The water fall splashes down on the middle of the road. No one can escape the spot un-drenched. The source of the water fall lies in the foot ofJaurian Mata hills. The water is rich in minerals and helps in digestion process. The tourists and the passengers halt near the water fall and carry the water of the fall in cans to their homes.
Lowang village is located 13 Kmts towards north on the BasohliBaniBhaderwah road. It is 1760 meter above the sea level. This village is known for its pleasant and refreshing environment and is counted among the tourist spots of the area. The population of the village comprises of Hindus and Muslims who live together just like brothers. The amity of the two communities is a living example in the modern age. The natives of the village are very hospitable. JammaMusjid and LahuNaag temple are the main attractions of Lowang.
Dhaggar is 20 Kmts towards west of Bani and is located at 2000 meters above the sea level. Dhagger is encircled by the beautiful places like Drood, Sarola, Thalotha, Samloga.
The vast and thick forests of Piceamorinda (tose), Abiespindrow (padtal) the lush green meadows grown with multi colored wild flowers, streams and springs of cold crystal clear water and the pleasant weather of the place add to its beauty. Panyalag, Khajar, Doogan, Doolangal are the beautiful and worth seeing places en-route DhaggerBani road. The trekking rout from Bani to Sarthal viaSandroon passes through the enchanting valley of Sandroon, thick forests of Deodar, vast green meadows of SargarhDhar. The springs of water and the streams of ice cold water are well known in the Bani area. The places of pilgrimage include Jaurian Mata, Shakti mata temple of Bani and Sheetla Mata temple, attract a good number of devotees every year. Jaurian Mata shrine is situated 2400 meters above the sea level and is 48kmts away from Basohli. There are forests of Banj, Tose and Deodar on either sides of the route from Banjal to the shrine. The climate of the shrine is very pleasant. There are vast stretches of grassy plains full of colored wild flowers. The entire way to mataJaurian shrine remains shrouded in the mist and many times the sun and the mist are seen playing hide and seek with each other. Jaurian mata shrine is both a pilgrimage as well as a famous tourist place in Bani and Basohli.
About 66 percent of the total geographical area of Bani is covered under forests. There are varieties of wild animals found in the forests of Bani. Out of them few species are at the brink of extinction. Leopard, black bear, Musk deer, Wild goat (Karth), Pizad, Langoor, Wild cat, Sahe (Porcupine). Among birds, Chakor,Teeter, Koel, Neel, Kolser, etc. are found in good number in the forests.
As regards the natural beauty, forest and mineral wealth, Bani tehsil is rich but the people of the area are poor due to un employment. They are still compelled to live a miserable life without means of earning except the yield from the small farms. The per family land possessed by the Bani people is merely 2 Kanals per family unit. There are very few people in government employment. As such it becomes the moral duty of the state government to develop tourism of Bani to its fullest so that people are benefited from the income receivedfrom it. The beautiful places of the area should be brought on the tourism map of the state because completion of Basohli, Bani, Bhaderwah road and the bridge over RSD will open new vistas of progress and development in the area.