Written by Varun Kotwal
Early in the morning at Jammu, bags were packed, slippers were on, ready to drive to my home town Bhaderwah. When I started my car, breeze of snow clad mountains hit me on the face and dragged out my nostalgic memories of missing Bhaderwah.
My first stop on the way to Heaven on Earth is a Petrol pump, near historic Hari Niwas, the Palace. While my car was getting fueled up, my imagination took me to the days when this beautiful Palace was being built , I couldn’t stop complimenting the King for this beautiful Palace, pride of Jammu . Suddenly, tank full sound from petrol pump worker put me in my place. Started my journey once again , moving few kms from Hari Niwas, I could witness the site of River Tawi giving me hope that till she is in Jammu, Jammu is safe . Suddenly to my surprise a pack of monkeys stared at me with hope of getting something to eat from me and I didn’t break their hopes. When I reached holy Peer Baba on the way, my head bowed in respect and I prayed for peace of my State and the country and safe journey ahead.
On reaching Highway, sound of ‘Wah’ , came out of my mouth. What a beautiful highway! I couldn’t stop myself from thanking government of Shri Atal Bihari Ji who made this highway possible. My journey to Bhaderwah may had just began but my longing to meet my land had begun much earlier. On the way, first stop is at new bridge over Jajjar Khotli, I still remember days when all my school picnics were destined to this beautiful place but no such grandeur of that time is left now, due to negligence of local adminstration. To move away from such a sad scene, I continued my journey until I reached Maa Chandi temple on the highway and paid my respect at the Darbar.
On the way, I crossed Manthal, famous for its achar, (pickles); Udhampur city which is full of traffic and I also ate, famous Mama da nutri kulcha Wow !, what a treat to my taste buds! My next stop was just few kms away from new Nasri -Chanani tunnel. What a beauty and marvelous gift of engineering to people of Bhaderwah and Kashmir ! Entering into tunnel was like entering womb of ‘mother earth’ and coming out of it was like taking new birth. This experience cann’t be explained in words and you have to visit, to have first hand experience of yourself. Finally, I reached Bataote 80 km away from Bhaderwah, whole weather changed, totally different from other side of tunnel, rolled down windows of my car, switched off A.C, temperatures was refreshing, weather was pleasant, driving became fun, site and scenes of mountains and hills were eye catching, but still I controlled my feeling and put my heart at right place and became more cautious as driving in hill is risky and deadly if not taken well care off.
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What a beautiful site in fornt of my eyes ! Sign board written in bold letters “Welcome to District Doda”. Ah, what a joyful feeling, inner happiness and feeling of contentment engulfed me . Site of mighty Chenab river along side the road welcomed me, tall trees of Deodar on the both side of road hugged me, I could not think of any other place as beautiful as My Bhaderwah . My people welcomed me with open heart and opened arms as it took me six hours to reach my place. I decided to take rest and start over again next day. Next day I visited beautiful lake view Gatha resort in the heart of Bhaderwah, beauty at its best, spent whole of my day in the lap of lake Gatha, next day visited Jai meadows of heaven . The famous place of Bhaderwah which you can’t skip on your visit to Bhaderwah. The Seoj Dhar another beautiful creation of God, the most famous tourist destination these days is snow covered. Padhri meadows and Gulli Dana, every tourist and local visit these two places to witness utmost beauty of Bhaderwah . There are many, many other places to visit in Bhaderwah. List is very long, you should come and experience yourself and last but not the least don’t compare Bhaderwah with Kashmir. Bhaderwah is not mini Kashmir but it is big Bhaderwah, my land, and there can’t be any other place as beautiful as Bhaderwah on this Earth .