Rajouri: For the last 40 years, a man from Lahaul Spiti area of Himachal Pardesh is acting as a connecting link between the border district Rajouri and Spiti Valley.
He claims to have seen Rajouri town when it was a small one and most of its houses were made of mud.
Seventy two-years-old Nawang Chering, who is known as Tashi, word used to refer to prosperity, is a known Buddhist figure here in Rajouri among the people of all age groups.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Chering said that he is a resident of Spiti Valley and now also resides in Kullu area of Himachal Pradesh.
"I am a trader of natural products and herbs and have been selling these products for the past five decades," he said.
"In search of a good market for my products, I reached Samba and then moved further and reached Rajouri four decades ago and found a good market for my products," he said. "Rajouri is rich market for my products with vast demand as all the products that I sell are not grown anywhere in the area."
Chering said that he sells pure saffron collected from the hilly areas of Kishtwar and some parts of Himachal Pradesh.
He said that he has also been selling Asafoetida, commonly known as Heeng, black cumin seeds commonly known as black jeera and exuded herbo-mineral commonly known as Shilajit besides some stones which people usually wear in finger rings and neck chains.
Chering claimed that he collects all his products directly from the farmers and growers in the hilly areas of Spiti, Lahaul, Kullu, Kishtwar and sells this to customers.
"I sell the saffron at half the price sold in the market," he said. "People from all walks of life in both the rural and the urban areas of Rajouri recognise purity of his products and purchase for the household use for the entire year."
He said he spends three to four months of the summers in Rajouri and sells his products in Rajouri town and almost three dozen villages in the periphery.
"I have seen Rajouri for the past 40 years and I have seen this town building and swelling into a concrete jungle with time," Chering said. "Forty years ago, the only market in Rajouri was of old town and there were few houses and most of those were made up of mud."
He said that he has only received love from people in Rajouri and people of all age groups respect him.