The Governor of J&K has emphasized the tourism department recently (8th July 2021) to identify new tourist spots to provide unique experience to tourists and to increase their footfall. In this connection one of the promising and unexplored tourist spots in Kashmir valley is Margan Top located in South Kashmir of district Anantang about 40 km from Kokernag at an altitude of 14500 feet above sea level. To reach Margan Top one has to take left turn on Vailoo - Sinthan Top road at village Desu to reach Mati Gawran. From Mati Gawran onwards a hilly road starts to reach Margan Top. This road is commonly known as “Begam Akbar Jahan Road”. The construction of this road from Mati Gawran to Margan Top started in the year 1982. First vehicle reached to Magan Top in the year 1987 but because of some unavoidable circumstances in the valley the work on this road remain halted till 2007, and now the road connects Marwah-Wadwan area to the valley of Kashmir.
On way to Mati Gawran to Margan Top one has to cross two beautiful places namely; ‘Lehenwan’ and ‘Nawkan’ located in lush green coniferous forests with gushing waters of beautiful streams, the waters of ‘Chavenz Nahla’ invites the passing visitor to have a sip of its cold water. The colourful flowers of Potentillas is another attraction.
Margan Top lies at an altitude of 3750 meters above sea level with latitude 33º49’411” N and longitude of 75º29’097”E. The valley of Margan is an alpine zone with lush green meadows and rich biodiversity. The entry point of Margan valley is called ‘Jandi’ which wellcomes the incoming tourists with small springs and red, purple-green, blue flowers of Primrose, Blue Poppy, and Gentian flowers. The Margan and its adjoining sides valleys like ‘Lehenwan’, ‘Shel-i-Sar- Gagad Nai’, ‘Chohar Nag’ and ‘Wadwan’, harbours beautiful flowers, some important medicinal & aromatic plants, lush green forest, alpine springs and lakes, unique animal species and snow clad mountains; meaning offers all in one for nature lovers and tourists.
In the midst of Margan valley flows a stream with crystal clear water which adds to its beauty. The stream is called ‘Honarkash Nalla’. On the banks of this stream various plant species grow with different coloured flowers, these colourful flowers take attention of every passing person. The source of Honarkash Nalla is Chohar Nag which is located on left side of Mati Gowran-Marwah road. Chor-Nag is a Kashmiri word which means four springs, these are actually four alpine lakes, and Chor-Nag valley is nature’s own creations with unique landscape, colorful flowers, huge rocks and pristine water bodies. All the lakes are oligotrophic with crystal clear water, the large meadows and the Rocky Mountains with rich biodiversity, the undulated land, the big grasslands and the lakes are so beautiful that human brain is forced to think about nature’s wonderful creations. Such a group of four clear water bodies at the alpine region is really mind blowing. On the way to Chor Nag one can see the underground holes of Mormots and these animals roaming and making different sounds, various endemic plant species and the beautiful flowers. If this area is brought onto tourist map it can prove first choice for both local as well foreign tourists and can prove a hot spot for Bollywood as well. On right side of Honarkash Nalla a beautiful green sloppy region called ‘Doabpather’ is situated. Here one sees plants with beautiful flowers and also a beautiful alpine lake with very clear and pure water; the lake is surrounded on three sides by lofty snow covered mountain peaks. The mountain peaks of Margan Top are decorated with lush green Junipers (Veethur) by nature in different patterns. On other side of Doabpather another beautiful side valley called ‘Shel-i-Sar- Gagad Nai’ is located. This side valley welcomes the visitors with crystal clear water fall of another alpine lake called ‘Shel-i-Sar’ and beautiful flowers of Corydalis, Androsac and Trolis etc. This alpine lake is located in the midst of huge lush green meadow which gives strange comfort and ease to eyes and soul. The gateway to the Shel-i-Sar- Gagad Nai is a narrow path in between rocks and water fall on left to this path. This area is paradise for the botanists, nature lovers, trekkers, and visitors.
On another side of Margan Top lies another beautiful place called ‘Wadwan’ with some habitation. A rivulet called “Wadwan rivulet” flows in the center of the valley with milky water, the rivulet takes its birth in the northern part of Wadwan and flows to south and finally reaches to Kishtwar where it merges with Chenab River. There are lot of patches of land along and in between the Wadwan rivulet which are more than 2 km2, these pieces of land inside the rivulet reminds us the Betab valley of Phalgam. However, at Wadwan the area and number of these island like structures are more and the quantity of water flowing is also more as compared to Lidder valley. Almost at each village which is situated alternatively along the bank of Wadwan rivulet a stream with crystal clear water coming from interior of these villages join the rivulet. The northern side of Wadwan is connected with Panikhar area of Ladakh and on southern side with Kishtwar area of Jammu divisions of J&K. The ‘Sarkund’ and Marwah area are also very beautiful and worth seen. The Wadwan to Panikhar area is less explored both by trackers, botanists and other natural science researchers.
Keeping in view the beauty of this place it should be brought to tourists map and promoted as one of the best tourist resort. This place is best for all the nature lovers, botanists and tourists. I hope Margan valley is going to be the best tourist spot to attract tourists within and outside the country and also to Bollywood if promoted properly.
Aijaz Hassan Ganie is Assistant Professor, Kargil Campus
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.