BY MUBASHIR AHMED MIR
Girgan Dhok is also known as the valley of seven lakes and is the most adventurous and breathtakingly scenic site of the entire Peer Panchal region.
The valley falls in the outskirts of Poonch district about 60 km east of Poonch town and is about 10,000 to 15000 ft. above sea level. The valley starts from the top of Bheramgala (Chai) mountain and goes up to Ravinwali Dhok which is touching the last corner of Budhal Tehsil.
The valley is snow laden for about five months a year. The escapade to Girjan Dhok begins from Sailan, a tiny village on Mughal Road. The mild trekking of about 5 kms in deep jungles leads you to the village of Maada.
The village is distributed into two areas on the basis of ethnicity - Mughal Maada & Khokhar Maada. The rigorous pathways in the dense forests with streams flowing next to you, while you gain altitude with each step, are extremely demanding and draining.
The village of Mada has picturesque beauty and breathtaking views. It has been a target of militancy and has suffered drastically because of this. These instances submit a proof of the rich and flavoured political history of this region.
In contrast to its political history, the area has famous delicacies as well. Desi Mothi, a variant of Turkish gram grown at higher altitudes like these is famous across the state. The local villagers cultivate and trade seasonally at mass level. This delicacy holds great economical value for the entire region. Uphill trekking across the narrow tracks of Maada village leads the way to the majestic top of Maahaal which has breathtaking views of the entire valley.
The entire valley has an overflowing agrarian sector that can be attributed to the production of maize, walnuts, plumps, mustard, gandor, sabaz mothi etc. Medicinal herbs (Jadi) are found across the whole region in great abundance. The villagers are often seen picking up these herbs from meadows. These herbs are sold at great prices in nearby local markets. The narrow stretch from Maahaal is followed by the panoramic woodlands of village life. The stretch opens up at Chakan, the last inhabited village of the entire valley. Then follows the heavenly meadows of Girjan.The trails of Chakan village guide one towards Daer Dhok which is famously known as the Gateway of Girjan Dhok.
Daer Dhok (meadow) has picturesque natural beauty with a touch of splendid tranquility. The meadow also serves as a pasture land for cattle rearing for different communities of this region.
It is also famous for the cricket tournament held here annually. Another well known delicacy from here is Gandor, a vegetable. Dusk and Dawn here are sites to behold. It checks all the boxes for extreme adventure and mountaineering in the entire region.
One can experience the true taste of nomadic life while exploring this wonder of nature. This route is also famous among shepherds who meander their cattle through this pass to reach Srinagar. The stockpiling of firewood for the preparation of our daily meals was quite an experience. The fresh water gushing from Sukhsar Lake opens up into a river that flows next to Daer Dhok.
The adventures of Girjan don’t end here, this unexplored world of Pir Panjal has more to offer. It was followed up with a hike for Sukhsar Lake.. The altitude varies between 11000-11500 ft. above the sea level here. The change in elevation can be felt with lesser vegetation and unevenness of topography. The famous Pir Ki Gali is also visible during the trek to the lake.
Sukh Sar is one of the seven lakes in the highlands of Pir Panjal Range. It is an oval-shaped lake, at an altitude of 3500 m. This is also the first lake if one approaches the seven lakes from the northern direction.
As per the legend, in the ancient times, there was a king known as Girgan Dev who was ruling this track. He was a spiritually endowed king having six sons and one daughter. The names of his sons were, Nandan, Chandan, Neel, Sukh, Bhag, Gum and Kali (daughter).
In his old days, Girgan Dev decided to leave Kingship and go to the jungle for worship of God. With this idea, he directed his children to go to the mountains of Panchal range and select the place where he could worship God for the rest of his life. On the orders of their father, all the six sons and daughter left to search for a peaceful place for him.
After selecting the sites, everybody came back and reported to their father except Gum who did not return. After some time Girgan with his sons and daughter left in search of Gum. When they reached near Gum Sar of the present time, they saw Gum sitting at a beautiful site.
He said to his father that he would not vacate this place as he himself would stay there. By this way Gum is confronted with his father. At this moment, Girgan Dev became so furious that he embedded his son Gum in the earth with divine power and said that he would never come out on the surface and people would not even know his name.
Then Girgan Dev accompanied by his other five sons and daughter visited the places selected by them for his worship. After visiting these places, their father was very happy and pleased. He said that after their death, all of them will be converted into beautiful lakes.
By this way you will live on the earth forever in the shape of lakes. Afterward the six places are known after the name of the five sons and one daughter that is Nadan Sar, Chandan Sar, Sukh Sar, Katora Sar, Bhag Sar, Neel Sar and Kali Dachani. Therefore, the valley of seven lakes is known as Girgan after the name of Girgan Dev.
Mubashir Ahmed Mir is resident of Poonch and can be reached at: email@example.com
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.