Breathtakingly beautiful Lolab Valley to the borders of PoK, Tangdhar, Kashmir

This post is in continuation of series my blog Bangalore- Kashmir - Bangalore and I encourage you to read the earlier posts if you want to enjoy the full drive and experience the beautiful vistas of Kashmir, our jannat on earth.


In this post I'll be covering the drive from Chandigam (Lolab valley) to Tangdhar, the most remote place I've ever been (I guess) and the closest to Pakistan. The place was beautiful but is ruined by the tension between two countries. Anyway, let rock and roll..


If you like the pictures and would like to use it for commercial purposes, please write to me and we can work out a good deal :)

Tangdhar Valley view



Day 10 - Chandigam (Lolab Valley) to Tangdhar

So we woke up early morning to proceed with our further journey Tangdhar today. Tangdhar is on another route and you have to go back to Kupwara to take the Tangdhar route. This was a lovely rainy morning and as it had rained pretty heavily last night, it was pretty misty and cold. So we packed our bags and proceeded to Tangdhar side. Enroute we took a lot of pictures ... the valley is really awesome and as it was raining and foggy, the scene there was just simply mesmerising.


Tourist bungalow at Chandigam. Look at the dew on the beast. It rained pretty heavy last night and the morning was very wet and cold.


Family pic to banti hai :)

So we thanked our care taker Hamid for his hospitality and serving us good food. He was very nice person and took good care of us during our stay. He also suggested us what to do and not on our way to Tangdhar and wished us good luck.


If any of you want to visit this place or anywhere in this part of Kashmir, drop me a note and I can send you his contact details. I don't want to SPAM him and don't want to list his number here. He runs a travel agency as well and can be of great help to you.


Thank you Hamid.



On the way we actually planned to do Kalroos caves as well but as it was raining heavily, we were advised by Hamid that we avoid going to the caves as it will be pretty risky. Also as it is a trek, we didn’t wanted to exhaust ourselves or take any risk of slipping etc. in these rainy conditions so we avoided that and went straight to Kupwara and then to Tangdhar.


Some beautiful shots of the valley

a normal sight on the roads of Kashmir

One of the Mosque's in Chandigam

Kidos coming or going to school.. good to see the education is provided in such remote areas as well of India

Entrance to Chandigam

Beautiful views all the way

It was drizzling a bit this morning so we stopped here to take some shots beofre moving forward

Panorama shot of the valley

Lovely valley

Fascinating .. isn't it?

Jannat yahin hai.. yahin hai.. yahin hai ..

My beast :)


The valley views

Look at the drama in the skies.. believe it was awesome to be here


The valley views


Rice .. everywhere

The valley views

The valley views

Gentlemen relaxing and chit chatting

The valley views

Look at the greenery here.. amazing it was


The drive to Kupwara wasn’t very long and then we took a deviation towards Tangdhar from the main town. When we were passing through the town, we stopped there for shopping of some almonds, walnuts, Kashmiri chilly, dates, Kashmiri tea (kahwa) etc. after that we proceeded to Tangdhar.




As it was Ramadan time, there were a lot of vendors selling these sweets and pakodas on the way.

Entry gate for Lolab valley

Taxi stand

Towards Tanghdar

Another beautiful mosque .. couldn't stop here for a better picture


On the way as we were now feeling hungry, we stopped to buy some snacks as proper breakfast was no where available here because of Ramadan month. So we bought some snacks to fill our tummies expecting that we might get something on the way. The drive further go scenic to very scenic to bliss and heavenly..

Yummy snacks


Yummy snacks

Some Halwa with the bread.. it was real good

Yummy snacks

Kashmiri fried roti

Don't know what this was.. can you drop the name of this dish if you know in the comments please?

Another mosque


The road to Tangdhar from Kupwara started with a narrow busy road but then it opened up quite well after few kms.



Towards Tangdhar

Beautiful views all the way


We were stopped here to get an entry permit which was easy process. Just show your ID's and they'll give you the permit after a proper screening of yourself and the vehicle.



In about a couple of hour’s drive roughly we reached one of the mountain tops and just before that we found one small restaurant/tea stall selling something to eat. As we were too hungry by this time we stopped here to have breakfast. The guy here was very good (as usual in these places) and served us well. We had Maggie, omelette and some Kashmiri Kulchas along with the masala tea ☕️ . After a great meal we continued our journey further via Sadhna pass which is one of the mighty mountains of this region.


Lovely water streams all the way to Tangdhar

Beautiful drive...

This was the cit for Bungus valley. We decided to do this while coming back as otherwise we would have gotten very late to reach Tangdhar on time.

Our next stop was Sadhana Pass, the top of the mountain

We stopped here for a photoshoot and captured some really awesome shots. The river flowing here was great treat to the eyes and our soul. It was such a beautiful and mesmerising moment to be here..

Some photography pf the beast

River flowing down the valley in full force




Beautiful drive and views all the way

Beautiful drive and views all the way

View of the valley from inside our beast

Beautiful drive and views all the way

Glacier


Beautiful drive and views all the way

Here we had almost 20-30 feet of snow on the road side and a big glacier on the mountain


Our beast posing to get clicked :)



The roads started getting bad and turned into tiles. I guess they use these tiles now at most of the mountain passes for better grip and easy maintenance than those tarred roads.

The road to Sadhna pass are not very good and not horribly bad as well. It’s a mix of broken patched roads to smooth tarred roads in the hills so it’s all twisty curvy with awesome views of the valley.


Beautiful drive and views all the way

Beautiful drive and views all the way

Once you reach near Sadhna pass, you’re stopped at the top to show the permits to go further down to Tangdhar. The army guys here were very interactive, they asked us loads of questions on our intentions to come there, what will we be doing, where would we stay etc.. we clarified all their queries, signed the book of entry, deposited our cameras (yes, they didn’t allow us to take cameras 📷 further down ... which was a huge disappointment for us) but had no choice ... to keep it and then move further down.

Selfie @ the Sadhna pass



The road from here was again not very good until the Tangdhar town and initially for few kms it was covered with snow on both the sides making it pretty slippery at few places. So we slowly continued our descend slowly and carefully hill stopping for enjoying the vistas as we now didn’t had any cameras but only phones to capture the beauty of this lovely place.


Since we didn't had cameras (DSLR's) with us, we were forced to take pictures only through mobiles if we wanted to. So we ended up taking video instead of the shots. Enjoy the video journey from here till Tangdhar town.

Drive video from Sadhna Pass to Tangdhar town


Drive video from Sadhna Pass to Tangdhar town



Some views on the way

Curvy roads and beautiful views of the mountains


Drive video from Sadhna Pass to Tangdhar town

Drive video from Sadhna Pass to Tangdhar town

Drive video from Sadhna Pass to Tangdhar town

Drive video from Sadhna Pass to Tangdhar town


Look at the drama in the skies

Views of the valley towards Tangdhar town



Awesome .. isn't it?

I wish I could someday come here and stay for months


Beautiful valley


The valley is pretty big and deep and has excellent views all around the road. At about 4pm we reached the town and called the guest house care taker to take directions. He came to get us and then took us to the Dak Bunglow where we were to stay tonight. The Dak Bunglow was just a 2 min drive from the main sumo stand but the road is very narrow where probably only one car can go. So we went to the Dak Bunglow and got settled over there. Our caretaker (Azhar bhai) told us that we should go the police station now to get the permits for Teethwal (Last Indian town before Pakistan starts) as it might take some time.



Valley views

Valley views

Valley views

Snow capped mountains

Snow capped mountains

Snow capped mountains

Look at that view .. Snow capped mountains and Lush greens .. Mesmerising..


Into the town


Tangdhar town



We reached the Dak Bungalow around 4pm with the help of the caretaker as he guided us where to come on phone. The Dak bungalow wasn't too far from the town but was in a narrow lane that we wouldn't have been able to find if we were alone. Anyway so we reached there and un-winded a bit.


Azhar, our care taker told us that we can relax a bit for now and around 5pm I and him can go to the police station for the permit to go further to Seemari which is the last Indian town on India side of this town. Beyond that its all Muzaffarabad, Pakistan.


Dak bungalow, Tangdhar


View from Dak bungalow, Tangdhar. The sounds of this water stream was so gushing that you wouldn't be able to hear anyone speak if you don't speak loud. We loved the sounds of nature here..

Dak bungalow, Tangdhar


Dak bungalow, Tangdhar

Dak bungalow, Tangdhar


Azhar and Mohammed made some tea ans snacks for us as we were very hungry and didn't get anything to eat on the way. We heard about "noon tea" being famous in Kashmir and specially this part of Kashmir so we requested for a "noon tea". Noon tea is made of Sheep milk here and its very buttery and salty. We enjoyed the tea that they served and relaxed for a while.


So after a good cup of tea, I and Azhar bhai went to the local police station for the permits. When we went there, the sub inspector and his team was sitting and soaking in the sun 🌞 We requested him for a permit but he was too reluctant to give it. He asked us if he had gone to SDM and he told him that he went back home and we missed him by just 5mins. The SI was in no mood to do anything so he told Azhar to go to SDM next day or try to catch him at his home. So we had no other choice but to go to SDM’s house for the permits.



After a short drive through the narrow town lanes, we reached SDM’s house where he was busy on phone. So we had to wait for almost 40 mins for him to get off the phone and then I got a chance to request him for the permit. He just asked few questions (confidential) and allowed us and told Azhar to get the photocopies of our IDs and submit to him with the application. Azhar did the same and we got the permit to go to Teetwal ..hurray.


Tanghdar town

Tanghdar town


Back to Dak bungalow, Tanghdar town


I decided to do some photo transfer on the HDD I carried for this trip so we don't end up loosing them just in case we loose the SD cards or they go bad.. touchwood.


As it was already evening and I was tired, we went back to the Dak Bunglow and relaxed there. Azhar made some snacks for us along with tea we enjoyed to the core. Azhar had a cook (Mohammed) at the Dak Bunglow to help him who actually prepared food for us today.


We asked him to prepare some chicken, eggs and one Dal along with some chapatis or rice. He made a good dinner that we enjoyed a lot and filled our tummies 😊 before sleeping for the day.


Yummy Phirni at dinner


We enjoyed our dinner and then slept like horses..


Day 11 - Tangdhar Teethwal Tangdhar

Today our plan was to wake up with ease around 8 or so and then leave for Teethwal around 9. So we woke up, had breakfast 🍳 before proceeding at the Dak Bunglow itself as we were absolutely sure that we won’t get anything on the way. So Mohammed made some eggs bhurji for us along with Bread, Butter and Tea. After the breakfast, we proceeded to Teethwal and on the way crossed several towns.


To go till Teethwal we had to show the permits obtained from SDM to the Army folks at the check-posts. There is a lot of Army presence in this area and you feel like too secured or or too much in risk because of this.


On the way to Teethwal . .sorry for the picture quality as these were taken on phones only :(

On the way to Teethwal

On the way to Teethwal

On the way to Teethwal

On the way to Teethwal

On the way to Teethwal


The route is pretty good and the valley is awesome. When you reach closer to the LoC and Pakistan, the valley changes and becomes very beautiful. The entire drive then becomes just aside the river Neelam (if I’m not wrong on the name).


From here Pakistan is just a stones throw away and mean literally a stones throw away! You can see Pakistan checkpost, people, their houses etc from this point and also their bunkers and immigration office. We were told that if people have visa, they can actually cross over through the bridge. So we drove here till the last Indian village and reached the last checkpost where we were stopped and were told to return back. This was the last town where any civilian is allowed to go provided you have permits. After reaching here we met with the army folks and requested if we can go a little further till Seemari.. the literally last Indian village where only Army folks are allowed. So what happened next is just a history... deep inside our hearts we collected all the moments and returned back towards Tangdhar.


Shot on the way to Teethwal. On the left side is our India and across the river on the right is the Pakistan road leading to Muzaffarabad.

Enjoy the pictures. I can't disclose too much details of this place.. so I guess you can just enjoy the pictures.


Lovely valley views


Beautiful, isn't it?

Some photo opp..





Lovely sheep, posing for us :)



We spent some time here and then moved further to the last Indian town. We had to take Army permission to get there and were allowed only few minutes to be there. So we just visited the place and came back without any pictures etc.. as that wasn't allowed as well. It was an awesome place though.. in your lifetime if you get a chance, please visit the place and see the beauty of this place. Someday, I really wish to do this again and also visit the Pakistan side of the valley if possible. Anyway we enjoyed the valley drive to the core and came back to the dak bungalow after a lovely drive...


While on the way back, Azhar mentioned that we can actually take another route which has beautiful vistas and is fun to drive. We took his suggestion and continued on the route (see below) which was an awesome route and was very very scenic.




Route taken -> Tangdhar- Teetwal - Seemari - Teetwal - Chanipura - Taad - Hajitra - new Gabra - Khorpara - Tangdhar



Keran valley drive - Part 1



Keran valley drive - Part 2


Keran valley drive - Part 3

Keran valley drive - Part 4


The road was terribly bad but was well worth the drive .. we truly enjoyed the drive in our Ford Endeavour or as we call it “Raakshas”. The road lead us to Tangdhar via many villages that were beautiful and had great views of the valley. It also had another view of the Pakistan side which was very clear from here. When we were passing through this area the locals over here were very curious to see a stranger in that region. So after a good drive, we returned back to the Dak Bunglow. As we entered the Dak Bunglow I realised that one of the tyre got punctured and the air was coming out very fast. So I decided to go and get the tyre fixed from a local shop there along with Azhar.

The shop was just a few minutes drive. While the guy fixed the puncture, we realised that Ford Endeavour had a serious problem with the tools that were supplied with the vehicle and the wrench 🔧 did not fit the nuts on the tyre. This was really a bad finding and my good luck that the puncture happened near the town and not in some isolated area else we would have been in a serious trouble as we wouldn’t have been able to open the tyre with the supplied wrench. This is a known problem and a lot of people have reported this earlier, but I couldn’t check it yet as I always had access to a puncture shop whenever it happened to me and never even took out the tools. Good that it happened now again near a puncture shop. I was really disappointed with this and seriously feel that Ford or any company shouldn’t take this lightly as someone can get into some serious trouble because of this minor problem or negligence from the manufacturer. Anyway we got the puncture fixed and then bought a wrench that fits the nut size and then came back to the Dak Bunglow.



Fixing the only puncture we got in this trip

Now I was really tired and exhausted after the treacherous drive so decided to rest and not do anything. It suddenly started raining here and in no time we were enjoying a heavy downpour over there that turned into a hailstorm after a while. There was no power so it made the scene a bit more dramatic. The Dak Bunglow is located just next to a water stream as well and that makes a loud gushing noise of the water flowing down with full force. So we enjoyed the scene, the rain, the weather and just relaxed with a cup of hot coffee and Kashmiri Kahwa. This day was pretty good and we truly enjoyed every moment today and we were lucky to be so close to India-Pakistan border that too in our own car.

So after sometime, Mohammed brought dinner for us. Today he cooked some awesome chicken, eggs, rice and rotis. So we had dinner and crashed into our beds.


Next day was the day to go to Gurez, a lovely picturesque place that we heard good reviews about and were very excited about it. So we woke up but not so early we wanted to rest easy to refresh. After waking up I just thought that I should give bath to my ride "the Raakshas" as it was pretty dirty after traveling on the dusty and muddy roads. It took me almost an hour to wash and dry the beast but it was back to its shine. After the bath, we got ready, had breakfast and got ready to zoom out of Tangdhar.


We then thanked Azhar and Mohammed for their services and hospitality and got going to Gurez, our next destination. For Gurez, we had to go all the way to Kupwara again and then get down to Wular lake and then take the route towards Gurez.



The beast posing for a shot :)

The beast posing for a shot :)

The beast posing for a shot :)


We collected our cameras from the Army folks at Sadhna pass that we deposited while coming this side. It was all fine and safe. We thanked them as well and then carried on our journey further.


On the way, we took a detour to cover the Bungus valley as well as that is another great location that we heard of. We went there for a drive and the drive was simply awesome and breathtakingly beautiful. It was lush green at that time and was really soothing to the eyes. When we reached the Bungus valley check-post we were told by the Army folks there that the entry for Bungus valley is closed and we cannot go to the valley itself and we were asked to turn back. We had no option but to do as instructed.


Towards Bungus valley



Bungus valley views

Bungus valley drive

Lovely Bungus valley drive

Landscapes of Bungus valley


Bungus valley drive

This was the bummer on this drive when we were not allowed after this point. Maybe next time..

Awesome lovely roads of Bungus valley

Bungus valley drive

Bungus valley drive



Alright, so I think this was the most of this days drive and the rest of the drive was very uneventful. We went to Kupwara, had lunch at Raj Palace and then proceeded to Wular lake which is where we stayed for today as it was already around 3pm and I knew that there's no way we can make it to Gurez today as I was for some reason damn tired. So we looked for a place on the way and got one resort near Watlab, called Wular lake resort. We asked the care taker there if we can stay and he was happy to host us. So without wasting any time we off-loaded the luggage here and stayed for this night.



View from the Wular Lake Resort


Stay tuned for the next post where I will write about the drive from Wular Lake - Gurez.

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Copyright Amit Pahuja

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