Call it Jannat or Heaven, its all here at Gurez, 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'm covering our journey from Dawar to Check-wali and back to Dawar town or Gurez valley.
Beautiful Gurez valley
This morning when we woke up, we got ready for our trip to Check-wali and started a bit early around 7AM as we wanted to finish that in one day. Our caretaker suggested that we do not delay and to come back we will need at-least 3-4 hrs as the road is not in a very good condition. So we didn't want to take risk and decided to start as early as possible.
So we went to Kaka palace to grab some breakfast before the drive to fill our tummies. As it was Ramadan time we knew that we won't get anything on the way so I went to buy some bread and biscuits, wafers and some nick knacks for the trip for our lunch. The Dawar market is close-by if you need any groceries or knick-knacks.. anyway so I bought the bread from a bakery and then we proceeded to our further trip after finishing the breakfast at Kaka Palace.
Kaka Palace Hotel
Maggie and eggs were the only breakfast things available so we quickly had that and continued our journey to the most awaited place of our trip and the drive.
Maggie, the breakfast meal.
Bakery from where I could manage to get some bread and cookies for the day trip today. The guy had a bread which was baked few days back as is the norm there.. bit was not bad and was edible. I asked him to cut the bread into slices so that we can have it easily and he happily did it :)
For the permits to Check-wali, you need to go to the local police station and make a request. When I went there, the local police officer there was very helpful and asked me to submit the documents and IDs so that he can prepare the permits. I provided all of that and within one hour the permits were ready that I collected in advance so that we don’t have to waste any time today.
The permit is mandatory for the drive from Dawar to Check-wali and is checked every few kilometres (yes every few kilometres). The Army folks here are very sweet and do not harass like the police folks generally in metros :) They just are very strict in terms of checking and what's your purpose of visit. For Tourists (who're very very rare here) they're very cooperative. SO at every check-post they do a thorough checking of your vehicle and then give you clearance to go further. They also check with the check-posts you've crossed on your movement and then also inform the folks posted further for the safety and tracking I guess.
One of the shops selling local clothes at the main market, Gurez
The drive to check-wali starts with a very nice scenery through the narrow mountainous region and the river flowing alongside the road. The road starts with a decent tarred road but quickly becomes a broken mud and gravel road with many water crossings and slushy patches. This is one road where we really appreciated the capabilities of our vehicle as the terrain really demanded 4x4 capabilities and without that it would have been extremely risky to drive on these roads.
Look at that scenery our there. .we were stunned by the beauty and the rawness of the place. The weather was cold but sunny as well.
One of the waterfalls on way ..
Beautiful scenery all the way
Beautiful scenery all the way. Look at those trees on the right.. breathtakingly beautiful
One of the many bridges we needed to cross on the journey
Picture perfect wallpaper material.. Isn't it?
Picture perfect wallpaper material.. Isn't it? ...If you need a high resolution image of this for a wallpaper, feel free to write to me.
Lovely river that travels with you all the way till check-wali
See the drive..
See the quality of the roads.. certainly better here compared to namma Bengaluru
Look at those mountains ..
This is where the roads started getting worse
Picture perfect wallpaper material.. Isn't it?
The entire drive was extremely scenic and we had to stop almost every 200 meters for a pic 😀 but we were very careful as to not invade the privacy of the Armed forces and didn’t capture any of such establishments.
Lovely .. breathtaking views ..
Look at that gushing water down the river
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Apologies for the poor quality of some of the pictures as they were taken through the windscreen on a running vehicle..
The rocky mountains and the roads full of loose gravel
Video of the Drive @ Gurez valley
Video of the amazing drive
Look at that bridge connecting the village to the main road.. awesome views of the village
One of the schools in the valley.. good to see the schools functioning even at the remotest places like this.
The natural pool :)
School building at Gurez
Amazing views . .isn't it?
Houses at the village
Look at that amazing view..
From here the roads were just mud trails and all loose gravel.. it was very very dusty that we were forced to close our windows for most of the drive wherever it was like this.
Some villages on the way
Local farmers working on their fields.. passed smiles at us when we looked at them for a pic. Thank you for the shot :)
Believe this is what the villagers survive on here as there's no other source of income other than working at the Dam or in Armed forces.
Switzerland of India.. I can bet that if India develops this place and removes the risk of traveling for general public, this can be better than Switzerland for sure.. BUT :)
There are multiple check-posts on the way and you have to stop at all of them, make an entry and then proceed. Many of the places, you’ll have to explain and answer many questions and we cooperated with the Army folks as it’s for our own security. The Army folks keep a full track of you and the vehicle when you’re on these roads. Every check-post ahead and behind you would know of your whereabouts, who you are and what you’re doing throughout the drive. We heard in many of the places that there’s a lot of militant movement here, so we need to be careful and stay on the main road and avoid any adventures.