Riyaz Ul Khaliq
KL News Network
May is almost over, so is snow in plains of Kashmir valley. Although the winter spell this year was a prolonged one, but ‘clouds over Kashmir’ haven’t yet withered away. It was more of a rainy season than white draped winter.
But, as they say, Valley is all time tourist spot. Not more than three hours drive from south of summer capital Srinagar, Sinthan Top — a popular Hill Station connecting Kashmir to Chenab valley — is under ten to twelve feet of snow. But there is one hitch though, the road is still bumpy.
The visitors who scale treacherous track to reach Sinthan Top suggest the road from Daksum through south Kashmir’s Kokernag is, almost, ready. Sinthan falls almost 50km away from Kokernag.
Located in Kokernag’s Breng Valley in Islamabad district, Sinthan is the shortest route connecting Kashmir with Kishtwar in Jammu region.
But due to heavy snowfall, the hill track remains closed for almost six months a year.
“Snow is here,” exclaimed Khurshid, a city resident, who went to see what he calls “nature from close”.
“The Hill Station is almost draped under ten-twelve feet of snow – milk white snow.”
Situated at 12,500 feet above sea level, Sinthan Top is host to everything and everyone, itself! Why? Because the tourist rich spot has no local population.
Nature lovers – tourists, shepherds from adjacent Kishtwar, Kokernag, Daksum—or for that matter, employees of tourism department tread the “close to nature zone”!
“I think Valleyites will change their mind of spot selections when they visit Sinthan,” Khurshid remarked. He hastened to add the road from Daksum (another tourist spot) to Sinthan Top is almost done but needs minor repairing, which is going on.
“From Kishtwar side, the road is ready up to Chinigam, 7km away from the Hill Station,” he said, adding Border Roads Organization is working on the patch but it may not take less than five days, nevertheless.
Apart from emerging as skiing, mountaineering and trekking site, Sinthan has evolved into a major bone of contention among different Gujjar tribes in the area.
Last year, two groups from Kishtwar — whose flocks of sheep were busy grazing the crisp green carpet like grass, the elders fought leading amputating of an arm and losing of eyesight of a young girl. The victim group after reaching Kokernag, fighting all odds, breathed ease at SKIMS in Srinagar for a few days before coming to Press Colony to protest what they said “murderous attack”.
But that isolated strife incident apart, the picturesque spot will dazzle you with its virgin valleys, like Lihinwan, Margan and Inshan Valleys, yet to be explored.
“As the pace of exploring of tourist spots is building up in state, I hope these areas remain away from the eyes of policy makers,” a student who visited Sinthan Top last summer said.
He argued no one has been well-wisher of these resorts, “we have made muck of them. Let Lihinwan, Margan and Inshan Valleys remain out of human onslaught.”
However, amid the causes and the effect, the residents from Chenab Valley have been long arguing that if Sinthan Road is made all-weather route, it shall help develop region at a more pace.
“We are more close to Kashmir than Jammu via Sinthan, which is a truly a fair weather route,” a resident of Kishtwar said adding although CM Mufti Sayeed is for making Mughal Raod an all-weather road, Sinthan can’t be ‘cast way’.