The Heaven and Hell that is Pulwama

Pulwama is a very important district of the Jammu and Kashmir region. It is 40 km from the capital Srinagar and is known for its natural and scenic beauty along with the abundance of milk, saffron and fruits that are produced and sold from this region. It is also called the Milk Capital of the region. However, today Pulwama stands as the symbol of a grave terror attack carried out from Pakistan by the Jaish-e-Mohammed. 40 Indian army soldiers were killed in this suicide attack. It has become the focal point of our countries’ hate, which is directed towards its perpetrators Pakistan. The hell that burns in Pulwama sends shivers down our spine. However, that was not the case. Pulwama has always been a hotspot for foreign tourists and has some amazing places, lakes, scenic spots and temples for travellers to see. I wanted to explore that side of Pulwama. We have seen the grim side enough lately in the media. What of Pulwama’s tourist destinations? What is the background of this place, which has become a flashpoint in the valley today, I wonder?

In 1979, the Pulwama or Pulgam district had 550 villages each divided into 5 tehsils. Today, there are about 330 villages in the district. As of the last census of 2011, it has over 20,000 people living in these villages. Pulwama was ruled by the Mughal emperors in the 16th and 17th century till the 19th century when the Afghans took over. Its lush green landscape, gushing waterfalls and abundance of milk and saffron makes it naturally a heavenly place to be in. A place hidden amongst the hills of Kashmir, a quite joyous land now stares at being the flashpoint for an Indo-Pak war.

What will be its impact on Pulwama’s industries, Zum Zum Milk and J&K Cement, the largest cement plant in the region? Not only that, the produce and trade of saffron and dry fruits will be affected making the region even more impoverished and antagonised. The place known for its beauty will be hit hard on the tourism front. It has some amazing places for travellers to see and explore. All of this will be lost.

Aharbal Falls

The region is full of pine and fir trees and the falls look like milk with gurgling water. Aharbal hills are situated 75 km from Srinagar and are known for adventure sports like fishing, kayaking etc.

Shikargah

A very charming picnic spot with rich flora and fauna full of mountain wildlife. It used to be the favourite of Maharaja Hari Singh who used to hunt here quite often. It is located in the Tral region and is a place you must explore.

Payer Temple

It is located 3 km from Pulwama and is an old temple dating back to the 10th century. It is carved out of a single piece of monolith rock and stone. It is an amazing site to see.

Awantishwar Temple

It is a Vishnu and Shiva temple built by the then ruler Avanti Varma in the 9th century AD. It reminds us of our past.

Tarsar Marsar Lake

These almond-shaped lakes can be found in-between the mountains of the Anantnag region of Kashmir and it is one of the most popular trekking routes in the region. In the winter, both the lakes feel as snowfalls in the Aru region. Many kings and poets have spoken on the beauty of the twin sister lakes and this region in their writings.

Now I hope I have given you another perspective of the Pulwama district, its heavenly side, its pristine side, the one that must be explored by a die-hard traveller. However, as of now, my heart goes out to the brave jawans who lost their lives in the dreaded suicide bomb attack. We are witnessing the hell of the place right in front of us.

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