Nicknamed the ‘Rice bowl of the Kashmir valley’ with beautifully rich and fertile landscapes district Anantnag lies in the southern part of Jehlum valley. It is famous for its natural springs, sweet water and the best apple orchards of the state with unparalleled beauty makes it a paradise.
The place has the large number of streams like Arpath, Lidder, Brenji and Sandran. Anantnag (land of infinite springs) has a mention in ancient texts of Nilamata Purana and it’s a sacred place for Kashmiris.
Places of interest around Anantnag.
Verinag another popular tourist hub of the state from south east of Srinagar nicknamed “the gateway of Kashmir’ and ‘Heart of Jhelum’ as the popular Verinag Spring is the major source for the river Jhelum where the valley lies, the spring was developed during the Moghul empire by Jahangir and his son Shah Jahan credited with giving it an octagonal shape to the spring which was earlier a shapeless pond, the garden has a traditional Charbagh design, which is a Mughal design, such designs can be witnessed at Taj Mahal and other Moghul gardens in Delhi, the spring never dries up or overflows, it is situated at the bottom of the hill surrounded by lush greenery of plants and pine trees. One needs to visit the place and read history in depth to understand the rich historical context of this place.
Pahalgam a popular tourist hub with endearing valleys surrounded by lofty peaks and Lidder River makes it one of the most sought-after places for tourist all over, its magnificent hills with tall pine trees, alpine meadows make it alluring. The raging Lidder River has two tributaries- Lidder east from Sheshnag Lake and Lidder west from Kolahai glacier. One should experience the rejuvenating walk along the riverside also famous for fishing where the anglers come from all over the world.
Pahalgam is also an adventurer’s paradise with magnificent lakes and meadows scattered all across where one could hire pony at the stand and go on numerous treks like Tarsar Marsar, Kolahai glacier, Sheshnag, Rohil Pattri, Basmai lakes, one could enjoy the gushing waters of Lidder by embarking on a raft during the summer months. It has one of the popular trails for the holy Amarnath Yatra that is considered holiest shrines in Hinduism, the ice Linga (Stalagmite) is formed by freezing water drops from the roof of the cave to the floor and grows vertical from cave floor, the lingam represents Lord Shiva. It draws more than 6 lakhs pilgrims. One crosses Chandanwari and Sheshnag en route to the holy cave.
Pahalgam has rich vegetation and magnificent forests of pine, conifers, deodar, etc. if lucky one could spot Hungul, musk deer, serow, bear, macaque, langur and the Himalayan hare. It is a paradise for birding with a griffon, monal, koalas, jungle crow, and blue rock pigeon in its backyard.
Achabal a small town known for its ancient spring surrounded by lush gardens made by the Moghul emperors was once a retreat for Empress Noor Jehan and a fine example of Kashmiri Mughal gardens, the likes of Akbar, Jahangir, Dara Shikoh and others have ruled this place and the historical background has the upper portion of the garden called ‘Bag-e-Begum abad’ made by Noor Jehan. A close drive from the gardens takes you to Nagdandi Ashram among the woods. Swami Vivekananda had visited Achabal in 1898.
Martand Sun temple
Martand Sun temple built during the Karkota dynasty by Lalitaditya Muktapida in 8th century CE dedicated to Surya (Sun), the temple was destroyed in early 15th century by Sikandar Butshikan, the ruins located at Ranbirpora Kehribal is an important tourist site and Archeological survey of India has declared the temple as a national importance site in the state. The song ‘Bismil’ was shot here at the temple premises for the movie Haider directed by Vishal Bhardwaj on a modern day adaptation of William Shakespeare’s famous work Hamlet. It has an impressive architecture and Aryan structure revealing its glorious past and a place not to be missed on the list.
Daksum and Sinthan Top
Daksum and Sinthan Top a beautiful picnic spot en route to Kishtwar, it lies on the trekking route where the trails leads to Sinthan top and magnificent grandeur of Kokernag springs, Daksum is a densely forested gorge with Bringhi river running below, it provides a good trail for trekkers to explore on foot, it has everything from tree covered slopes to alpine meadows with shepherds and their flock of animals. A retreat where one can find peace and solitude at this place.
Sinthan top located at Breng valley is known for its beautiful aura, the place is gaining popularity among tourists with tough roads and an adventurous journey leading up to it and it is an explored point in Pir Panjal range that gives you feel of walking in the clouds. Slowly gaining its foot on mountaineering, skiing, and trekking for the adventurous souls, one of the major advantages of visiting Sinthan top would be the famous places like Daksum, Kokernag, Achabal appear en route to the Sinthan top.
Kokernag called the ‘Golden crown of Kashmir’ Lies in the Breng Valley has largest freshwater springs in Kashmir, it has a famous botanical garden referred as ‘The pleasure garden’. The garden is modernized with Japanese bridges over the water streams, it is home to the largest trout fishery in Asia and one can immerse in the know-how of breeding of fish here. The temperature is right for the breeding of trout in this region; trout is the revered delicacy of locals and tastes heavenly. The derived name Kokernag has two versions to it, one theory being Koker(fowl) and Nag(serpent) and the spring gushing through two channels which resembles a foot of the hen, another theory originates from Koh(mountain) kan(from or under) nag(spring).