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In Pics | Gurez: Knocking on the doors of the Silk Route

Located at a distance of 131 kilometers from Srinagar, Gurez valley, famously known as Crown of Kashmir, is one of the gems nestled between lofty mountains that sit along the banks of river Kishanganga.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2017 09:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
A boy poses with his pony on Bandipora- Gurez road. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

The picturesque valley of Gurez tucked amidst lofty mountains was once the gateway to the famous Silk Route running across Asia. The thickly forested valley, with its bountiful scenic beauty attracts hundreds of local and foreign tourists all year round.

The Kishanganga river rushing down the creek along the Bandipora- Gurez road. ( Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo )

Located at a distance of 131 kilometers from Srinagar, it takes approximately 7 hours by road to reach Gurez valley, famously known as the Crown of Kashmir. Every year, this far-flung region of Jammu and Kashmir is cut off from the rest of the country for nearly seven months due to heavy snowfall.

A mini bus crosses the Razdan Pass (11672 ft) located on Bandipora-Gurez road. ( Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo )

Gurez, also spelt as Gurais, is a part of Dardistan - an ancient civilisation whose predominant tribe, the Dards inhabit the area and the adjoining regions of northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Once an important stopover on the Silk Route connecting Kashmir to Kashgar, Gurez made the Dards a highly powerful tribe.

A flock of sheep grazes on top of a hill. ( Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo )

Though the valley isn’t as popular as other tourist hubs such as Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg, the destination is still a paradise for campers and trekkers who camp in its vistas. Before partition between India and Pakistan, the valley was popular among foreign tourists.Ted and Kermit Roosevelt, sons of the 26th president of the United States of America, also visited Gurez in 1925.

A car passes through the lush green pastures along the Razdan Pass. ( Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo )

Gurez has also been a holidaying spot for leaders such as Sheikh Abdullah, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi who visited the place in the 1940s at Naranag, one of the lakes in the mountains above the valley.

The river Indus flows through Sonamarg, northeast of Srinagar. ( Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo )

The place was host to skirmishes between India and Pakistan after partition. The valley comes under the high-altitude Line of Control - one of the most high strung and guarded frontiers in the world - that divides Indian and Pakistani sectors of Kashmir. Due to the security reasons, Gurez was closed down for the outside world by the Indian army from 1947 until August, 2007, when it was deemed safe enough to open for visitors.

First Published: Jul 27, 2017 09:31 IST

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