If anyone has travelled by road to Jammu & Kashmir, Lakhanpur is the place where everyone halts to get a feel which is unique in every sense. From here begins the region which is similar yet different from the rest of the country. The topography, weather, culture, language and customs all have some semblance with others but are peculiar in their own ways. And Lakhanpur exudes this experience.
Lakhanpur is a small town situated along the national highway. connecting Kashmir to the rest of the country. Travelers who frequent this place will never forget to relish ‘Lakhanpur Ke Bhalle’, small round fried balls made of grinding pulses and served with sweet and sour ingredients along with sliced carrot. The taste of this delicacy is so distinct that Lakhanpur became synonymous with its ‘Bhalle’, available throughout the year.
A number of small shops are dotted along the highway in Lakhanpur selling this delicacy. It doesn't matter from which shop one is buying this dish because all the shops serve the same taste and the commendation is reserved exclusively for Lakhanpur.
There is more to Lakhanpur besides ’Bhalle’, it was originally a part of the greater Jasrota State. It was bounded on the north by the Karaidhar range separating it from Basholi, on the east by the Ravi river, on the south by the plains of the Punjab and on the west by the Ujh river, a tributary of the Ravi. It branched off in the beginning of the 14th century as a result of the royal family dispute.
At the close of 13th century Jasrota was being ruled by Raja Kailash Dev, who died about 1325 AD. He had two sons, Pratap Dev and Sangram Dev both sought to succeed their father but it was impossible to prove which brother was the older. Eventually, the rulers of neighboring hill states negotiated a settlement, the territory between the Ujh river and the Ravi was surrendered to Sangram Dev, who established an independent principality with his capital at Lakhanpur in 1350 AD. The alternative name was Thein, came from the name of a strong fort on a lofty cliff overhanging the right bank of river Ravi, some 10 Kms north of Lakhanpur, now the site of Thein Hydel Project also known as Ranjit Sagar Dam.
Another similar kind of fort facing the right bank of river Ravi is still there in Lakhanpur, locals call it ‘Kile Wali Mata Ka Mandir’, temple of fort`s goddess. The fort is in the shape of four round pillars consolidated through a curtain wall. The fort is accessible through a small passage along the highway and the entire front is almost encroached signifying the weakness of once a powerful and majestic structure which lost it`s glimmer like their rulers.
No preservation and conservation efforts were ever taken to restore the glory of this monument. The priest of the temple inside the fort manages the day-to-day affairs with the help of locals and does whatever little he can within his limited resources for the maintenance of the fort.
Beautifully conserved historical resources can be economic game changers provided they should be revamped on modern lines and stay for long to tell our rich culture and heritage to those who come after us.
Besides being the de facto gateway to Jammu & Kashmir, Lakhanpur has represented the rich history and heritage of Jammu.
But, with the opening of new connectivity routes by constructing Keerian-Gandial Bridge in Kathua and Atal Setu at Basholi, the overall connectivity of J&K has been increased manifold
Offbeat Places To Visit In Kashmir
Considered by many as the face of “Real Kashmir”, Watlab lies on the Sopore-Bandipore road, which is around 55kms from the summer capital Srinagar. Watlab has majestic natural splendors that will draw you in. Watlab is also famous for a Muslim shrine that was built here, in the memory of Baba Shukurddin. The shrine is located near the stunning Wular Lake which has picturesque villages surrounding, apple orchards, and surreal landscapes surrounding it.
Some places make you question if you are in real life or a fantasy world, and we believe Alpather Lake is that one place. One of the best-kept secrets and one of the best offbeat places to visit in Kashmir, Alpather Lake is also known as “Frozen Lake” as the lake stays frozen from November until mid-June.This high altitude lake is situated at the foot of the Apharwat peaks and to reach this lake you need to start trekking from Gulmarg. The lake is set amidst surreal surroundings, green meadows, blooming wildflowers during spring and summertime, and the ethereal blue water of the lake will surely take your heart away.
Warwan Valley is located in the Kishtwar District of Jammu and Kashmir and is probably one of the best offbeat places to visit in Kashmir. The valley is located at a height of 2,134mts and is bordered by Kashmir Valley in the North and Ladakh in the East.
Warwan Valley is one of the remotest valleys of Kashmir but it is famous for Warwan Valley Trek which is one of the most unique treks to do in India. The route of the trek takes you through some of the most stunning and surreal landscapes that Kashmir has to offer, right from barren lands and naked mountains to icy glaciers and wildflower meadows.
Chatpal is often known as “Mini-Pahalgam” and rightly so as it has all the fine details and accompanying the natural beauty of Pahalgam and is one of the most offbeat and best places to visit in Kashmir. It is surrounded by mountains on all sides and the trail from the nearby woods connects it to the Kashmir Valley. The town is free of crowds and you will get to experience and indulge in nature without any interruptions whatsoever. There are some famous places nearby which you can visit from Chatpal which are Aharbal waterfall, Sonmarg, Lolab valley, Gulmarg, Martand temple, and Kishtwar National Park.
When we say that this lake looks something straight out of a magical tale, we mean it. Located at Pahalgam, in the Anantnag District of Jammu and Kashmir is Tulian Lake which lies at an altitude of 3,684mts and is one of the best offbeat places in Kashmir.The lake is located between two Himalayan mountain ranges of Pir Panjal and Zanskar which makes it really unique. There is a trek to Tulian Lake which is somewhat grueling, but it will lead you to this magical lake which will take all your tiredness away.
This trek can be done by beginners and the trek route goes through Kashmir Valley and Baisaran. There are snow-capped peaks surrounding the lake which adds to the charm of the place, the colour of the water is turquoise blue makes the views really surreal. Just Wravel