While travelling towards the west from the historic town of district Kulgam, the views of the soaring peaks and the surprising sight attracts each and every traveller. These mountain peaks are locally called as ‘Kounsar Kouthra’ (rooms of Kounsar) and remain snow-capped throughout the year that is why these are the main sources of four major hill springs namely, Sarkanch, Brahim, Sir-Chher-Sar and Dunth-Sar.
These springs rising from the feats of these mountains and the flow of these springs that is in high volumes feed the famous Nallah of South Kashmir called as vishu. The water of these springs rising from the feats of these mountains is very clean and blue in colour that is making it very attractive, the Nallah vishu about which almost all are aware as in the devastating floods of 2014, it caused very much destruction to some of the villages adjacent to the Nallah vishu among which includes arigutnoo. This Nallah caused a huge destruction to some of the villages because of its flow in huge volumes. The major hill spring that is situated about 4000ft above sea level on the mountain kounsar and is called as kounsarnag, and is considered as the major sources of the river vishu.
The way to kounsarnag from aharbal has been mostly preferred and loved trek route by all the visitor's and travellers. The trek route to kounsarnag involves many other attractive places that are kongwattan, mahinag and kounsarnag. Its tranquil, crystal clear water and the serene summits make for the perfect nature spot to reinvigorate the senses.
At the very 1st time when we went to trek to kounsarnag; the scenes, fresh air, crystal clear water and the loving mountains were all attractive to us. On the very 1st day we started travelling through the pine forests to reach the spot namely kongwattan. As the site was not having any motorable service because of unavailability of motor ways and is highly isolated, we had to pack our load etc on the horses that were available, and all night night we spent in kongwattan that was very amazing to see the vastness of the kongwattan and the lush green meadow is an ideal place for highland pasture grazing. keeping in view the arduous trek as the stamina and the speed is the key to accomplish this trek, the very 1st night was spent in kongwattan in order to make it easy to reach the destination and to enjoy the trek.
On the very next day we started the trek at the very early morning and it took us about 4 hours to reach mahinag, the place mahinag is covered by the mountains from all the sides. On the very next day we started our trek to kounsarnag and on the way we came across fascinating high altitude meadows and streams, and finally we reached our destination. It was a moment of joy and happiness. Our joy new no bounds, as we had to scramble over the rocks and it seemed as if there was no end to the rocky ascent during the trek as we braved across all odds and obstacles.
The kounsarnag was covered and surrounded by the mountain peaks from all the sides with its big circumference, blue water and ice blocks were seen floating in it besides water was looking so crystal clear we felt like healing deep inside and it was an awe-inspiring sight. We captured this whole stupendous beauty in pictures and videos. Kounsarnag’s dimension is approximately 3 km in length and half a mile width makes it majestic. Its mesmerizing beauty is distinct which makes it a dream destination for the intrepid trekkers and nature lovers. In Kashmir, as we are witnessing that the trekking has been now trending and is the latest fad among the youngsters, the youngsters are showing keen interest to visit there and many youngsters are being seen going to trekking to the spot. Anyone can fall in love with kounsarnag, its breathtaking visuals and scenes attract everyone. It is a mesmerizing place where everyone feels at peace in the lap of nature.
The kounsarnag spring is mentioned in the local traditions and has been a place of attractions for the royal families of kings and queens historically, the famous king of Kashmir Zain-ul-Abidin is said to have visited the spring various times and the historical records suggest that he has once sent his friend to the spring to explore its depth. A historic legend accounted by Hassan in his Tarik Reports an event. He says that he visited this spring along with a saint and some friends as one of them having little knowledge of swimming, jumped into the spring. But soon his feet were swallowed by some dangerous animal. While providing the description of this beast, Hassan says that “the animal resembled a shield as its length was two cubits and its width at the lower side was one cubit and towards the head eight givals, its skin was hard”.
The water that flows from the spring and flows to river vishu also forms a great water fall known as aharbal waterfall and mostly it is the only grand waterfall found in the valley located at aharbal. This place was of great interest to Mughals, Hassan says that ‘all the Mughal officials were proud of this water fall’. Zafar Khan Ashan has expressed the beauty of this water fall in his lyrics.
ze Janat Chand gooi Aay Sokhanwar
Nadaarad Aab- Sharee Ahrabal
Recently a winter carnival that was organized at Aharbal in district Kulgam is an appreciating step towards the boosting of tourism. In this event, snow games were included like snow rugby, snow volleyball, snow runs for peace, snow skiing, and tug of war. These games were carried out for the first time here at Aharbal. This step of exploring the beauty of Aharbal will attract more and more tourists towards this place and will help in promoting tourism in the valley. Similarly the fine beauty of Kounsarnag and other hill springs that are mesmerizing needs to be explored.
(The Author is adventure enthusiast and can be mailed on: firstname.lastname@example.org)