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Naranag: Pearl of natural serene in Kashmir
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Naranag: Pearl of natural serene in Kashmir

Naranag is also one of the hidden gems of Kashmir. The place is heaven for trekkers, in fact, it is the base for trekking and voyage tours

Post by MOHAMMAD HANIEF on Friday, December 2, 2022

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Naranag or Nara Nag is a tourist hamlet and bases for trekking and adventure tours in Ganderbal district of Kashmir valley. It lies in the foothills of Pir Panjal range, which extends south east to connect with other popular trekking points. One of the most breathtaking moments are felt higher up where the magnificent Gangabal Lake is present. At the base are the remains of ancient temples built with large granite blocks. The monument looks fascinating with huge rock blocks resting over one another. In the nearby area is a small village. The temple complex is believed to be ancient monuments dedicated to the deity Shiva.

Naranag is located almost 50 kilometers from Srinagar in Ganderbal district on the road to Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir. It’s a place blessed with such beauty that it belongs in your dreams. Tucked cozily in the mountains and encircled by dense forests, it is the kind of place that photographers are always on the lookout for. One of the famous tourist attractions of Naranag is the Naranag Temple built in the 8th century, much of which lies in ruins today but is great for sightseeing. The village here serves as a base camp to Mount Harmukh, Gangabal & Satsar. River Wangath, a tributary of River Sindh, flows through the village, and right beside it is a glacier. Coming across this place will relieve you from all your inner worries and stress.

The beauty of this area is throbbing to all the adventure and nature lovers of the world. This village is also an eco tourism site, where one can find a large number of tourists visiting every year in the month of autumn. There is a stream that flows besides the monuments, fed by glaciers and the Gangabal Lake situated high up in the mountains. The mountains are uninhabited, except the local tribes called Gujjars who take their cattle to graze on the terraces.

The beauty of Naranag lies in the fact that it is desolate, except for the luxuries of nature. As you ascend, there is tranquility and even the murmur of stream vanishes at many places. According to some reports a unique specie like raccoons have been sighted.

Naranag is also one of the hidden gems of Kashmir. The place is heaven for trekkers, in fact, it is the base for trekking and voyage tours. It is a pilgrimage and a heritage destination for the tourists around the world and can be explored this place with family and friends.

The mountains are desolate, apart from the local people who take their farm animals to nibble on the porches. The exquisiteness of Naranag lies in the truth that it is uninhabited, excluding the luxury of natural history. As you climb, there is serenity and even the hum of river evaporates at several places and even can spot certain species here like racoons.

At the Naranag valley, the leftovers of the antique shrine built with bulky granite rocks can be discovered easily. The memorial looks enthralling with enormous granite stone blocks latent over one another. In the close locale, there is an undersized village with the limited populace. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The trek from Sonamarg to Gangabal, culminating at Naranag is very popular. There are innumerable places which are not lesser in beauty than fantasy lands. Clear water lakes on top of the mountains reflecting perfectly all the shades of blue sky over it is simple magical. If you happen to travel to Naranag, then it would be a mistake not to miss such sites that are located atop of the mountains.

Trekking from Naranag to Gangabal usually takes 5 days and it will be an awesome experience. One will have to trek around 5km to 9km a day. The exact Naranag to Gangabal trek distance is around 11 km, which can take up to 8 .5 hours.

The road to Naranag, which passes through Ganderbal district, is quite fuzzy. It becomes almost difficult to travel during rainy season. Food can also be a problem as there are no stores or shops except in the village that sell groceries and daily essentials to the locals. Also the people who are willing to explore the beauty of Naranag must do so with a local guide as the passes and places are not known to many.

Naranag temple in Naranag is the main attraction for the tourists who are from Hindu community. It is one of the important archaeological sites of the country. The site consists of a cluster of temples facing each other at a distance of about 200 meters. The historians say that Naranag Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva or Mahadeva by the 8th century ruler Lalithdatiya Muktadiya. It is believed that the king Awantivarman paid a visit and donated a pedestal for bathing at Bhutsher. The architecture of Naranag Temple reveals the art of the 8th century.  Naranag-Gangabal trek is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful treks as it is nestled at the foothill of Mount Haramukh and overwhelmingly one of the most beautiful lakes in the region.

Kashmir valley is not only famed for its luxuriant green grazing lands, snow-covered peaks but also for spiritual and chronological places. Nara-nag is one of the temples, which reminds wonder and is a devotee’s enchantment. The parish of Wangath lies beside the intense forests on the edge of Bhuteshwara peak range beside the porch of the Kanka River, an arm of Sindh River. 8 kilometres to the east of Vasishthashrama or Wangath, privileged up in the Sindh valley, lies the blessed Nara-nag.

With the distance of 100 yards, there are two groups of temples. The quick gust, bright moonlight and with the rhythm of water of Kanka River is a remembrance view for the Naranag collection of temples. At the auxiliary distance, there is a devoted shrine of Bhairva. The western cluster is familiar with the holy place, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lalit Aditya Muktapida king of Kashmir in eighth century raised Lord Shiva temples at this place. The King Avanti Varman came to visit this divine place and offered a platform with silver accomplish for plummeting at Bhutsher.

(The author is a regular columnist and can be mailed at m.hanief@gmail.com)

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