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There can be no other beautiful place other than Noori Chamb in District Poonch!

But it’s a paralyzed state and if not checked out now this will find its place in oblivion!

‘All the measures have to be taken by the tourism development department in District Poonch if the same is existent (it’s a doubt whether one exists or not). Lots of historical adventures of emperor Jehangir and his queen we have read in history and the same versions are told by the locals here too but the history is being erased and the same can be seen if one just walks up to the waterfall amongst the mountains. Obviously Jehangir never knew what would happen to this waterfall centuries later. It has begun to happen since the walls are crumbling and the fall is receding and the reason is the extraordinary disturbance in the name of development in Pir Panjals. This is one of the reasons that tourism in Jammu has never developed and the district has many places but the requirement is of promotion and none is happening. Will it ever? This is a question that needs several answers but none is available?

By: Sayed Kamran Ali

Bafliaz/Surankote:

‘ Noori Chamb waterfall speaks noisily and screams, my water is the most perfect traveler because when it travels it becomes the path itself! Emerald slopes of Pir Panjals became so tall that they touched the clouds, and showers painted diamonds that flowed down cliff sides. I cannot be silent, just as the wisdom! When I speak during the fall, the power of my rhythmic noise speaks! And the bad habit with me is that I wink at every passerby.’

It is good people who make good places. Jehangir the Mughal emperor was because he was an eternal romantic who was always in search of fabulous places as perhaps his grandson Dara Shikoh was. In his travels in search of beauty he travelled a lot and one place on the planet he traveled the most was Jammu and Kashmir and perhaps some very special couplets found their way on to the marble plaques where it was written, Agar firdaus bar ru-ye zamin ast, hamin ast-o hamin ast-o hamin ast (if there is heaven on earth It is this, it is this, it is this)! But the same verse is found elsewhere too for example in Rana Safvi’s book on the city of Old Delhi which was once upon a time Shahjahanabad. Ghulam Ali Khan’s painting of the Diwan E Khas in Delhi’s Red Fort, where the lines are inscribed the era is of 1854. Above the inner corner arches of the Diwan-e Khas on the north and south is inscribed the oft-quoted golden couplet again. A reference in Taj Mahal: The Illumined Tomb by Begley and Desai says that when Shah Jahan made his first state entry into the newly completed fort, and as a sign of royal approval, the couplet was ordered to be inscribed on the interior of the Hall of Private Audience. It was after all conceived as a heaven on earth with its paradisiacal char-bagh garden scheme and the Nahr-e Bahisht flowing through the palace and fort buildings. The verse is found there too and finally, the Black Pavilion in Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar, Kashmir as there is a common perception that the original verse was inscribed in the structure built during the early part of Emperor Jahangir’s reign (1569-1627) on the top terrace of Shalimar Bagh. Emperor Jahangir was a connoisseur of beauty so it was entirely possible that he should have it inscribed. But whatever history says the fact is Jammu and Kashmir is a paradise on Earth. Therefore any place can become a paradise provided it’s maintained in a proper way!

The gardens in Kashmir are historical but so are the other places and one of the places that stands out is Noori Chamb. Sadly speaking there is no verse for it though people do rattle out history as if the whole thing just a couple of days back. Forget composing verses because no one has time for that but at least the place can be developed into a tourist spot! Once upon a time it would have been great but now just a haunted place where a waterfall is there yet the development is next to nothing. The tourism department in the district should have thought about it a long time back but that did not happen. Why? They know it the best!

People haven’t been very impressed lately. A place is only as good as the people in it. For locals it’s just another place to be in as once upon a time perhaps the impressive gardens in Kashmir were? But they were developed and thus they became popular in fact extremely but there were several other places that could have been equally popular had the tourism department top guns both of past and present would have taken adequate interest in this place. They never did and if the things keep moving the way they were/are there will no more be Noorie Chamb but akin to just another place found in Pir Panjal mountains. The speciality would be lost. I visited many places, Some of them quite exotic and far away. But this time around it was nothing more than just another wild place amidst mountains and I have reasons to say so:

* Over the course of my life I’ve been to lots of places. Shadowed places where things have gone wrong. Sinister places where things still are. But this one is unique, right at the bottom of the Pir Panjals. It was/is a major prop which gives the area a special look but at the moment can be just remembered by the name where the Mughal queen loved to enjoy the cool and soothing ripples of water.

* She has left a legacy behind and thus it is the chance for others too to feel the times that have slipped into the pages of history. Almost vanished in other words seeing the present state of affairs.

* Old human beings (politicians and administrators) for sure were not in a good mood as they decided not to give even a thought to this place.

* Mughal road was stressed upon and it was constructed too. It was described as an engineering marvel, no doubt it was but the framework had been laid centuries back because a track did exist on which moved the elephants, horses and the soldiers in the form of an entourage. Subsequently armies too moved. The ancient battle of Shopian is not far off if history is gone through.

* Noorie Chamb was definitely a halting stop for a couple of nights but now spending even half an hour can be quite a pain although the mystifying splendor still tends you to get hooked on.

* The approach track needs to be done up and so does the place near the waterfall. At least it can be beautified by modernized seating arrangements. Although everything is natural they still require somewhere to park themselves. Stones and boulders sitting can be an awful experience.

* The fall has been designed by nature. The beauty thus was/is impeccable. Human beings are working in Pirpanjals and obviously sumptuously destroying nature, changing the course of the water flow as the streams, rivulets and brooks roll down the slopes and thus are impacting many places and one of them happens to be this milk waterfall (as it is colloquially called).

* If the same has to be saved a human being’s architectural creativity has to come into focus and forefront. At the moment it is not the case. By the way, the side shoulders of the fall are giving in.

* Just a month back we were writing on a shed that had been constructed for the tourists. The effort was a great one but had zero output. A place has to be marketed so that the people visit. This was not therefore it became a shelter for animals who move along with their owners to respective places in summers and who will take care of a place when the department will not.

* Mother Nature gave many natural gifts to the District Poonch. But none was taken seriously. Such has become the ambiguity in functioning that nature too is up for sale.

We marvel at the ancient architectural wonders that attract tourists the world over. But the essence lies in the history of the foundation. History’s frozen music is like a mute sentinel who helps cultures survive. Victories and failures, traditions and heritage, make history ever changing. Yet history remains the same. What has come down the history is what we live with and tomorrow these times too would be history. It is better we leave something for posterity to live on. We are ensuring that we leave nothing. The reasons are two : the men in high offices are not sure about themselves and the second thing is that the same men are using their positions for a wrong advantage and thus the lackadaisical approach to maintain what has been gifted to the mankind of today. Noorie Chamb definitely is one of them for District Poonch!

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