North - East of Kashmir Valley
Ultimate adventure destination to the north of Kashrnir, Gurez, is a gateway to the famous silk route across central Asia. The pyramid shaped peak named after famous Kashmiri poetess Habba Khatoon is most fascinating peak of Kashmir. The emperor Yousuf Shah Chak who is said to be a Dard from Gilgit entered into Kashmir through Gurez. It is believed that when emperor was imprisoned by the King Akbar, his beloved Habba Khafton used to wander near the peak to look for her lover.
The roar of mighty Kishan-Ganga river flowing across the valley, resonotes with surrounding mountains that lulls a visitors to sound sleep.The traditional log wood houses make Gurez no less than a European country side.
People of Gurez valley are Dards, they speak Sheena language and have their ancestral connection with Gilgit valley now in Pakistan. The feature and attire of the Dards are similar to Kashmiri people of mountain region. Though Gurez is a far flung area but the people of the Dard race have uplifted themselves by the hard work and proper education. Dard women are fair with athletic built, who spend the summer in collecting wood from mountains for the harsh winter; when it is impossible to move in 20 feet out side.
The trekking Routes from Gurez and Tilel lead upto Gangabal and Sonamorg to its east and Drass , Dahanu and Zanskar to its north.
The Kishen Ganga river in Gurez offers easy level of stream for Rofting and tough ones from Tilel. Some of the mountains have absolutely challenging scope for Rock Climbing.Trout fishing is a frequent sport among locals who through in a line to get descent meal for the day. Anglers con be delighted to catch a brown trout in the Kishen Ganga River or the streams coming down from the mountains. Gurez has lovely compsites where the tents can be pitched near the river.
20 km from Gurez ,the awesome villages of Tilel have log wood houses which perfectly add to the magnificent view of mountains full of pine and fir trees. The road from Gurez to Tilel is just 7 years old, which has been extended upto Drass in Kargil region. The rugged and tough life of people of Tilel can make a visitor to contribute for promotion of the destination in one way or the other.
The legend of Habba Khatoon
A beautiful & intelligent damsel Saffaron villoge "Pampore" who learnt holy Quran by heart at an early age recited the Quranic verses in sweet voice. Zoon"a moon" was daughter of a peasant who got her married to an illiterate peasant boy. Zoon was ill-treated by her mother-in-law and husband as she spent time in poetry and singing. Dejected by her plight she approached a "Peer" who changed her name as Habba Khatoon and presumed her as the queen of Kashmir.
The emperor of Kashmir Yousuf Shaohi Chak (18th century) was enamored by her beauty, intelligence and poetry. He got Habba Khatoon divorced and married her.
The musicians & singers of the royal court groomed her to a complete poetess. Habba Khatoon contributed musical compositions, Sufiana kalams ond Kashmiri songs.
"Meha karl schoi kith, poshe daswanoi, Chhou mean danai posh"
'I have done up myself with flowers for you, relish the beauty of the flowers oh my love"
Arrested by the army of emperor Akbar, Yousf Shah Chak breathed his last at Patna in Bihar and was buried there. This devastated Habba Khotoon, she wandered on the banks of river Jhelum, fields and valleys. Her songs uttered the words for lost love and said
"Ghoh choun wuchan gotti, aki latti yeham naa"
I look for you oh my love in storms. I wish you to come once.
Twenty years later the great poetess of Kashmir, Habba Khatoon, died in grief & sorrow and was buried in Athawajan. Her poetry still remains alive in the hearts of Kashmiri people. In-fact the first Kashmiri feature film Habba Khatoon was made 25 years ago. The famous film maker Muzzafar Ali also made repeat of the film "Zoon" few years back. Habba Khatoon continues to be a legend of Kashmir.
Where to Stay in Gurez?
At Gurez one has to get sufficient tented accommodation as there is no other option available. The houses at Dawar & Tulel could be used as guest houses with prior arrangements with the residents. Travel Agents assistance for all inclusive tours is highly recommended.
Where to eat in Gurez?
Few local restaurant run by local people at dawar provide meals during the day.It is advisable to carry sufficient packed food to visit the spot. Eating out at the campsite with the group is recommended.
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