Bandipora district in North Kashmir, India, is enriched with natural heritage. Bandipora offers various destinations for the trekkers in the mountains surrounding the district by three sides with Wular Lake covering its vast expanses too.
A one-day trek to Datewas village in Mansa district, is lately gaining popularity among the amateur and occasional trekkers, who battered by back-to-back lockdowns are up to catch some fresh air apart.
Datewas which falls in this north Kashmir range is a very small but lush green valley located in the foothills of Harmukh mountain range of the Himalayas.
It is a source of various glacial freshwater streams cutting across Bandipora and Ganderbal districts, among them is river Arin. The place is accessible via the upper reaches of Serender as well as Chittay Banday.
“We haven’t seen this much rush of locals trekking to the place before. Lockdowns in the plains is forcing people up for fresh air,” Yaqoob Bani, a middle-aged tribal at Detewas said. “Many people are coming here mostly for the day.”
Yaqoob is moving up to the wider pastures with his cattle and so are another handful of tribals living in the valley in log houses.
The tribals carry a special pass from the Army for hassle-free pasturing across the mountains.
“In my 10 years of trekking, it’s a rare sight witnessing amateur trekkers or just anyone without proper knowledge scaling these mountains to reach here,” said Amir who leads a group of regular trekkers from nearby Argaam village.
With ease in the restrictions and no mandatory permission for the short treks in less volatile areas and quite a distance from LoC, the exploration is gaining popularity.
Datewaas has remained hidden for quite long but, as per the locals, the place has its history and until the early 2000s, much of the wood contracted by the government would be transported from here and even has a road for off-road expeditions now left unused.
However, the frontier Gurez valley, which shares the Line of Control with Pakistan administered Kashmir and further connects with Kargil or Drass region of Ladakh has mostly remained out of bounds for the trekkers.
However, lately the place has been witnessing an influx of tourists as the government officials began campaigning for attracting more people to the destination.
The visits by actors like Akshay Kumar and other officials in the administration have brought it under the spotlight.
Source: India Blooms