Iqbal Ahmad

Dranga the ancient watch station

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 Drang is a small village situated at a distance of a mile and a half from North Kashmir’s town of Tangmarg- the gateway to the famous Gulmarg. Drang is the spot wherefrom the Ferozpora Nallah  flows into numerous villages. The latter part of the name preserves the memory of its ancient appellation Karkota-dranga. The term “dranga” was used in pre-Muslim times to indicate a frontier watch-station, established for the purpose of collecting custom duties and of generally safeguarding the frontier. Karkota-dranga (modern Drang Ferozpora) controlled the Tosamaidan route to Poonch.

The village has the ruins of a small temple which was probably originally surrounded by a peristyle, no part of which, except the double-chambered gateway, is now extant above ground. The chief cause of the ruin of this temple seems to have been because of the unchecked growth of vegetation. Several walnut trees had   taken root in the masonry and were continuing the process of destruction.

The temple faces north-east.

The roof has fallen in, and has filled the whole cella with large boulders which have completely hidden the floor, and consequently made it impossible to ascertain to which particular god the shrine was dedicated. Internally it is 11’square.

The monument had ever since grown heavy vegetation and bushes which were soon cleared after taking over the site by the archaeology department.

The monument is protected and declared as ‘State Protected Monument’ as per the ‘Ancient Monument Preservation Act Samvat 1977’ in the year 1983 and since then the site is maintained by the SDA, state department of archaeology.

Of its picturesque location, the Drang has emerged a small picnic spot, but so far as its archaeological remains are concerned, much needs to be done to bring its ruins under heritage preservation net.

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