Nandichool:The Natural Marvel
By: Zulafqar Ahmed
Nature has bestowed Poonch with incredible beauty. Snow capped mountains, lash green valleys, dense forests, glittering lakes, pleasant climate and varieties of floura and fauna enrich the beauty of this area which has a huge potential for promotion of tourism only if the concerned departments come together and strategize a proper plan for its upliftment and development. There are many beautiful places in district Poonch including Jabbi Toti, Noorpur, Sawjian, Buffliaz, Dana Shahsataar and Loran and among these stunning places Loran is one of the most beautiful place and holds great potential for tourism. Loran is a small village 35 kms away from the Poonch town and is situated at the foot of high mountains of Pir Panjal range. Loran Nallah which flows through this beautiful village makes the place more enchanting to the eye.
Loran was once the capital of Poonch state under Hindu rulers’ upto 1542 A.D. It was then known as Loran-Kote and the ruins of the Lohar Kote fort, which was once called the Gateway of Kashmir, can be seen here. The popular Lohra dynasty originated from this village which according to scholars expanded from 1003 CE to 1320 CE. Though, there are numerous beautiful tourist spots in Loran but the beauty of Nandichool is unparalleled.
Nandichool, a beautiful and serene waterfall nestled amidst forests, is located in block Loran of district Poonch- fifty kilometers away from the district headquarters and twelve kilometers from Loran. The beautiful waterfall here comes from the glacier and has a fall of about 150 feet. The word Nandichool is a combination of two words comeing from two different languages. While in Sanskrit means Happy and the word Chool in Pahari means Waterfall, the place therefore means ‘happy waterfall and it definitely is. It is arguably the most beautiful tourist spot of the Pir Panjal region yet the most neglected and unexplored one. There is no road connectivity for the visitors to reach the spot. It takes almost one hour of walking to reach the spot.
It is like the scenic waterfalls that we see in movies- a large volume of water coming from the height and crushing down against the rocks that make it roar which is audible from a distance. In addition to this, silence all around the waterfall and the stillness of life here makes it gushing sounds more profound and intense.
It takes two and half hour from the district headquarters to reach the spot and while thousands of people travel, every year, across the UT to Poonch but only a handful of them visit Nandichool. It is the spot which is still unknown to majority of people and remains unexplored due to several reasons including lack of tourism infrastructure like road, huts, staying facilities besides non-availability of food items en route.
Therefore, tourism department should pay special attention towards this incredible spot and some basic arrangements should be ensured in the proximity of it in order4 to facilitate visitors and encourage tourism here. Furthermore, this effort of the department would not only attract a large number of tourists across the UT but it would also provide employment opportunities to the locals.
The writer is Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University. Email- [email protected]