Some say Kashmir is paradise on earth, others counter that it is overhyped. I think that both of these views stand true at places. While tourist destinations in Kashmir are definitely overhyped, the other parts of the state that are normally not accessible to tourists are home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.
Mughal Road is the road between Bafliaz to Shopian district in the Kashmir valley. Bafliaz is a town in the Poonch district of Jummu & Kashmir state of India. Mughal road is approximately 85 kilometers which passes through beautiful Pir Panjal Mountain range.
Mughal road brings Poonch and Rajouri districts closer to Srinagar in Kashmir valley. The distance between Srinagar and Poonch has been reduced from 588km to 126km through Mughal Road. This route used to be old Mughal road which is constructed again through beautiful terrains of Kashmir. Mughal road was historically used by Moghul emperors to travel and conquer Kashmir in 16th century. Mughal road was used by Akbar to conquer Kashmir in 1586 and his son Emperor Jahangir died while returning from Kashmir on this road near Rajouri.
I love exploring hills and road journeys make these explorations special. Road Journey from Delhi to Srinagar through Mughal Road has been one of the best Road Journeys so far. After 3 years, today I came across some these photographs from the ride and thought of sharing this post with Travel & Photography enthusiasts.
Mughal Road also makes for alternate road route to Kashmir valley from rest of India, other than main Jammu Highway through Jawahar Tunnel (Banihal Tunnel).
The famous Mughal road passes through Buffliaz, Behramgalla, Chandimarh, Poshana, Chattapani, Peer Ki Gali, Aliabad, Zaznar, Dubjan, Heerpora and Shopian. Hirapor Wildlife Sactuary also comes on the way. In fact Mughal road crosses through Mughal road in Kashmir.
Mughal road crosses through beautiful landscapes full of high deodars, huge mountains, snow covered peaks, green meadows, water streams of different sizes, army points and lot more. On our way, we took few breaks for tea, snacks & lunch. There are very few options for lunch but you can enjoy tea at different places on Mughal Road.
Few kilometers away from Peer ki gali there situated another Mughal fort named as Aliabad sarai. This fort was constructed by Mughal king Shah Jahan. It's beautiful example of art created by artists of Mughal empire. As per the written records Ali Mardan Khan was a Mughal constructer and he had constructed all the forts and routes along Mughal road. There are some interesting stories around a secret routes created around Aliabad Sarai. When he started constructing this path he was told by inhabitants that this place is haunted by a man eater Lal Ghulam, who threw every one to death from this mountain but according to local stories Ali Mardan was strong enough and he entered inside the cave. There are lot of interesting stories about this place.
Most of these green meadows around Mughal Road are full of cattle grazing and enjoying sunshine. Daubjai is another such beautiful and attractive meadow. Daubjai is followed by Heerpur. Roads and meadows around Heerpur will make you float in heavenly atmosphere of Kashmir. And probably that's why Kashmir is known as heaven on Earth.
Poshana is historically important place around Mughal Road. Poshana means narrow track of air. According to written records, the real track of Mughals for reaching valley was from Poshana but newly constructed Mughal road left the village aside and passed from its periphery. Various kinds of utensils which show their link with Mughals have been found by inhabitants of this village.
We met this gentleman at Pir ki Gali. He has a small shop in the middle of green meadows of Pir ki Gali. Peer ki Gali is a religious spot named. Peer ki gali got its name because of a converted Hindu saint (Seikh Ahmed Karim). Bernier Francios a most famous Francis visitor who happened to pass this place along with caravan of Mughal emperor Auranzab while going to Kashmir from Lahore in 1665 writes that this saint was living here from the time of king Jhanjir. This saint could perform miracles by producing horrible voices. He could also bring storms along with hail stones and snow. He was an old white bearded man who ordered the people not to create noise in this calm place of God and also demand offerings from them. It seems that peer used to tell that Mughal king Auranzab and Shah jahan were wise enough as they passed this calm place of God very calmly unlike Jahangir as a result Jahangir faced dangerous results during his time of rule.
http://cnskashmir.com/history-of-mughal-road/ - This link has details about various other historical places around Mughal road. After coming from the trip, I came across this link and now I feel like visiting the Mughal road again and validate/experience the information shared.
There was good security on the day we visited Mughal Road and not sure if security is same on all the days or it was only because of the Mughal Rally in Kashmir valley.
Mughal road is one of most charming highways of state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. This road was basically originated from Bhimber an area situated in the south west of Jammu and Kashmir state in POK in Pakistan. In ancient days this Mughal road was one of the most crowded and safest route used to enter in valley from Punjab and parts of Indian sub continent.
Mughal road was also named as road of salt because whole of the valley was devoid of any source of salt as mentioned in book written by Laurance - 'The valley of Kashmir'. The salt was imported from Punjab, valley of Jahlem and Bhimber only through this route.
Mughal road is full of surprises. The landscapes change after every 10 kilometers. At times you cross through dense deodar forest and in next moment you are around water streams flowing through the mountains and then suddenly you are around green meadows like Peer-ki-Gali.
Mughal road is pretty wide and smooth, so overall ride is quite interesting. When we visited this part of Kashmir, some stretches were under construction.
Villages on Mughal road are spread at longer distances and there are smaller cluster of houses. There are many stretched where you don't see people. Above photograph shows a Kashmiri walking along the road and you can notice the scape of these hills covered with snow.
We noticed few connecting roads around Mughal road. Good to see that lot of towns & villages in Kashmir are being connected through roads, which is extremely important for development of our country and it's citizens.
This was a lovely sight to watch these goats crossing through the hill covered with snow.
Weather keeps changing it's mood and hence you see lot of gorgeous views around you. At times, sun-rays create the magic for you and the clouds keep playing hide-n-seek.
Mughal road also crossed through some of the popular and dense towns. There is huge agricultural land around these towns and we saw lot of paddy fields around Mughal Road in Kashmir. This girls was walking around these fields and it was a lovely sight. Probably she was coming towards the shops from her home.
Altitude keeps changing on Mughal road and one needs to cross through some of the important rivers of Kashmir valley.
At times when surrounded by giants, you don't know which one of them is larger.
The sight of these curvy mountain roads makes you want to follow them and reach wherever they want to take you.
Nowhere else on this earth is the insignificance of man more pronounced than in the lap of uncorrupted nature.
While travelling on these hills, it is difficult to determine what looks more dangerous - the deep valleys beneath or the dark ominous clouds overhead.
There is nothing more humbling than the touch of soft grass on your tired soles.
Whenever I close my eyes and seek a moment of peace, this is the place that I am transported to because such a place when seen once can never be unseen.
Driving through Mughal Road is a very special experience. When we started, we were worried
You can know more about Mughal Road here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mughal_Road