Ashfaq Lone

Word bangus is derived from joining two words” Ban” derived from Sanskrit word “van” meaning forest and “Gus” meaning “Grass”, so it is a meadow with a lush growth of wild grass. In the summer season, numerous cattle and sheep are seen grazing in these meadows which are sent from the adjoining areas by the locals. Bangus is a tourist destination and hill station in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located in kupwara district of J&k situated at an altitude of 10000 ft .above sea level and located at a distance of 25km from district headquarter kupwara. The major things bangus valley is immensely popular for amongst travelers are its green meadows and beautiful hills. During the summer season, Bangus valley looks like a new bud blossoming into a heavenly flower, This beautiful valley had never been a tourist spot as it was the center of conflicts between armed forces. The valley has a unique ecosystem, consisting of hills surrounded by grasslands and rich vegetation. The valley`s forests and plains serve as the breeding, feeding and protection grounds for many wild animal species. The wildlife includes about 50 species of animals and about 10 species of birds. The animal species include the musk deer, brown bear, porcupine, Jackal, black bear, leopard, monkeys, and red fox. A large number of residents and migratory birds can also be found. The prominent resident birds include pheasant, black partridge, bush quail, hud and wildfowl. The natural setting of beautiful hills surrounding the squashy grasslands and rich vegetation is something which is certainly exotic and can be defined as heavenly beauty. Several streams and seasonal rivers which include the Tiliwan kul, Roshan Kul and Douda kul transversing the lands of bangus valley make it look more alluring and majestic, which is enhanced by breathtaking a view of leepa valley, shamasbary and kazinag mountain towards the west chowkibal. Unlike dhoodpathri, Pahalgam, sonamarg and other tourist destinations of the valley, no visitor from other states or from other districts of Kashmir visits the area. The reasons are obvious. One Bangus is located in one of the highly militarized zones and, two the destination is underdeveloped. In the year 2008, Bangus has declared a tourist spot by the Jammu & Kashmir govt in a bid to develop tourism infrastructure and showcase the area as a tourist destination. The govt released Rs 1.85 crore under tourist destination development scheme, However, it seems little was invested on the ground as the valley still lacks the basic tourist facilities like restaurants, guest houses, road connectivity. During the winter season, the whole world of bangus valley is covered with white carpets of snow, consequently, turning the valley into a world of white beauties. Bangus has no permanent settlement and is inaccessible during winter due to heavy snowfall. In summer shepherds from the plains of the district, kupwara bring cattle for grazing and remain at Bangus seasonally for about 6 months. There are two roads leading to Bangus. one passes from famous Mawar area of the south of Handwara and another from the chowkibal area of kupwara. At both the places, the visitors are asked to show permit from the District Magistrate Kupwara. It can be reached from Reshnari Rajwar through two gullies. Rahwali & Yaddil. Rahwali leads to a bigger ground known as Masheed Angan and Yaddil culminates into a yaddil Maidan ( Ground ) Masheed Angan and yaddil comprise chotta Bangus. Chotta Bangus narrow down into a lane known as Horiber , surrounded on two lateral sides by a number of mountain peaks. Horiber opens into a large grazing meadow known as bada Bangus. At one side of Bada Bangus is another plain tableland called Nicherian, at the top of which it harbors alpine vegetation and still at a good height is a flat ground known as JATTI. This area is famous for medicinal plants. Bangus is easily accessible from kupwara, in under 2 hours from sumo or matador. The routes of Bangus are from Srinagar to kupwara, kupwara to chowkibal and chowkibal to bangus .