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KASHMIR – GUREZ


Gurez is a valley located in the high Himalayas, about 86 kms from Bandipore and 123 kms from Srinagar in northern Jammu and Kashmir, India. At about 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level, the valley is surrounded by snow capped mountains. It has diverse fauna and wildlife including the Himalayan brown bear and the snow leopard. The Kishanganga River flows through the valley. The road to Gilgit runs through Gurez. Gurez is divided into three regions. The area from Toabat to Sharda Peeth is administered by Pakistan as Neelum District, that between Kamri and Minimarg is part of the Astore District, Northern Areas, Pakistan, and that from Toabat to Abdullae Tulail is known as Tehsil Gurez, and is part of Bandipore district. People of Gurez valley are Dards, they speak Sheena language and have their ancestral connection with Gilgit valley now in Pakistan. The feature and attire of the Dards are similar to Kashmiri people of mountain region. Though Gurez is a far flung area but the people of the Dard race have uplifted themselves by the hard work and proper education. Dard women are fair with athletic built, who spend the summer in collecting wood from mountains for the harsh winter; when it is impossible to move in 20 feet out side. Ultimate adventure destination to the north of Kashrnir, Gurez, is a gateway to the famous silk route across central Asia. The pyramid shaped peak named after famous Kashmiri poetess Habba Khatoon is most fascinating peak of Kashmir. The emperor Yousuf Shah Chak who is said to be a Dard from Gilgit entered into Kashmir through Gurez. It is believed that when emperor was imprisoned by the King Akbar, his beloved Habba Khafton used to wander near the peak to look for her lover. The roar of mighty Kishan-Ganga river flowing across the valley, resonotes with surrounding mountains that lulls a visitors to sound sleep.The traditional log wood houses make Gurez no less than a European country side.

Mountaineering in Kashmir

The mountains in Kashmir may be categorized as Alpine and Himalayan. The four important mountaineering zones in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are Kashmir, Zanskar, Kishtwar, Gurez and Ladakh. Mountain climbing is a very popular adventure activity in this region. Climbing in these Himalayas can be very stimulating and typically an expedition can take a month. Rich in flora and fauna, the summits of most peaks are an exhilirating experience and from a top them, one can look beyond to neighbouring countries Pakistan and Tibet. Of Sonamarg are the lesser peaks Kolahoi(5425m) and Harmukh (5148m). These are peaks one can get to quickly making an alpine ascent. Similarly thhe peaks in the Kishtwar region are not too high but offer technically dicfficult climbing with many challenging faces and ridges.Some are still virgin peaks. The popular peaks are Sickle Moon (6575m), Riger (6001m), Brammah-I (6416m), Crooked Finger (5630m), Arjuna (6230m), Katori (6138m) and Flat Top (6100m). In the Zanskar region are the famous peaks of Nun (7135m) and Kun (7077m). Around these are White Needle (6500m), Pinacle (6930m) and Z-1 (6400m). These peaks are located at the head of the Shafat glacier.The 'Z' series also cluster around the Durung Drung glacier which is visible from the Pensita. In the Ladakh region are the Stok Kangri (6153m), Parcha Kangri (6065m) and Kanglcha (6400m). More recently peaks in the restricted area of the Nubra valley in the Inaian Karakorams have also been opened to foreigners and Indian. There are a number of trekking trails from Kishtwar to a number Himalayan peaks that are not at a very great altitude. In fact these treks can be completed within a weeks time.

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