Karnah to Sharda Peeth Best Places to Visit

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Khatri Hindus were associated with the business till 1947 and pilgrims/travelers used this route to reach Sharda Temple and University located in Neelum Valley in Pakistan, Kashmir. The ruins of Sharda University are still located in the Neelum region of Pakistani Kashmir. It is believed to have been established in the early 1st century during the Kushan Empire. In 141 BC, a fourth Buddhist conference was held at this university for the spread of Buddhism. This lecture was attended by Emperor Kanishka of India.
The ruins of Sharda University and Temple still bear witness to the fact that Kashmir, especially the Karnah region, is not just a region where people live, but it is the name of the civilization. It is believed that Sharda Script was also introduced in this university. In LoC Tetwal (Kupwara District) on the banks of Kishenganga (Neelum River), construction of the ShardaYatra Temple and Base Camp Center is in full swing. The pilgrims went to the temple of Sharda Peeth located in the valley of Neelum (Kashmir under Pakistani administration) by the road of Titwal. A demand exists for the Sharada Temple to be opened to Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus from the rest of India for pilgrimage.

A few days ago, my friend Manzoor Saleem and I decided to visit Karnah, 78 kilometers from northern Kupwara district in Kashmir. From Kupwara town, it only took us three hours to reach Tanghar, which is a sub-division of places with a wonderful business market where almost everything remains available. The road from Kupwara to Karnah is breathtaking especially at Sadhna step which was previously called Nastachun. Sadhana Top is a high mountain pass located at an elevation of 10,269 feet above sea level. On the way from Karnah to Sadhan, the 360 ​​degree view of the surroundings is mesmerizing and enchanting.
During the winters, this pass receives over 15 feet of snow, which makes it closed for a few months and the entire population of the area remains cut off from the rest of the valley. Considering the long pending demand of the people, the government is planning to construct a tunnel for which a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the construction of the 6.12 kilometer tunnel has already been formulated. The area between Shamasbari Mountain and Karanu Mountains is full of unparalleled beauty located close to the Line of Control. According to historical records, Karnah was the Tehsil of Muzaffarabad Wazarat before the division. In 1947 the Line of Control was drawn and the wazarat of Karnah was divided along with the humans who lived here. Karnah on our side is part of Kupwara district and the rest of its area is now located in Neelum district and Hattain Bala district of Pakistan held Kashmir.
The pain people felt because of the partition is still evident in people’s hearts and minds. Talking to several locals, we learned about the importance of the area in ancient times. Having a population of over 65,000 Karnah has a majority Pahari population. However, people understand and even speak the Kashmiri language. Gujjar tribes and Kashmiri-speaking ethnic groups also exist in the region. They have their own culture, customs and traditions in place, but a visible impact of Kashmiri society can be seen on their lives. We stayed at our friends’ house in the village of Teetwal, located on the banks of the Kishanganga (Neelum) river forming a line of control between India and Pakistan. In the background of the house of Khawaja Mohammad Iqbal, a former Tehsildar, is a Chalhana village in the Neelm Valley of Pakistan Held Kashmir.
Khawaja Mohammad Iqbal, a former revenue officer, has vast knowledge of all of Karnah. He informed that Titwal was a trading hub linking the valley to the rest of other parts of Pakistan and its administered Kashmir. Many other references suggest it was Titwal from where Rajmash, apricot, honey, sheep and goat skins, woolen blankets and ghee were supplied to Rawalpindi. From Pakistan, salty tea, gurd, naswar and cloth were supplied to this side. Khatri Hindus were associated with the business till 1947 and pilgrims/travelers used this route to reach Sharda Temple and University located in Neelum Valley in Pakistan, Kashmir.
The ruins of Sharda University are still located in Neelum region of Pakistan, Kashmir. It is believed to have been established in the early 1st century during the Kushan Empire. In 141 BC, a fourth Buddhist conference was held at this university for the spread of Buddhism. This lecture was attended by Emperor Kanishka of India. The ruins of Sharda University and its associated temple still testify to the fact that Kashmir, especially the Karnah region, is not just a region where people live, but it is the name of the civilization. It is believed that the Sharda script was also introduced in this university. In LoC Tetwal (Kupwara District) on the banks of the Kishenganga (Neelum) River, construction of the Sharda Yatra Temple and Base Camp Center is in full swing. The pilgrims went to the temple of Sharda Peeth located in the valley of Neelum (Kashmir under Pakistani administration) by the road of Titwal. A demand exists for the Sharada Temple to be opened to Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus from the rest of India for pilgrimage.
The next morning Khawaja Mohammad Iqbal took us with him and shared his knowledge of the different regions of the Karnah Valley. High mountains, peaks, forests and dwellings on the slopes of the mountain ranges, Nallah Qazi Naag, Kishanganga River and the villages near the Line of Control are the places which are a unique thing associated with Karnah. It should be mentioned that due to the existence of the Line of Control which not only divided the geographical area of ​​Karnah but separated thousands of human beings from each other. People on both sides can see their relatives but cannot meet. On February 25, 2021, India and Pakistan agreed to strictly adhere to all ceasefire agreements along the Line of Control and other areas. Residents of villages near the Line of Control are now leading normal lives and have benefited enormously from the ceasefire agreement.
Due to border peace, the Indian government was able to promote the concept of border tourism, which changed things completely.
Nowadays, many nature lovers visit the border regions like Karnah. The peace at the borders has given a sense of security to those who intend to visit these tourist destinations near LoC. The Indian government seems very interested in developing these areas as tourist destinations.
The historic decision of the Indian government to bring border areas like Keran, Gurez, Karnah, Machil and Bangus on the tourism map has brought happiness on the faces of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. These new tourist destinations will facilitate the peace and development of these border areas.
Any non-resident traveler wishing to visit the border areas of Keran, Karnah and Machil must obtain permission from the magistrate of Kupwara district, which is very simple because the person concerned does not need to go personally to an office but to get it via online mode. . A non-resident traveler can access the portal at http://epass.kupwara.co.in. and register. Experts believe that if the Karnah Valley is promoted appropriately, it can attract tourists from all over the world and generate jobs for thousands of unemployed Kashmir youths. There is unparalleled potential for adventure tourism, sport tourism, trekking, rafting, skiing, skating, rock climbing, snowboarding, paragliding and heliskiing. The valley can prove to be the best destination in the world for its diverse potential of comfort for mankind, because the valley is not just a tourist destination, but has enough resources and potential to attract people belonging to all walks of life.

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