The town of Bhaderwah lies in the Doda district of Jammu & Kashmir. This town is also a notified area committee. The valley of Bhaderwah is positioned at the foothills of the Himalayas and is situated at a distance of 80 kilometers from the Batote town.
Bhaderwah is gifted with natural beauty and hence it is also known as “Mini Kashmir”. Owing to the attractive forests, Bhaderwah has a flawless picturesque beauty. Besides this, the town also includes several small rivers pouring through its different parts.
History of BhaderwahThe town is also famous as “Nagon ki Bhoomi” which implies “Land of Snakes”. Previously Bhaderwah was also called “Hettary Nagar”. Earlier “Udho Nagar” and “Donga Nagar” were 2 towns which were located about the Mondha village situated 3 kms away from east of the current town of Bhaderwah.
History reveals that due to heavy floods from the Himalayas, both Donga and Udho Nagar were inundated. Moreover, the existence of big rocks in large quantities available in the current time tells the tale of tragedy that took place at that time. Soon after, the residents of Bhaderwah took shelter in Seeri which is famous as the “Seeri Bazar” nowadays. Seeri is a huge field which belongs to a “Zamindar” and here the Bhaderwah refugees rebuilt their homes all-around it.
Ancient History of Bhaderwah
The survivors of the two towns relocated to where present day Bhaderwah Town stands. In Bhaderwah the relocated inhabitants formed the town around a Zamindari that already existed.
Forces from the Chamba region kept trying to take over the Bhaderwah land. Under the leadership of General Shagtu Kotwal the Chamba forces were defeated by the Bhaderwah forces. This victory encouraged the king of Jammu, Maharaja Gulab Singh, to accept Bhaderwah as a part of Jammu and Kashmir. This is how the town came into existence and how it became a part of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Religious History of BhaderwahAs per Hindu mythology it is believed that the Nagas had tricked the mother of Garur, Vineeta, into servitude under the mother of the Nagas, Kadru. It was only the Vaski Nag who was not a part of the devious plot. When Garur found out about the trickery, he sought out to punish the Nagas.
In an attempt to escape the wrath of Garur, the surviving Nagas had fled to Bhaderwah. Here Vasuki Nag made a deal with Garur that each day a Naga would sacrifice them to satisfy the hunger of Garur. It was finally a king, Jimut Vahan, whose selflessness appeased Garur into forgiving the Nagas. So the Nagas were believed to have been left to dwell Bhaderwah in peace.
Many more mythological tales are related to the Bhaderwah town. It is no wonder that pilgrims from around the nation and even the world choose to visit Bhaderwah. Even if you are not religious you can visit Bhaderwah to enjoy the beauty that Jammu and Kashmir has in store.
Geography of BhaderwahBhaderwah is geographically positioned at 32.98° in the north and 75.72° in the east. The town has an average elevation of 5292 ft or 1613 m. According to the census of 2011, the population of Bhaderwah was 22,942.
In summers the maximum temperature of Bhaderwah goes up to 29 degree Celsius. In winters the maximum temperature remains between 5 to 7 degree Celsius, whereas the minimum temperature drops down to -6 degree Celsius.
The weather remains pleasant and cool all through the year. The best time to visit Bhaderwah is from March to November. Generally the place experiences snowfall between the months of November and April.
Bhaderwah TourismWith the constant efforts of Jammu & Kashmir Government, the tourism infrastructure of Bhaderwah is gradually improving with the passage of time. The town is coming up with new heritage centers, tourist villages, parks, resorts, pilgrimage centers, Tourist Reception Centers, heritage villages, adventure and forest resorts, scenic spots etc. Read More...........................
The following are the major tourist attractions of Bhaderwah town:
- Gupt Ganga Temple
- Shitla Mata Roshera
- Vasuki Naag Temple
- Jamia Masjid Bhaderwah
- Lakshmi Narayan Temple
- Nagni Mata
- Thubu Nag Temple
- Alalbani Temple
- Subar Nag Temple
- Bhaderwah Fort
Culture of BhaderwahThe culture of Bhaderwah is reflected in its various dance forms such as- Dhekku and Ghurai.
Naag pooja is also a very important feature of Bhaderwahi culture. In March Naag pooja starts with the prayers of “Subar Nag”. After the Sharad month in Hindu calendar, the temple of Subar Nag is opened. On this very day, a plethora of devotees from Bhaderwah and nearby villages throng the temple.
Bhaderwah is a region which fittingly showcases the cultural diversity that India is famed for. A varied combination of cultures has aided the creation of a unique culture that the region boasts today. From art forms to festivals, Bhaderwah offers something novel and noteworthy for every visitor.
Let us take a mere glance at the cultural fertility of the ancient town:
Dance Forms of BhaderwahWhen one talks about the culture of any land, it is impossible to give dance forms a miss. Folk dances originate from a combination of cultures and they exemplify a variety of emotions and events.
Religion plays an important role in Bhaderwah. Pilgrims from all around the world await the doors of temples to open on the day of Shivratri. On the day that the temple doors open, folk dancers and pilgrims celebrate by performing the Dheku or Kudd dance. Large groups of men and women perform this dance. Dheku is performed by numerous men and it is specially executed on the occasion of “Kudd”.
Unlike the Kudd, the Ghurai is a dance that only women perform. The dance is performed by folk dancers to the songs of married women sung during the Kunchouth festival. Ghurai is performed only by women and this dance is accompanied by the “Ghurai” song which is sung by the women participants. The songs praise the Goddess Gouri. Ghurai dance is executed in circle by women on the occasion of “Konchowth”. The other folk dances that are performed in Bhaderwah are- Ram Ravan Nach or Yuddha dance, Sohari and Gujjar dance.
The Gujjars were originally nomads that dwelled the inhospitable mountain terrain. Now many have settled down into a more stable life. Yet their Gujjar Folk Dance offers a mesmerizing performance on occasions like Gujjar marriages.
Music in BhaderwahThe folk dances cannot be performed without being accompanied with music. Instruments like the Ransingha, Flute, Dhole and so on are used to provide the music for most of the folk dance forms. The songs are generally sung by the spectators or the folk singers. A form of folk song known as Musadhe is enchanting due to its rhythm and the picturization of the historical events. Various folk song forms go hand in hand with the dance forms.
Festivals in BhaderwahFestivities play an important role in the lives of the Bhaderwah inhabitants. Even though many of the festivals no longer have any relevance, they are joyously celebrated.
Kanchoth is a festival that is similar to Karwachouth.
The fast that married women keep on Kanchoth is broken after the Gouri Puja. The festival is in fact dedicated to the Goddess Gouri. Even though the Puja is completed on a single day, the festivities stretch over three whole days.
The thawing of the snow and the herald of the agricultural season is celebrated extravagantly in Bhaderwah. Pujas are performed to bless the year’s harvest during the festival called Dharam Dhees. Tilaks are applied to foreheads and Gur is eaten as sacrament.
Along with Shiv and Shakti, the inhabitants of Bhaderwah revere the Naag Devta. This is why we see that the Naag Puja is one that is celebrated as extravagantly as the Shiv-Shakti Puja. Naag Puja is celebrated in March and prayers are offered to the Subar Naag. The doors of the Naag Temple are opened and the Naag deities are worshiped one after the other.
Mela Patt fair is also a renowned fair which is celebrated in Bhaderwah with great zeal. Apart from the scenic beauties, one should also revel in the cultural exuberance of Bhaderwah.
Apart from this the Bhaderwah festival is also celebrated here for 4 days. All the arrangements of this festival are done by the Bhaderwah Development Authority in association with the District Administration of J & K. This festival is organized mainly to promote tourism in this area. During this festival a variety of cultural activities, tourist and sports activities are performed.
Shopping in BhaderwahSeeri Bazar is the main hub for shopping in Bhaderwah. One can visit this place for some renowned furnishing shops, electronics shops, eateries, bakeries and general stores. Ashwani Razdan furnishing shop, Dogra Vaishno dhaba, Gupta Standard bakery, Amit electronics shop, Sanjay Watch shop and Gupta general store are the names of some prominent shops in Seeri Bazar, Bhaderwah.
Food in BhaderwahBhaderwah abounds with a number of restaurants, fast food joints, bars, bakeries and coffee shops. The town is also popular for Rajma cultivation. Broadway restaurant, Zainab restaurant, Ravis Fast Food, Ganaie restaurant and Shan Viashno dhaba are some popular eateries of Bhaderwah. The restaurants serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines to its customers. Some restaurants also serve Chinese dishes.
Transportation in BhaderwahBhaderwah brags of amicable transport services. There is a plethora of private as well as J&K state deluxe buses that can be availed to reach Bhaderwah. From Udhampur the bus journey takes about 5 to 6 hours to reach Bhaderwah, whereas from Jammu it takes about 6 to 7 hours to reach the town. Taxis and private cabs are also available from Udhampur and Jammu to reach Bhaderwah.
Although Bhaderwah is an excellent place for visiting as family holidays, honeymoons, adventure or devout pilgrimage, it is not often visited. Being at an altitude of 1613 meter (5292 feet), virtually sitting on the lap of rocky mountainous foothills, Bhaderwah is an extremely difficult place to visit in India. The only connection that this town shares with the rest of Indian Subcontinent is through Jammu, which in itself is literally on top of India.
Reach Bhaderwah by AirWhatever be the place of origin, one has to land at Jammu first to reach Bhaderwah. Jammu Airport is the closest airport to Bhaderwah which lies at a distance of 205 kilometers from the town. There are several domestic flights that can be availed to reach Jammu from any part of India. After disembarking at the Jammu airport, a private taxi or bus can be taken to reach Bhaderwah.
Reach Bhaderwah by RailThe Jammu Tawi rail head is the nearest railway station to Bhaderwah and is located merely 206 kms away from the town. There are a number of trains that ply from Jammu to the other major cities of India.
There are also several trains traveling from all over the Indian subcontinent to Jammu through Delhi. This method of reaching Jammu by a train may be favorable to those who prefer traveling through different landscapes, which is not possible and somewhat boring in an airplane.
Reach Bhaderwah by RoadThe third way perhaps is the best way to reach Bhaderwah. Traveling by road is the most enjoyable way to visit Bhaderwah from Jammu. Wavering its course uphill and downhill through mountains, both green and rocky, this all weather road provides the enthusiastic motorists the thrill of driving through several hairpin bends and sharp inclines. But as dangerous as it seems, these roads are maintained by Border Road Organization (BRO), which also looks after several other mountainous highways, which make them very safe.
This whole route is mapped into four main drives. The first is 64 kms on NH 1A leading from Jammu to Udhampur. Then there is a drive to Batote at 55 kms, and Batote to Pul Doda at 49 kms, through NH 1A to NH 18. After that, there is a long straight stretch to Bhaderwah of 29 Kms.
The other important routes to travel in Bhaderwah are- Bhaderwah- Bani- Basoli road and the Bhaderwah- Chamba road.
Other Transport Facilities in BhaderwahThose who intend to take on the road journey will get several options to travel from Jammu to Bhaderwah. The safest trip would be to board a Jammu and Kashmir SRTC Deluxe bus, which would be luxurious enough to comfortably enjoy the landscape. The total travel time to reach Bhaderwah from Jammu is approximately six to seven hours by bus. The SRTC buses charge around Rs 200, whereas the private buses charge around Rs 250 to 300 per person.
Deluxe and Regular buses are also operated by private tour agencies, which can be availed as per affordability. There is also a scope of renting a car for this journey which would be costlier but more enjoyable.
Once in Bhaderwah, tourists may enjoy the sights, sounds, flora, fauna and the mosaic culture all around the place in local transports like- mountain tangas, auto rickshaws or can avail cars (both small and family sized) from the local, private and government tour agencies.
Fact File of BhanderwahBest Time to Visit: November-April
Languages Spoken: Kashmiri, Hindi, Urdu
State Animal: Hangul
State Tree: Chinar
State Bird: Black Necked Crane
Tourism Website: http://www.jktourism.org/index.php/bhaderwah-town
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