Scenes from Dhok

Every year Gujjars and Bakerwals travel to higher reaches of Pir Panjal and Himalayan mountain ranges in search of pastures. These high altitude pastures are called “Dhok.”


Sultanpathri Loran


Location: Sarkari Pathri, Loran


Location: Dubjiyan, Mughal Road, Shopian


Location: Peer Ki Gali, Mughal Road, Shopian

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Classical Music of Kashmir

The word ‘Kashmir’ isn’t common on any of the music blogs that I follow. Rather this was the first time, I read ‘Kashmir’ on a blog that has a long list of various Raag and artists of Hindustani classical genre, probably the longest list. Blogpost had a download link and said the performance was held in Germany in the year 1984.

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A Strange Request

One day a king was shooting in a jungle, when he came across a, faqir.

“Salam ! ” said he. “Can I do anything for you ? ”

“No, thank you,” replied the faqir. ” Can I do anything for you ?”

“Yes,” said the king. “I want a wife exactly like myself in appearance and height.”

“Alas ! ” said the faqir, “you have asked a hard thing; nevertheless I can do it for you. But be warned; the woman will prove unfaithful.”

“Never mind,” said His Majesty. “If you can grant me this request, please do so.”

On this the faqir arose, and flourishing an axe, clave the king’s head in two, and then buried the body.

“God,” cried he, “hear my prayer, and cause the king to appear again and a woman exactly like him in height and appearance.”

The prayer was heard. The king rose again, and after him a woman like him.

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Ferment with a mixture
Of pain and misery, the soul
Shrinks to corners of sewed skin
Blinking to escape
Escaping to survive.

Survive! Not as mere mortals
But counts of a deathless stream,
Writings in the ledgers of keepers
Which lay buried in graves.

Graves not just of mere beings
But of ideas and ideals
Of love and loved ones
Of motherese and madmen.

Not all mad men
But ones aggrieved with the sanity
Of reliving the memory of dead
Who haven’t died yet, everyday.

Chinar ages, turns to fire
Then sheds all it loves
Hoping winter passes, spring
Is when green covers all.

Mughal Road


Mughal Road Map

It all begins in history which I am not very well aware of. None the less, Mughal Road was used by Mughal Emperors to travel to Kashmir. It has a legacy of few hundred years and connects towns of Poonch and Rajouri with Shopiyan in the valley. The new vehicular road is near completion its completion( which was supposed to happen a couple of years ago). It passes through a wildlife sanctuary and has some great tourist destinations on either side of the magnificent Peer ki gali.

Noori Chamb Enroute Mughal road near Bufliaz

Journey starts at Bufliaz named after Alexander the Great’s horse. From across here the Panjals rise high up like a wall. Noori Chamb has cut deep into the rocks and now is barely visible from the road which it used to be a few years ago. Route follows Bufliyaz – Chandimarh – Chattapani – Peer Ki Gali – Aliabad ki Saran – Dubjyian – Shopiyan. Government plans no developing Peer Ki Gali and Dubjiyan as major tourist destinations.

The mighty Panjals

Near Peer Ki Gali

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“Awwal Hamd sanaa elaahi, jo maalik har harr da
Us da naam chataaran aala, kise vi maidan na harda”
First, all praise is for almighty who is lord of all
Who so ever recites his name, never loses in any life

I don’t remember reading this Kalam, but it has been ingrained within my subconscious. I even don’t remember the first time I heard it. And I am not alone, a community has been bonded together with this age old Kalam.  The mountains of Pir Panjal, the Dhoks and the Margs right from across the Jhelum to Badharwa and even beyond resonate with words of wisdom.Awal Hamd is the first couplet of Saif-Malook( also called Saif ul Malook, Safar ul Ishq) and is an introduction, a prayer and praise of almighty. Saif Malook is the magnum opus of Mian Muhammad Baksh. It uses a lovestory as an allegory to describe Sufi’s journey. The magic of Saif Malook lies in its simplicity. It has been intricately woven into the local parlance and yet it is able captures magnanimity of Sufi thoughts and ideas. Text is concise and mostly deals with trails and tribulations of day today lives. Themes of friendship, ego, kinship and adoration are dotted throughout. The text opens up as the tale of Price Saif-ul-Mulk who falls in love with fairy princess Badi-ul-Jamal. It describes prince’s journey towards his goal faced with existential questions and the white Giant- Deuo Safaid. The genius of Muhammad Mian Bakhsh is in creating couplets which are complete in themselves and yet when projected together, they form small parts of a much bigger plan. Text contains over nine thousand such couplets which share a metrical form.

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Distance doesn’t matter when memory is strong. Flashes; I call them the alternate reality, rather the true reality. They don’t faint away, change and cannot be lost easily. Perception of the reality is based on this truer reality, the reality of mind and the universe within.I tend to see things, as they are shattered passing through the prism of alternate. Physical reality, the cold, the heat, the winds are all measured, against the scale of comparison with units of inner universe. My universe contains Snow and ice, Chirs and Deodars, Apples and Apricots, Valleys and Streams, Walnuts and whatnots. It snows here when it’s winter and the cold breeze blows in summers carrying with it the unruffledness of peaks. And sometimes, it turns green, fresh green when it rains in plenty and then muddy waters gush underneath the green hanging bridges, waters that hides all the haze and clouds and in such days the drops falling off the distant grasshopper’s tail reflect the shining sun straight into my eyes, blinding them at times, such is the thinness of air. I would count the number of tin houses on the other side of the valley, across the border and then recount the mud ones all over again and at other times would search for eyes gazing at the marvel of white capped mountains

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