6Th August 2015, Thursday……Day (6) Bhaderwah-Lake Resort Gatha-Bhaderwah 54 km
Even after an average sleep inside the car parked near Rathore restaurant on the college link road near Radio Station, got up quite fresh. The road was quite wide, spacious and had sparse population. It was good to see people using it for morning walk. I joined them and had nice walk.
Even though me and Rajesh had good chat the previous night and struck a liking for each other still I did not tell him that I was going to sleep inside the car.
Rajesh was not yet awake and the shutter of the restaurant was still shut when I left and drove off to Seri Bazar to have a cup of tea.
Since the main Bhaderwah-Doda road was still not open, I was in a fix what to do. Chamba was not an option because I don’t like to drive on the same route twice and that would have also meant going back home.
The only other option left was to try Bhaderwah-Chatter Gala-Bani-Basohli route but being solo and on a low ground clearance car and also keeping in view the weather conditions, everyone I talked to discouraged me from going through that route.
Meanwhile my friend Mr Harsh Khullar from Gurgaon advised me to get in touch with Mr Aamir Rafiqi, an official of BDA for guidance and help. I called Mr Aamir but he was away to Srinagar and was not likely to return before the road was open.
He advised me to visit Lake Resort at Gatha.
Following his advise I drove for about 1-2 kilometers on Fish Pond Road and reached Lake Resort Gatha. It was 8am morning, too early for the ticket counter to open. After a little wait a man arrived and told me to go inside and pay later.
I was the only one at the resort at that time. The resort had bright colorful flowers in full bloom, rich plants, shrubs and green grass was neatly cut, a gushing stream was flowing into a big pool, ducks were swimming calmly and the surroundings were oozing with bright hue and sweet fragrance.
Although the resort was not very big yet it was neat and well maintained.
The resort was a splendid blend of rich natural beauty and man made facilities. It had a large pool where a fast flowing rivulet was emptying herself. Booths near the pool seemed not to have found any takers yet.
The lake view resort is being developed by Bhaderwah Development Authority (BDA), which has been set up by state govt. under the Prime Minister’s reconstruction plan.
Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad is a popular personality in the area. Wherever I went people remember him fondly and with respect. He is also the native of the area.
View of the neighbourhood of Lake View Resort.
Gushing flowing rivulet at the Lake View Resort Gatha.
A selfie inside Lake View Resort Gatha.
There were some very beautiful, tempting cottages inside the resort. I was told that they were all occupied by a TV crew from Mumbai who were shooting a serial and were not currently available.
There was a good, spacious restaurant in the resort. Throughout the day it came handy to me, had a number of cups of tea followed a sumptuous lunch, got all the gadgets charged too.
Late afternoon, I drove on Doda road to get the first hand account of landslide site. A huge crowd had gathered, taxis were plying on both sides of the site. People were being dropped on either side of the road, then they would walk down near the Niru River, cross the jugaad like locally built bridge and walk up on the other side of the road using another bridge and catch the taxi waiting there.
I parked the car and joined the walkers down near the river and after crossing the bridge reached to the opposite side of the landslide site. The site looked terrible. The entire road was washed away, the part of the road and landmass had sunk, trees had fallen down.
The pace of rebuilding the broken part of the road was going on at a very slow pace. It felt like it would take ages to rebuild the road.
Locally build bridge, the jugaad, very risky.
People crossing the locally build bridge, me crossed that too.
Niru River flowing towards Doda.
With all the mystery gone and after having seen the landslide site myself, I had no option but to drive back to Bhaderwah.
On the way back I saw a TRC (Tourist Reception Centre) sign and decided to have a look at it. It was late evening so not many people were around. A gentleman saw me and tried his best to attend to my quarries.
The TRC is managed by BDA and is about 6 Kms away from the main Bhaderwah town on Doda road. Designed in the pattern of Nishat Garden Srinagar, it is located amongst terraced fields, overlooking a dense deodar forest.
It seemed to have good staying facilities as well.
Evening was spent in busy Seri Bazaar, sipping tea, talking to people and understanding their way of living.
Although Bhaderwah is a beautiful town and has more than what a tourist can look for yet people did not seem to be aware of it, may be unlike Kashmir Valley, they have not seen a rush of tourists come to the area.
After spending sometime in the market I decided to drive on the periphery of the town.
Drove to university road, took round and then drove to Nalthi Park. From Nalthi Park drove on Chamba-Bhaderwah road, the same which I took on the first day, but that day it was during night.
Niru River and Bhaderwah
Tilligarh Tourist Complex in the view.
View of the town and Bhaderwah fort
Tilligarh Tourist Complex is situated on a hill and it looked like a good place to view Sunset and Bhaderwah in the evening. Since it was my first time, it took me more time reaching the complex than what I had assessed. The Sun was already set when I reached the complex. The gate of the resort were locked and a group of people were waiting for the door to open.
After sometime the door opened and the gateman allowed me to go in. Later I came to know that a TV crew was camping at the resort for sometime and had not paid their dues. The management of the resort had locked the doors and were not allowing the crew to leave until their dues were cleared.
From the resort, the view of Bhaderwah town were quite good. With Sun having already set, I knew I have missed a good opportunity. Soon it became dark and after spending some time in the market, I drove back to Rathore restaurant on college link road.
After nice dinner, I went walking on the empty road. Somehow I have become used to and kind of liked this walking alone in the cool surroundings and this time before slipping inside the car and pulling the covers over, I told Rajesh that I would be sleeping inside the car, which I usually don’t do.
Later in the night I heard two people talking to each other that someone was sleeping inside the car. It made me bit conscious and took me awhile to fall asleep, the 3rd and last time of the trip in Bhaderwah…………!!!