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Jammu And Kashmir: Bhaderwah and Kishtwar
In the Jammu Kashmir highway, 11 kms from Patnitop, is Batote. Take the Doda bridge at the right hand side to reach Bhaderwah (or Vaderwah) at about 81 kms away. The place is known for its beauty and is a preferred destination for foreigners. Enveloped in green, it is at a height of 5000 ft. Apple and peach trees abound, and you will find lovely pathways piercing the dense forests, with river Chenab giving you company all the way. A treat for ornithologists, birds will compete amongst themselves to claim the best singer award. There is a wooden temple of Vasuki Nath, the great serpent. It is from this place that the Sri Amarnath Yatra starts. The area also seems more cultured that the rest of the state.
Travel another 17 kms, and you will reach Vasuki kund or Kailash Lake. It is at a height of 14,400 ft, and is a very holy lake for the Hindus. Reaching the lake is however, a daunting affair, and requires both physical and mental strength, since the pathway is very steep uphill. Though ponies are available, walking is more comfortable, due to the nature of the road. Rakhi purnima, that falls sometime in late October or Early November, is an hindu pilgrimage time here, when hundreds of visitors come to the place. Rest of the year, the way to Vasuki kund stays deserted. It takes a full day from Bhaderwah to go to Vasuki kund and back.
Vasuki Kund or Kailash lake is bluish in color, and the water is accumulated from the melting ice. There is no temple here, but the stone deity of Shiva, Vishnu and Vasuki rules on a stone slab under the open sky. There is also the Shiva’s Trishul (trident). Pious Hindus take bath in the kund, with three dips.
Kishtwar or Kistwar is about 60 kms from Batot, on the opposite side of Bhaderwah. The place is known for its beautiful waterfalls. It is said that the drinking water of Kishtwar is very healthy, and cures many ailments. You will also find a non stop orchestra, provided free of cost by the numerous birds. A major destination of the place is the high altitude park. Nature is splendid. To stay, there is a rest house, JKTDC tourist bungalow that can be booked from Jammu, youth hostel and some other options. One can also trek to SriNagar or Jaskar from here.
Note: Few tourists care to stop at these places, which falls en route to Srinagar from Jammu. But it is advised that if you are going by road to Kashmir from Jammu, then take a day or two out from Srinagar, and visit the places. You will not regret.
Jawahar Tunnel: While going to Kashmir from Jammu, you will have to go through Jawahar tunnel, which is about 206 kms from Jammu and 85 km from Sri Nagar.
It stretches for about 2km, and is of a height of 18ft. It has two lanes of about 8ft each.