Bungus is an upcoming tourist destination that will soon see its place in the tourist map of the state. It is one of the virgin destinations where the avid travellers look forward to visit.
On every Eid I, along with my friends, travel to different tourist destinations, but 2016 was something memorable and unexpected.As usual we were selecting the places and everyone was suggesting with different options. We were yet to decide the place and suddenly the Kashmir saw a new uprising, once again.
Days passed, situation worsened. Tiredness and laziness was all around.The only way to get out of all this was to relax at some distant place. Travelling to far-off places under these situations is always dangerous, so to avoid the risk, it was better to choose a place which was not too far. Finally we selected Bungus valley, only 30 km from our place, Kalmoona, Kupwara.
Bungus, a lush green meadow is situated in the lap of Himalayas, at an altitude of around 10,000 ft. above the sea level. It is around 160 kms from Srinagar, and just 48 kms from district headquarter Kupwara.
Bungus is a part of a unique ecological area, comprising mountain and grassland with flora, taiga or coniferous forest. Extreme natural beauty, serenity, splendour are few synonyms associated with the majestic valley of bungus. The valley is surrounded by Rajwar and Mawar in east,Shamsasburyand Dajlungum mountains in the west; Chowkibal, KarnahGali in the north, and Leepa mountains in the south.
After making necessary arrangements, it was July 18, 2016 that we finally headed towards Bungus . After travelling about two hours in a cab with all the fun through hectic narrow roads, we reached Tee pee at around 10am, a mesmerizing place with beautiful gushing streams. We also came to know from the locals that there is no road connectivity to Bungus from here .It was a proper indication that we had to walk through gentle and steep mountain tracks passing through the surrounding dense pine forests .
Way to Bungus—
Bungus can be reached only by road with two main routes. The one is from Handwara through Mawar. This track can also be reached from Lawoosa ,near Nowgam. On the same side there are another pony tracks. The one is known by the name of Kahrasdooni top. From Kahrasdooni top, a circuitous descent followed by another stretch of steep ascent leads to a small meadow known as Pooshdoori. The meadow is located on an altitude of 8290ft. above the sea level. From Pooshdoori the track again descends into large linear meadow known as Nilwan. The meadow is watered by the MawarNallah. Another route is through Kralpora, Chowkibal, from north side, which leads to Tee Pee. From Tee Pee through steep mountain tracks it finally reaches to Bangus.
Two hour trek finally leads us to LokuthBangus(Small Bangus), a meadow surrounded by low lying mountains . It was time to refresh, and to have some food.Juice along with spicy nuts were our first referesher for empty stomach. After some rest, we headed towards BadaBangus (Big Bangus), at around 12pm. One can take Horse ride to reach BadaBangus, But we preferred to trek.
Occupying an estimated area of about 300 sq kms, BadaBangus consists of a linear elliptical bowl aligned along the east-west axis. The BadaBangus also contains numerous narrow mountain passes leading into it, locally known as Gallies.In the middle of BadaBangus,is flowing a gashing stream where we sat for a lunch break. Local people of nearby villages welcomes the travellers with Nun Chai, and some other eatables.
We enjoyed our launch consisting of rice, chicken with flavours of Kashmiri wazwan . Time was nearing 1 pm and our next step was to feel the actual essence of Bungus valley. We enjoyed a gala time with photography and other activities especially moving barefooted on the bog down flour which seemed like dangling on sofa beds.
Time was quickly passing and our next challenge was adventure, the mountain climbing. The nomadsthere earlier told us that if there is a paradise,it is on the top of that mountain.His words added to our curiosity.We straightaway headed towards that mountain. Climbing was not an easy task, but we took the challenge.
The labyrinthine terrain of the mountain, prone to avalanches, was the most dangerous trek. With slow cautious steps, we finally reached to the peak in two and half hours.
What we saw, our eyes still refuse to believe. There was, as if a green carpet under our feet. The scene was fascinating and worth to keenly observed; gusts of cold breeze was humming from all the directions. The sky seemed, as if resting on the small hills, and the rays from the sun was reflecting like a prism
To imagine, it was presuming that the heaven is here and only here. It was already 5pm, and it was time to descend from the mountain and head back towards home. We reached back home at 10pm .One thing is clear and we all come to feel that one could not fully enjoy the nature and satisfy his quest at Bangus in one day. One needs to spend two or three days under open sky, to fully relish and taste the very essence of this virgin valley.
Some areas of the Bungus valley are at a stone throw distance from the line of control between India and Pakistan. Connected by the bus service from Magam in Handwara town (district Kupwara), tourists are recommended to take assistance of travel agents for the conducted tours. There is no adequate infrastructure for the overnight stay and the local transport to Bungus is not so regular .Travel agent’s assistance is highly recommended.