On the way to Gurez valley, there are many beautiful sights to see, but Razdan Top and Rajdhan Pass are an example of its natural beauty.
This mountain is as difficult as it is beautiful due to its ascents and descents. After these four hours of driving, the climbs of Razdan Top begin, along with the cloud camps. It seems like you are walking in the clouds.
The path to the top, also known as Tragbal Pass, Razdan Top, and Rajdhan Pass, is mostly paved, with concrete sections on the steeper slopes. It is called the Gurez-Bandipora Highway. The pass connects dozens of remote and far-flung areas, including those near the Line of Control (LoC) with the Bandipora district headquarters in North Kashmir.
It is the highest point between the Gurez and Bandipora highway and is situated at an altitude of 3300m ((11,672ft). The Razdan Pass offers some of the most impressive views of the mountains and gorges.
Stopping at the Razdan pass, I got lost in the clouds that, with the sun shining from above, seemed to dance on the mountain peaks. For people who like remote places and want to enjoy a quiet vacation without phones, crowds, and the hustle and bustle of the big city, few places on Earth can match Gurez.
From the plains of Bandipora, an uphill drive past winding roads, coniferous forests and emerald meadows brings us to the impressive Razdan Pass, the gateway to heavenly Gurez. Located at an elevation of 11,672 feet, it is the highest point we reached on our Gurez Valley Tour.
The pass connects dozens of outlying and remote areas, including those near the Line of Control with the Bandipora district headquarters in North Kashmir. Once an integral part of the Silk Road between Kashmir and Central Asia, the unconventional road to Razdan Pass remains a strategically important link connecting Gurez with the mainland of Kashmir.
One of the highlights of this experiential ride is the thrilling ride through the pass that overlooks deep gorges and cliffs. The high-altitude passage offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges and valleys. On clear days, the majestic Mount Harmukh is also visible from here.
The highest peak in the surrounding area, Mount Harmukh, is considered sacred by Hindus. It is also the famous mountain from which the second highest peak in the world, K2, was first discovered in 1856. The entire pass area receives heavy snowfall during the winter months, cutting off access to Gurez during that time.
Due to heavy snowfall in winter, this pass is closed for almost 5 months of the year. So blocking this pass isolates the valley from the rest of the world, leading to a hectic lifestyle in the Gurez Valley during these months.
The Gurez Valley of Kashmir remains a slice of the old world even in our dark times. Its physical isolation has preserved its environmental and cultural treasures. While its modern history has been plagued by war tensions, it may come as a surprise to many that this picturesque valley was once the gateway to the famous Silk Road through Asia. Gurez Valley is today one of the remote regions of Jammu and Kashmir, isolated for almost seven months of the year. It has also kept it pretty much unchanged.
Even today, Gurez does not have a regular supply of electricity. Generator power is only available for a few hours each day. Wi-Fi and Internet are foreign words to most of the people of the Dardic tribe who have never left the valley.
Many from Gurez, particularly those who could afford it, have moved here to Bandipore due to the extremely harsh living conditions there, but they remain distinct. The Partition divided this ancient Dard-Shina civilization geographically, and even their hearts with families and relatives were pushed to both sides of the LoC.
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