AS temperatures across the globe soar, Ganga Choti, situated at an altitude of 10,000 feet in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), seems like a paradise on earth. I was part of a school trip to the area recently and it was amazing.
We set out early in the morning, and it started raining soon afterwards. On the way to Ganga Choti, we encountered blinding fog and intense cold, which left us shivering despite our heavy clothing.
On reaching the destination, we immediately dusted the fog off our shoulders and heads, lit the fire to keep ourselves warm, and soaked our lips in warm cups of tea. In the hide and seek of fog and drizzle, we reached the top of the Ganga mountain. The beauty of the varied landscapes of Ganga was mesmerising. It must have been some such site that would have made John Keats say: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
Emperor Jahangir was absolutely right in remarking that Kashmir was paradise on earth. It really is. Those who may have a doubt should plan a trip to AJK. The varied landscapes, eye-soothing greenery, gushing streams of crystal-clear water, snow-capped mountains and fascinating snapshots will never disappoint them.
In fact, the beautiful memories of their trip will last forever and accompany them throughout their life as a source of joy. People must spare some time from their tied-up life in urban centres to visit the beautiful northern areas to witness natural beauty at its very best.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir
Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2021