Chandigam to come up as tourist, pilgrimage destination

Chandigam (Lolab), Dec 16: The Jammu and Kashmir government is developing Chandigam village of Lolab valley in frontier district Kupwara as a major tourist cum pilgrimage destination.

As part of its initiatives to tap the tourism potential of this picturesque village, the government is continuing infrastructure development in the area.

“The construction work on a 10-bedroom tourist guest house is in final stage. In this guest house, the tourists can have round the clock boarding and lodging facilities,” Chief Executive Officer Lolab-Bungus-Drangyardi Development Authority, Muhammad Yaseen Lone, told Greater Kashmir, adding the facility would be inaugurated soon.

He said the possibilities to reopen the Chandigam Temple for Kashmiri Pandits and other devotees were being explored.

Surrounded with lush green Deodar, Pine trees and majestic mountains and having unparalleled scenic beauty, Chandigam has tremendous tourist potential and is amongst the must see places in Lolab.

This historical village has been named after Hindu goddess Chandi Devi. There is a famous Hindu temple in the thick forest area 20-kilometers, away form the district headquarter Kupwara.

The drive to Chandigam over a recently black topped road, through the orchards, paddy fields, thick green forests and streams is breathtaking.

In Chandigam, there are two springs. The ‘Chandinag’ spring, which was spread over in an area of one and half Kanal in the forest, has now turned into a marsh. Before 1947, when an excavation was carried out, earthen lamps, pottery associated with rituals were found, confirming the antiquity of the place. The digging also confirmed that springs lie underneath. Locals call this place as Kanzpov.

The other spring in Chandigam is ‘Kumarji's Nag’ which is 7 feet x 7 feet in dimensions. It lies in Gujjar Basti and is looked after by Public Health Engineering department. Before migration of Kashmiri Pandits they used to come here from all parts of the Valley to pay obeisance at Chandi Devi temple and used to offer Kheer here.

Locals said, “Before the onset of militancy, people from all parts of the valley would come to visit Chandigam. But now it is the children from educational institutions and people from adjoining areas who come here for excursions and outings.”

Many people have even erected makeshift shacks and shops near these resorts. But with no tourists around, they sit idle during the day.

“Those were the good times as many people earned their livelihood by doing multiple businesses at these beautiful places,” said Ghulam Muhammad a septuagenarian, adding the initiatives taken up by the government to develop the area as a tourist spot would help in reviving the business in the area.

“We hope that Chandigam village will soon become a major tourist and pilgrimage attraction,” the residents said.

They appealed to the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, Minister for Tourism, Nawang Rigzin Jora to take personal interest in the development of the area. "The government should make every effort to promote the place as a favourite tourist destination", the residents said.