Lone Saab told us about possibility of visiting an advance border post at Chorwan, so first thing in morning we called him up and reminded him about arranging a permit for us from local army brigade. He was a very nice person, took us to army brigade and got permission for us, the officer looking at my camera gear, just reminded me that it was no photography zone, I was more than agreed to that already. Amit told me about Ramiz Raja, another loveable character who works in the GH and a local lad from Bagtore. We took him along with us as after Chorwan we had to proceed to Bagtore. He had day off on that day and with us he would also visit his home in quick time. So we went to Chorwan first, army was already informed as they didn’t even bother ask about our details and straight away asked us to proceed to the main camp. The person there took us to the observation tower and showed us a 270 degree view of various Pakistani Posts in other side of the ridges through a powerful binocular. We could see their camps and even spot their bunkers some 500 mtrs away. They had several night vision cameras installed there to track the slightest movement in other side of LOC. We were enjoying, my kid was very thrilled, even requested the army to shot few rounds from their Insus, she never has seen bullets so closely, was amazed and asked me repeatedly when Pakistan would start firing (so from our end we could retaliate ). After the visit we had some nice Pakoda and Chay there with the army and had some good chat. It was getting late and we had to move towards Bagtora, so we moved further, got some fabulous shots of Dawar from opposite side of Kishanganga and was able to touch the LOC fencing too, it was really thrilling, took some snaps and then proceeded towards Bagtore.
Dawar from Chorwan side:
The LOC Fencing, we are standing at Zero Point:
On the way to Bagtore:
Near Tarabal where the encounter happened on 20th Aug 2012, militants were trying to cross Kishanganga here:
The nature at its best:
Last point where road ends at Tarabal:
This side of Gurez was even more scenic, we crossed Wampot, Khopri, Nayal and then at Kanzalwan took right and moved towards Bagtore. We reached at Tarabal which was the last village in this side of LOC where motorable road ended and along with Ramiz, we started walking towards the BSF Camp which was the last camp just before LOC. It was a short 20 mins walk just by the side of river Kishanganga and what an amazing scenery it was, I couldn’t really express in words rather try to put some snaps of this small yet beautiful trek. The captain at Camp was posted in Bengal for almost 7 years and could even speak some Bengali was very surprised to see a family with kid there out of no where. He invited us for lunch, which we readily accepted and had a great lunch with roti and sabji. He told though civilians were not allowed there, once we came, we should enjoy the place, he showed us positions of various army camps and bunker positions of Pakistan and also the exact place where a fierce encounter took place between army and militants last year 20th August when they tried to infiltrate by crossing river Kishanganga in a raft.
Walking towards the last Post near LOC:
Kishanganga is flowing at right:
Looking back towards Tarabal:
Extremely colorful terrain:
BSF Commandar posing with us, the far ridges are in Pakistan just on other side of Kishangana gorge:
After spending some more time there, we started our return journey and Ramiz took us to his home. We met his parents, brothers and sister, had cup of tea and snacks and chatted with them for a while. The time was very nicely spent with this warm yet simple Kashmiri family in their own ambience listening to the stories of their daily lives. Another amazing day came to an end as we started our return journey and on the way Kazim found a water falls to get a free car wash. We were enjoying the misty evening with clouds and suddenly a white Tata safari came to screeching halt and a gentleman came out and extended his arms, he knew me for sure, I took a guess and yes it was Sunny Paaji, with his friend who was also a BCMTian. So a small BCMT get together was inevitable and what a place to meet Sunny Paaji, we never even thought in our wildest dream that we would be meeting in Gurez after narrowly missing each other in Srinagar and in Aru. They were also travelling to Gurez and fortunately we all stayed the night at JK Tourism GH at Gurez only. After coming back to GH, we had some more chatting on Gurez and entire Kashmir trip. Kazim prepared the chicken again for last time in the trip and it was so delicious to have that in dinner. After a nice dinner, caught up with some World Cup T-20 cricket in TV before we retired for that day.
Trekking back the same route towards Tarabal:
Ramiz (at right) with his brother and parents: