Poonch is a fascinating hunting ground for trekkers and nature lovers. The lush green meadows and corniferous forests display rich wealth of flora and fauna. From time immemorial hill folks, pilgrims and Europeans trekked over its hills to Kashmir due to lack of means of communications. Poonch is separated from Kashmir valley by the gigantic Pir Panjal range, whose higheset peak TATAKUTI standing at 15560 ft. falls in Poonch and is visible even from Lahore on a clear day. This is still a virgin peak challenging adventurers with crystal clear water, the alpine lakes viz. Sukhsar, Neelsar, Bhagsar, Katorasar, Kaldachnisar and Nandansar and other thirteen lakes surrounded by glaciers and snow capped peaks look magnificient and enchanting for trekkers in summer.
The historical water falls, Noorichammb and Nandishool bounds the visitors. For the comfort of trekkers, there are rest houses at Surankote, Bufliaz, Dehragali, Chandimarh, Poshiana, Mandi, Loran, Sawjian and Poonch. The youth from various clubs of Poonch and outside have conducted innumerable trekking expeditions in Poonch as a result of which Poonch has now been projected on the tourism map of India.
In local dialect the passes, alpine lakes and meadows are called gallies, sars and margs or dhoks respectively. Some of the common dhoks of scenic beauty in Poonch are Girjan, Panjtari, Isanwali, Nainsukh, Dharamarg, Pirmarg and Sarimastan etc.
The renowned writer Late Sh. Krishan Chander was inspired by the scenic beauty of these spots and wrote a short story entitled “Girjan ki Ek Sham”.
For the lovers of nature some of the common trekking routes are as under;
Poonch to Gulmarg (Kashmir) via Jammia gali
Poonch — Gaggrian Sawjian — Barshi Nallah — Barnara marg — Jamia marg — Jamia gali (15000 ft.) — Gulmarg(Tangmarg).
Poonch to Nandishool via Loran (Sultan Pathri)
Poonch to Yusmarg(Kashmir) via Nurpur gali and Khaara gali :
Poonch — Loran — Sultan Pathri — Nurpur gali — Toshamaidan — Kundlan — Dood Ganga Bridge — Yushmarg.
Poonch to Yusmarg(Kashmir) via Choti gali :
Poonch — Behramgala — Chandimarh — Kabar Pathran — Choti gali(14100 ft.) — Kundlan — Yusmarg.
Poonch to Tatakuti via Hill Kaka and Dhara marg
Poonch to Shopian(Kashmir) via Peer ki gali :
Poonch — Behramgala — Poshiana — Chita Pani — Peer gali(11500 ft.) — Aliabad Sarai — Hierpur — Shupian.
Poonch to Hierpur (Kashmir) via Nandansar lake :
Poonch — Behramgala — Girgen gali — Girgen marg — Panjtari marg — Khuooah — Gumsar — Nandan gali — Glacier — Nandansar lake – -six other lakes — Jaddi marg — Aliabad — Hierpur.
Poonch to Gulmarg via Chor Gali :
Poonch — Sawjian — Gali Maidan — Mangiana — Sari — Chor Gali — Gulmarg.
Picture Credits- Bharat Singh Bhadwal