Pogal Paristan : The Land of Fairies
Ever heard of it. I am sure not. This is a small Region located in Ramban district and above Banihal in an area which is as unknown as well I dont even have an equivalent. Very few people I know have even heard of this beautiful Region. Of course lying on the borderlands between Jammu and Kashmir divisions hasn't done any favours to this place. I have never been to this place but would probably go next time around. I was planning to go to Spiti as I have never been there but Pogal Parsitan sure sounds better. So when people ask me “Oh you've never been Spiti ? Ill just nod my head and say Oh you've never been to Pogal Paristan ? I would rather go to a place few people go then go to a place where everyone is going.
But the topic today is the place called Pogal and Paristan/ sometimes written as Peristan as well. Pogal and Peristan are both Rivers and they together give their name to this area. As per some Paristan name is derived from the word “Pari” for fairy and hence it meant the Land of Fairies and it is really that beautiful from what I have read and seen. Sargali, Sunseri, GaganTop, Nandigarh, Hans Raj Peak, Sharvadhar and the beautiful Gugli Meadows are said to be some of the places worth visiting here. And the language spoken here is a seperate one called the Pogali which is considered close to Kishtwari and Kashmiri. But the fact that they have developed a dialect of their own speaks about the separate character of this Region.
And going back to the Gazetteer and what it said about these places :
Pogal : The name of a Valley lying towards the South-East end of the Banihal district; its drained by the Sundari or the Pogal stream , which takes its rise on the Southern slopes of the Nandmarg mountain, and flows in a south-westerly direction to a junction with the Peristan stream a tributary of the Bichlari River.
Peristan : The name of a narrow valley lying at the south-east end of the Banihal district. Its general direction is east and west ; the range of mountains on the south side is of considerable elevation, and the slopes are covered with forest; on the north the hills are not so high, and are bare and stony, This valley contains no large villages, but there are numerous hamlets and a considerable amount of cultivation.
.The Peritsan stream, which drains it, takes its rise on the slope of the lofty mountain at the north-east end of the valley, and flowing in a westerly direction, unites with the Sunderi or Pogal stream, above its junction with the Bichlari. The banks are for the most part precipitous, especially on the north side.
It is bridged just west of the Village of Chiuli, and is fordable a little distance above it, and also, it is believed, in other places. The path from Kishtwir to Kashmir, by the Nandmarg pass, crosses the Peristan Valley. It ia used early in the season before the Brari Bal route becomes practicable.
It further mentions the following Peristan which is the name of a Village in the same Valley. A small Village in the Valley of the same name forming part of the Banihal district ; it is situated on the top of a spur above the west side of the Village of Halan.
The inhabitants number two families of Hindu zamindars and a Muslim Blacksmith.
Peristan lies on the Road from Kishtwar to Kashmir by the Nandmarg Pass.
I tried to find a pic of the Region and though I found a few Videos I couldnt find any pic to do justice to the beauty of the Region. So i just post the best pic I could find which is from July 2018. Its from a high Meadow and has Gujjar Dhoks.
Pic from July 2018 (assumed). Pogal Paristan, Ramban District, Jammu Division, Jammu and Kashmir. Photographer unknown.