Exploring Uri: A Hidden Winter Wonderland Off Beaten Path

Nadeem Khawaja Uri
Srinagar November 21 (KNS): Kashmir Off-Road, India's premier off-road adventure and overland outfit on its weekend trip made it to the pleasant mountains of North Kashmir’s Uri in Baramulla District. 

After securing permission from, Forest department, Indian Army and J&K Police, managed to procure all the necessary requirements to enter the Uri area, to turn the trip a successful adventure. 

This winters season skip the treacherous drive across the tunnels, to Jammu or to mainland India to escape the harsh climate. Drive down to Uri (Baramulla). Not so far away, yet so warm and cozy. 

Farah Zaidi (Co-founder/ Dir PR Kashmir Off Road) says that when I heard that this time around we would be travelling to Uri, the first thing that came to my mind was the namesake bollywood movie. Considering the fame and hype to the same, I was expecting the place to be way too developed and taken care of after the recognition it garnered (of course because of the movie). But in reality, the story was a lot different.

Uri town/tehsil is a narrow valley situated in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is located on the left bank of the Jhelum River, about 10 kilometers east of the Line of Control with Pakistan. This not so developed rather remote in many urban ways town is scattered all across Pirpanjal mountain range.

After getting hit by the first sudden bout of harsh winters this season, early on this chilly 11th November morning, we with the rest of our Kashmir Off Road club members started to drive to this ‘virtually’ famous place named Uri. Like I mentioned earlier, I was expecting the place to be one of the most sought after and tourist rich and friendly due to movie fame. But only through the process of our travel plans we made to realize that the place is not just far from any active tourist approach, the locals were rather skeptical of having any outsiders as guests or were ready to use their abodes for our ‘home-stay’ purpose. Reason being, they have never had to a chance to do so.

Like all other border towns, visiting Uri demanded extensive permission procedure and protocols to follow. We would like to thank the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department, Mr Parvaiz Ahmad Wani DFO J.V Division, Indian Army and J&K Police, we managed to procure all the necessary requirements but with a lot hustle.

Embarking on an overland adventure into the heart of Kashmir's winter wonderland, our two-day journey through Uri promised to be an unforgettable exploration of natural beauty, cultural richness, and the untamed spirit of the region.Click Here To Follow Our WhatsApp Channel

Day 1: A Trail of Wonders

The expedition kicked off at the Lower Jehlum Hydle Project Bridge in Gantamulla. The sturdy structure, standing resilient against the winter chill, marked the beginning of our offbeat journey. The Canal Road, flanked by autumn trees, guided us towards our next destination—the Lower Jehlum Hydle Project Dam, situated near the Bimiyar Reservoir. 

Our wheels rumbled into Gingle, a picturesque village that seemed frozen in time. Here, the weather was way pleasant and warmer compared to the rest of Kashmir. We pressed on to Dara Gutliyan village for a hearty breakfast; the warmth of local hospitality melted away the chill in the air.

Bosiyan awaited, a village surrounded by nature's amphitheater, inviting us to marvel at its simplicity and beauty. Our overland journey continued through Bosiyan to Gawashar, each turn revealing a new facet of Uri's rugged charm. Chidiyan, the last village in the Zamboor Pattan area, welcomed us with open arms and a steaming cup of tea. As we sipped, surrounded by snow-clad peaks, we realized the potential Uri holds as a winter tourism destination, offering a warmer alternative to the rest of Kashmir.

The sun dipped below the horizon as we navigated our way to the Bandi rest house. Nestled amidst the gorgeous autumn hued landscapes, it served as our haven for the night, a refuge echoing with tales of Uri's mysteries and charm.

Day 2: Unveiling Hidden Treasures

The next morning sun kissed vibrant terrain as we revved up our overland vehicles for the second leg of our journey. Kaman Aman Setu, a bridge symbolizing unity, awaited our exploration. The drive to Isham Village and its surrounding areas offered a glimpse into the untamed beauty of Uri in winter—a landscape that held the promise of becoming a haven for winter enthusiasts seeking a unique experience in the region.

Returning to Bandi for lunch, the local flavors tantalized our taste buds, providing a perfect interlude before our visit to the Datta Temple. The spiritual ambiance of the temple, coupled with the grandeur of Uri's winter backdrop, created a lasting impression on our souls.

As we reluctantly bid farewell to the tranquility of Uri, we couldn't help but contemplate the region's potential for winter tourism. Uri's warmer temperatures compared to the rest of Kashmir, combined with its untouched landscapes, make it a hidden gem for overlanding enthusiasts and winter wanderers seeking an escape into nature's embrace.(KNS)

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