Basohli-Ideal location for Bollywood
Shiv Kumar Padha
The moment one places his first step on threshold of Basohli, the gateway of Jammu and Kashmir, the entire stretch of picturesque and charming landscapes from Shivaliks at Basohli to junior or sub-Himalayas of Bani is unveiled. The region enroute Basohli and Bani is an ideal one for trekking and mountaineering expeditions and also for Bollywood to shoot films and other TV serials. The hills and mountains are covered with thick forests and the peaks clad with snow from which small brooks and the rivulets originate producing the rattling noise in the calm environment. The cascades of water, stair like farms, waterfalls and rich flora-n-fauna are enough to capture in the celluloid.
Basohli town as well as the entire Tehsil has as many beautiful and attractive tourist places and the spots as can attract attention of tourists having different tastes and liking. The 88 Sq Km water reservoir Ranjeet Sagar Lake passing below famous Atal Setu presents provide events like water-sports, boating, surf riding, para-sailing, boat racing etc. The world-famous Basohli palace, the wonder of the east and Purthu beach which resembles with one in Goa is the attractions available at Basohli. Sanan Ghat, Dhar Mahanpur, though, located at lower altitude of Shivaliks exhibit temperate type of climate throughout the season. These places, though located at hand shaking distance from Basohli are very charming and attractive. Due to the thick forests of Cheerh, they are rich source of enjoyment for the local and the people from adjoining states. The cascades of water and the stare type farms present a mesmerizing view. The entire region from Basohli to Bani is gifted with rich potential by the bountiful nature which can cater to Bollywood to the desired level. Bestowed with natural beauty and climatic variations ranging from equatorial to temperate, whole Bani Tehsil is considered as a unique geographical entity and occupies an important place among tourist places in Jammu region. Entire Bani Tehsil is hilly which abounds in sights rich in natural beauty. Sarthal, Lowang, Bani town, Dhagar, Chaladhar, Banjal, Rolka, Jaurian Mata and a terrain extending from Sarthal to Kailash are worth mentioning having mesmerizing beauty and rich tourist potential. Ever-green tall waiving deodar trees, forests of Cheerh and Padtal, crystal-clear water and cool breeze, streams and brooks, springs and cascades, snow clad mountains, green pastures, vast stretches of water and snow, and the verdure, enhance the beauty of Bani. Owing to natural beauty, Bani is counted among the most important tourist places of Jammu Province. Doubtlessly, the whole Bani Tehsil is bestowed with enormous beauty by the nature but there are such places as excel in natural beauty in comparison with the one located in other parts of state. Banjal Gala is at a distance of 44 Km from Basohli on the old Basohli-Bani road and is situated at the peak of a hill 1980 meters above sea level. Perhaps Banjal forest is the only one in Jammu region which has got so vast stretch of oak trees (Banj trees). Fascinated by beauty of Banjal, its springs of water, thick grooves of oak trees and lush green pastures, the British Government of the time selected Banjal suitable for sanitariums and tourist spots. Sat Seer is a famous water fall near Kardoh on Basohli Bani road. Other places like Sarthal Daggar, Jaurian Mata, Chala and Siara are places which have got immense potential to serve to the Bollywood. There is no exaggeration if I consider Basohli and Bani not second to any other place within entire UT, considered as heaven on the earth. With vast stretch of crystal clear water of RSD, construction of Atal Setu, network of connectivity and formation of the beaches and lagoons as a result of backwaters, Basohli has become a center for tourists of different tastes. It is pertinent to mention here that in addition to shooting of Hindi feature film Gadar, featuring Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel, dozens of TV serials, video-song albums and pre-wedding albums are shot daily in and around Basohli. Now, it is for Bollywood to select cheap, safe, beautiful and nearest location for them or go for costly, distant and hazardous places of UT when every facility, both qualitative and quantitative, is available at cheaper rate at Basohli and Bani. Basohli tourism invites Bollywood to shoot and complete their films at a new and panoramic location Basohli.