Sunanghat a picturesque valley
Shiv Kumar Padha
Sunanghat which is spread over Zhenkhar and Ghodel hamlets, is a small beautiful panoramic valley situated at DharMahanpur road at a distance of fifteen kilometers from town Basohli. Sunanghat is one among the old thirteen Tharas (villages) of old Basohli regime. Geographically a Ghat (in pahari language) is a passage through a mountain range which provides easy access through it to the distant places and serves as a window for cool and warm air currents between mountains and planes. Sunanghat is a valley situated in the lap shivalik ranges. The total population of Sunanghat according to revenue records is six thousand. The whole Sunanghat Valley, including the hamlets is spread over 20 sq. kmts. The popular tourist spot of Dhar Mahanpur is about fifteen kmts. from here. Though the road from Basohli to Dhar Mahanpur via Sunanghat has been brought under NABARD scheme since long even then the construction process of the so important road has not exceeded snails pace as a result of which the whole panoramic area remains isolated from the tourist world Sunanghat is a deep well shaped valley surrounded by the tall Cheel trees with good number of steep and horizontal green grass pastures encircled by the thick forests of Cheel, Sheesham and fodder yielding trees. There are plenty of crystal clear water springs from where the whole locality draws water for domestic purpose. Godal village, an adjoining village of Sunanghat, is situated near river Behani which is a life line of Basohli town as the water from this river is piped to Basohli by process of gravity. The houses of the area are both concrete as well as steel sheet roofed.
The main occupation of the natives is agriculture, rearing of milk yielding animals and that of sheep and goats. Sunanghat and its adjoining villages are the milk bowls which fulfil the requirements of milk and milk products like Desi Ghee, Paneer, Kaladian and Khoya of the entire area. A number of pails of milk reach the markets of Basohli, Mahanpur and other nearby villages by local transport in the morning. Ghodal is famous for the Desi wool blankets woven on pit looms. In the absence of irrigational facilities the crops depend upon the rains. The main agricultural crop of the area is maize, Chingen a special and scarce variety of rice which is sweet and creamy in taste. There is one old Pahari saying regarding the specialty of the rice ‘Basna Basolia bhatchingni da khanaTechadi Chambegi Jana’.
Forests and the flora are the chief assets of Sunanghat and its adjoining area. Since the whole valley abounds in Cheel plantation it is the main supplier of the valuable crude resin i.e. a fluid like yield of developed Cheel tree, in the district.Truckloads of crude resin canisters are procured every year from the Sunanghat forests. Natural full size mushrooms and Gooshies (costing Rs.15,000/kilo), Jungle pudina, Peaches, guava, plums and Banaqsha (medicinal herb) are the produce of the valley.
Being situated near the pass (Ghat) and at a level of 750 mts. from the sea level Sunanght is known for its unique and unpredictable weather conditions because it falls in the way of cool and warm air currents emanating as the result of difference in the atmospheric pressure between plains and the hills. The weather of Sunanghat remains pleasant and cool even during the months of May and June because of its being located in the way of air currents which is suitable for sanatorium needed for the patients of tuberculosis and other decaying diseases. The whole valley remains shrouded in the mist during maximum hours of the day. The valley experiences maximum rain fall in the year as compared to other places located at higher altitudes. The valley experiences snow fall every year. It is the belief of the natives that the snow fall during the winter is not considered as complete unless snow comes down to the heights of Sunanghat Valley.
Sunanghat with all the unique and ideal features is a place worth developing into a tourist spot which will be in the favour of the State Government as this will firstly add to the number of tourist places and secondly to the number of tourists in the State. In order to develop Sunanghat in to a beautiful cheap tourist spot the State Government should provide connectivity to Dhar Mahanpur through Sunanghat, construct tourist huts and restaurants for the expected flood of the tourists after the completion of the bridge over river Ravi at Basohli. All the tourists for Srinagar and devotees for Vaishno Devi and Amarnath Shrines will be routed through Basohli which will curtail both the distance and the expances of the tourists visiting tourist places of Jammu and Kashmir.