Sinthan Pass

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2014

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At Sinthan Top 12,450 feet. It is 72 kms from Anantnag in Kashmir Valley and 83 kms from Kishtwar in Jammu region. Shall always remember this drive fondly. We visited Oct 2014.

About 22 kms ahead of Sinthan Top is Sinthan Maidan. It is a popular picnic spot and good place to camp in a tent. It was very cold, loved every minute that we spent there. It is high up, lonely but very safe.

We left Budha Amarnath Mandir in Poonch around 10.30 am, took the Mughal Road to reach Anantnag and spent the night at Verinag. We left at about 9 am, the drive from Verinag to the starting point of climb to Sinthan Top was about an hour. This was the first view point.

Deodhar trees all along the drive and this was just the beginning. Before leaving Poonch it was suggested that we reach Kishtwar via Banihal Pass etc. Something within me said no, the route that we took was the one to take.

It had just snowed so mountain tops had fresh ice. We saw very few people all along the route. Not too many vehicles too. Road is closed from about mid November to May.

It snowed as we drove. None of us expected this so was more enjoyable. The car started skidding a bit but sarathi Bishen controlled the car well. If u want a good driver to travel in Jammu region, Valley contact Bishen Sharma 9797350725, 9419896745. Vehicle is well maintained and he drives himself.

Enroute to Sinthan Top the roads was good in most places. Sarathi Bishen had never been beyond Rajouri because tourists mostly go to Vaishnodevi/Patnitop or Valley but even then he did remarkably well.

U see me on a newly laid road. It was getting cooler and cooler as we scaled height. The long sleeve sweater that I bought from UMANG in Raniket, Kumaon kept me warm. To see pics of Umang, a ngo run by hill-women Click here

View from a higher level.

Loved the Deodhar trees.

Deforestation and landslides is a problem faced in most hills, here as well.

U see me with snow in my hands. The last time I had felt snow was in 1995.

Another view - you see it had just snowed.

It is trees that hold the soil together.

Another super view.

Deodhar and deodhar trees.

We were now approaching Sinthan Top. In centre of pic is a small board - i.e. the top.

Valleys, snow, trees changing colors is what greeted us. When we went did not see any tourists traffic, only vehicles of locals. Oct is not tourist season plus this road is not used by many. Wish there was a chaiwala and hot hot pakodas served on Sinthan Top.

As we gained height we saw mountains and mountains and mountains, seemed it was never ending.

Close to Sinthan Top. It had snowed quite heavily here. Loved it.

A view of snow clad mountain next to the road.

View from a height. One of my friends decided to reach the Top by walking from this level as you will see in the next picture.

U can see a person in centre of pic it was him climbing up. I was wearing floaters so did not want to walk on snow but he was more brave.

Approaching Sinthan Top. When we set off in the morning never expected this wow a drive.

This board is at Sinthan Top - sorry to see board broken. From hereon it was downhill. The road uphill was good but road downhill was bad, at time it was stone and mud. Kishtwar is 83 kms.

A view of snow-clad peaks from Sinthan Top.

On the other side was this board. In a deeper sense the difference in condition of the sign boards symbolizes the attitude of the Government to Kashmir Valley and Jammu region. This board is at entry point to Valley whilst the earlier damaged one was to Jammu region.

This road is the starting point to the descent.

Another pic at Sinthan Top.

View of road downhill from Sinthan Top. Note condition of road and curves.

Side view of road.

See the vehicle, this pic took sitting in the car only.

Road amidst snow clad mountains.

At lower level, color of Deodhar trees had begun to change post snow fall.

Somewhere enroute. It is a 6-7 hour drive from Verinag to Kishtwar (app 5,700 feet and area of 7700 sq kms).

At Sinthan Maidan. Boys on left and right of pic run a super Vaishnav Dhaba, we loved the food and ate and ate. Man next to me with a beard runs a non-veg dhabha.

View from Sinthan Maidan. It is called maidan because there is a huge open piece of land where people come for picnics, play cricket and camp. Lovely. To read a travelogue on Sinthan Top Click here

From Sinthan Maidan downwards the road was really bad. We were tired and more focused on the road. Terrain was similar. The river which you see is river Chander Bhaga in Himachal, becomes Chenab in J&K. This pic is about 45 minutes before Kishtwar.

U see Gurudwara Nangali Sahib i.e. about 12 kms from Poonch. To see pictures of Nangali Sahib and Mattan Sahib Gurudwara in Anantnag Click here

Martand Temple in Anantnag. To see pictures of temple Click here