Ki Pahari Bastiyaan
district, reduced in territory, came into existence after 1947. Those areas of
Neelam Valley and Tehsil Karnah, whose streams and nullahs carry waters into
Neelam (Kishan Ganga) river and prior to 1947, formed part of Muzaffarabad
district, now make Kupwara district. It includes the area of Machhil. The Kishen
Ganga valley was completely inhabited by the Pahari speaking people, therefore,
its area now under the control of JK government and in this side of LoC, form
25-30 percent of Pahari population of the district. The inner valleys of
district Kupwara comprise Lolab valley, Kalarus valley, Haihama valley, Katchama
valley and Chowkibal. From times immemorial the regions of Drav (Keran) and
Karnah were accessible through numerous passes (gali), therefore, many Pahari (Hindko)
speaking people crossed the comparatively less high mountains separating Kashmir
valley from Neelam valley and settled down on this side of Kupwara.
same time many people left Kashmir
valley and settled in the Neelam valley. For example there are a couple of
Kashmiri speaking large villages in Khwajisiri, Dudhanyal, Keran, Tangdhar and
Karnah. A few families of Kashmiris will also be found in some other villages.
mountain range from Machhil upto Shamsbari is comparatively of low heights. It
is rocky only from the west of nullah Kachahama upto Shamsbari near Nastachan
Pass, or as it is called Raja Ram Ki Lari (Raja Ram's range). The road passes
through Nastachan pass to enter Karnah valley. This range has many passes
including Machhil pass and Nunwani pass which joins Kalarus with Machhil. From
Kalarus, there is a passage that connects the valley with Sharadaji. It is known
as Sinjli Gali. It is believed that during Buddhist period, it was this Sinjli
pass that connected Kashmir valley with Kishenganga valley. After descending
from Sinjli Gali one enters the Kishen Ganga valley. After reaching the river
bank, one finds Khwajisiri village located on the other side of the river. May
be the Khojas settled there during Buddhist period.
other important places is Mazhama Gali which connects Dudhanyali Gali with
Kupwara and Trehgam. Two important passes called Markian (9200 feet) and
Nastachhin (10200 feet) join Keran and Karnah areas respectively with the
foothills of Chowkibal mountain, the habitats were once under the sway of the
Rajas of Karnah. On both the sides of nullah Kehmil, there are the settlements
of Pahari people as in Timnah, Marsari, Zooneh Reshi, Saffrooda. Chowkibal is
the first stage on this side of Nastachhin pass. The distance from this place to
Karnah is about 20 miles, but during snowfall the road remains closed. In olden
days, this was a foot track. Around Nastachhin pass, we have many large pastures
especially Buda Nambal and Bangas. Karnah herdsmen brought cattle to graze here.
Bangas Bahak (pasture) is located to the east of Shamsbari. This has been the
route of settlers in Uttarmachhi Pora.