By K S Correspondent
Among several less explored destinations, Naranag is one that is yet to attract tourists in hordes and remains nature loves site so far. Located in north-eastern district of Ganderal, Naranag is 8km away from Kangan.
Those associated with trekking and adventure sports, Naranag has always been a base camp location to go up to Mount Harmukh. It is 6 km upstream of river Sindh. For trekkers, Harmukh, located at 16,870 feet, is a paradise with terraced ponds and flowing tributaries.
The gushing waters of Wangath and Gangabal Lake are two main attractions for picnickers and Trekkers. It is a one day trek to Gangabal and meadows and flowing waters provide natural setting for camping and fishing.
The trek from Sonamarg to Gangabal, culminating at Naranag is very popular. There are innumerable places that are not lesser in beauty than fantasy lands. Clear water lakes on top of the mountains reflecting perfectly all the shades of blue sky over it is simply magical. If you happen to travel to Naranag, then it would be a mistake not to miss such sights that are located atop the mountains.
There is a stream that flows besides the monuments, fed by glaciers and the Gangabal Lake situated high up in the mountains. The mountains are uninhabited, except the local tribes called Gujjars who take their cattle to graze on the terraces.
Naranag is also a base for the trekkers to Gadsar Lake, the Vishansar Lake and the Krishansar Lake. It takes 5 to 7 days of trekking. There are also many other peaks and alpine meadows around the NaranagValley. In the winters, Naranag receives heavy snowfall, on which skiing is practiced.
It lies in the foothills of Pir Panjal range, which extends south east to connect with other popular trekking points. One of the most breathtaking moments are felt higher up where the magnificient Gangabal Lake is present.
Naranag is also a wonderful camp site. There is just one hotel, inexpensive one and with very few rooms. Travelers often carry their tents and other equipment as most of them are interested to go way up.
The beauty of Naranag lies in the fact that it is desolate, except for the luxuries of nature. As you ascend, there is tranquility and even the murmur of stream vanishes at many places. According to some reports a unique specie like raccoons have been sighted.
The Naranag temple is the main attraction for the tourists. It is one of the important archaeological sites of the country. The site consists of a cluster of temples facing each other at a distance of about 200 meters. Historians say that the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva by the 8th century ruler Lalithdatiya muktadiya. It is believed that the king Awantivarman paid a visit and donated a pedestal for bathing at Bhutsher. Its architecture reveals the art of the 8th century.