Kokernag in Anantnag
Situated at a high altitude of 2000 m above the sea level, Kokernag is a small town at a distance of 24 km from Anantnag. It is specifically famous for its fresh water natural spring with curative properties and exquisite flora of its well laid gardens. The famous spring of Kokernag has its mention in ancient inscriptions like Ain-i-Akbari due to its ability to quench thirst and heal problems related to indigestion.
It surges out from the foothills of a densely forested hill in Brenghi Valley. This stream of water further disburses into several channels which make the formation of hen’s claws. Koker is a Kashmiri term meaning Chicken and Nag is a word from Sanskrit meaning springs. It is from here that this town derived its name so.
Legends of Kokernag in Anantnag
Kokernag is a prominent destination in Kashmir Valley with its mythological and historical values. The gardens blossomed with fragranced flowers of numerous varieties are a visual treat and offer a rejuvenation in the tranquil of this beautiful location. The earlier name of this place was Bindoo Zalangam but it was later changed. There are many ancient legends related to the fresh water spring originating in Kokernag and to its etymology as such.
One such legend goes on to the ancient times when a saint or Gushwami visited this place with a bucket in his hand. He was resting here when some women spotted his bucket of water. Since these women were in quest of drinking water and came from the nearby thick woods, they were tempted towards this bucket of saint. The saint was fast asleep so, they opened the lid of bucket but to their amaze; they found a snake instead of water inside it.
That snake crawled out of bucket and soon after, it changed into chicken which is called Koker in local language. It started digging the soil with its paws and at all such places where it dug, water bubbled out in form of small springs. This whole incident took place in the dream of that saint while he was sleeping while legends held that this gushing out of water stopped soon after he opened his eyes otherwise the whole area would have flooded that day. This is how the name of kokernag was anointed to this place.
Places of Attraction in Kokernag
Kokernag has a total area of 300 kanals. Out of this, 129 kanals of its landscape is covered with lush gardens and rest of the area is under forests. Apart from being home to the largest spring of Kashmir valley, it beholds several other places of natural and historical relevance in its arena. Though, this spring also called Papshudan Nag, is its biggest landmark. The main tourist spots of this hilly town are:
Papashudan Nag in Kokernag:
It is the most popular and revered spot for tourism in Kokernag. The medical properties of this spring are venerated since ages. It finds its citation in earlier scriptures as well. The water of this largest spring in Kashmir valley possesses curative powers to heal digestion related issues and hence, many sick are still brought to this place for remedy. This spring comes out of a thickly forested hill covered with pines and thus, it also features a scenic location. This spring forms a beautiful waterfall which is a panoramic spectacle for the onlookers.
Botanical Gardens of Kokernag:
The Botanical gardens of Kokernag are also known as Pleasure Garden due to their pristine beauty and scenic locales. It was earlier laid in an area of 0.8 hectares against the picture perfect milieu of pine forests on a hilly terrain. Later, in year 1969, the area of this garden was expanded to cover 26 hectares of land. This whole area was adorned with lush foliage including ornamental plants, tropical plants, trees, shrubs, and roses along with the wild flora of Kashmir valley.
There are more than 1 lac varieties of diverse flora in this Pleasure Garden. With passing of time, the garden was further infused with modern effects including Japanese bridges, rosary, water ponds, live garden seats, and topiary work. Due to its splendid ambiance and spring within its premises, this garden is a popular attraction in Kokernag thronged by tourists all through the year.
Kokernag Rose Garden:
At the heart of Brenghi Valley, is located the world renowned Kokernag Rose Garden. The garden brims with the most exotic varieties of flowers, primarily, the roses. The unending plateau of Kokernag is laden with numerous flowers that depict the deep penchant of Mughals towards the fragranced fresh roses.
Here, rose farming is also promoted by the state government for trading purposes. This garden allures hordes of tourist from around the world to witness the enchanting varieties of roses like musk roses, shrub roses, china roses, climbing roses, miniature roses, and garden roses that blossom in Kokernag Rose Garden.
Activities in Kokernag
Trout Fishing in Kokernag:
Kokernag is well known for its trout streams. These streams are comprised with trout of both brown and rainbow species. Kashmir Trout Hatchery Department has developed many small pools to rear trout in them. These trout are sold locally to the tourists and also for making sumptuous dishes from it.
Camping in Kokernag:
Kokernag is an excellent location for camping as well. There are many camp sites located in this small town from where trekking can be done to the steep slopes of Daksum towards Sinthan Pass at an elevation of 3784 m above the sea level. Trekking can also be done to other nearby areas from this place.
How to Reach Kokernag from Anantnag
Kokernag is well connected to Anantnag through road routes. Travelers can take this route quite easily and comfortably as many buses and taxis ply between these two places at regular intervals. There are well laid out roads of National Highway 1A and 1B that connects Kokernag to Anantnag and other major cities of Jammu and Kashmir. The distance from Anantnag to Kokernag is 24 km and it takes approx 30 minutes to reach there.
National highway 1A follows the route from Srinagar and passes by Sheer Pora and Doni Pawa before reaching Kokernag. If you wish to travel by rail, then Anantnag Railway station will be the nearest junction for Kokernag at a distance of 28 km. You can either take a state run or private bus from Anantnag station or hire taxi to Kokernag. If you approach from other major cities of state, then also, road transport is easily available for this place.
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