Bandipora: Physically cut-off from the world due to roads blocked by snow, the remote Gurez valley connected to the world by virtual means on Saturday as locals broadcast the mesmerising snowfall on live videos and pictures on social media.
Winter season is usually the beginning of the months-long isolation of Gurez, with roads buried under snow and staying that way until the arrival of spring. People here describe the valley in this season as a fairyland, into which the world does not intrude.
That is no longer so. The valley has become connected with 4G mobile internet, a feather in the cap that people flaunted on Saturday, by streaming live their white wonderland to awe-struck spectators across the globe.
As soon as the snow began to fall on Friday night, photographs and videos were up on social media. By morning, the whole valley was draped in a thick snow blanket.
From Mastan, a village near Dawar in the centre of Gurez, a Facebooker went live, streaming the snow-covered scene to friends worldwide. Comments soon appeared from people of his native village who are now living elsewhere. One of them, Sam Hussain, wrote: “I really miss my valley.” Others remarked that the scene and the “silence” were amazing.
Videos were also streamed from the most elevated pass in the region, the Razdan Top, situated at more than 11,000 feet. Abu Usman streamed a video live on Facebook from here while being stuck in stopped traffic. In the video he offered advice to people travelling on roads to carry eatables and warm clothing.
The Bandipora-Gurez road was closed on Friday following heavy snowfall on Razdan Top. The road will be opened only after the snow is cleared by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the district commissioner had said on Friday.
With Gurez witnessing heavy snowfall on Saturday, the Sub Divisional Magistrate issued an avalanche warning and advised people to not venture out in avalanche-prone areas. On Saturday a minor avalanche was reported at Tulail in Gurez. The authorities here said that machinery was put in use to clear the Tulail-Dawar road which was blocked by the avalanche.
Moderate to heavy snowfall was also witnessed in the plains of Bandipora district, following overnight rain. The higher reaches were draped in thick snow and the temperature had come down to a chilling point.