The tourism sector is the backbone of Kashmir’s economy. There are lakhs of people, of all age groups, who are earning their livelihoods from this sector. Tourism department plays a vital role in generating employment for the unemployed youth and at the same time discovers and develops new recreational places for the native folk and for tourists who came from the different corners of the country and of the globe. Doodhpathri is one of the emerging tourist spots in the Valley. Doodhpathri comprises two words, Doodh which literally means milk, named after the crystal clear water of Shaliganga River, and Pathri which means meadow. Doodhpathri is just 45 km from Srinagar and about 36 km from the district headquarters Budgam. Doodhpathri generates livelihood for the locals of adjoining villages. The name was given to this renowned place by one of the towering Sufi saints of Kashmir, Nund Rishi (RA), commonly known as Alamdar Kashmir among natives of Kashmir. Doodhpathri has been famous among the natives of district Budgam for centuries. Doodhpathri was earlier used for grazing purposes by nomadic people, and still there are mud houses called “Kotha” by the locals.
In central Kashmir’s district Budgam there are other tourist places such as Yousmarg, Charari Sharief (shrine of Sheikh Noor Ud din Wali (RA)) and Tosamaidan. Ich-Gam, Kremshora, Khansahib, Yarikhah are the villages which can be reached via Doodhpathri. There are some other routes as well like via Magam, Beerwah, Arizal, Raiyar, and Raithan, Mujhpathri.
Sotchal (Sochal) Pathri near Doodhpathri is a resting place for visitors. The place is quite picturesque and endowed with the beauty of nature.
The Sukhnag River is located in the lap of Pir Panjal mountains of Parihas Doodhpathri and Sitaharan Khag. Literally, the name of the river comprises two Kashmiri words: Sukh, which means happiness, and Naag, which means spring. The Sukhnag River beautifies and also quenches the thirst of several villages alongside it, villages such as Arizal, Zanigam, and Beerwah. Sukhnag flows into the river Jhelum and is one of its major tributaries.
The Sukhnag River is famous throughout the district. It originates from the upper mountains of the Tosamaidan and beautifies the lush green forest of the place. The Sukhnag River has great potential for tourism and can generate both revenue for the state and employment for the locals. The river is just a 40-minute walk away from the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) at Raiyar-Ich, Tangnar. The tourism department and the district administration Budgam has put in many efforts for the development of the place but it is still lacking in several basic facilities for tourists.
Raiyar-Ich is a picturesque hamlet and resting place for tourists. Raiyar comprises of two Kashmiri words: ‘Rai’ means lost and ‘Yar’ means friend. The name was given to this hamlet by the Kashmiri Sufi saint Sheikh Noor Ud Din Wali (RA). It is said that when he reached the village from the forests of the Pir Panjal, he sent his friends to different parts of Kashmir to spread Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) teaching and he managed to start his journey alone towards the Dreygam cave from here.
The writer is a government school teacher in Khansahib Zone and a native of Raiyar-Ich. [email protected]