Atholi Paddar. A Brief Introduction.
One of the most popular and easily accessible villages of Paddar Valley is the village Atholi. It is centrally located and is at the heart of the Sub-Division Paddar.
Atholi, the name is derived from the hindi word of Aath Tol or Eight Families. It was believed that there were only eight families in the begininning that inhabited this village.
Being geographically blessed, Atholi was the hub of financial activities in Paddar long long before Gulabgarh took over. The transition of financial capital from Atholi to Gulabgarh happened much quickly than anyone could anticipate after the road connected the sandy land Gulabgarh.
Atholi hosted some prominent Government institutions during the bygone era such as Police Station, Higher Secondary School, Girls School, Post Office and J&K Bank to quote a few. It will surprise you if i told you that despite the Police Station being entirely shifted to Gulabgarh it still functions by the name Police Station Atholi.
The Post Office that was hosted in Atholi Paddar once upon a time is now shifted to Gulabgarh due to reasons unknown and still goes by the name Post Office Atholi.
Let us focus on the Tourist Spots of Atholi Paddar
Here is a short film made by Aryaveer Singh Manhas focused specially in and around Atholi. Do check out the video to get the visual experience of village Atholi Paddar.
Popular spots in Atholi Paddar to visit in a days time:
- Pathaal Waterfall
- Bangla (A recreation spot in Jungle of Atholi)
- Shachool Jwala Mata Mandir
- Chandi Mata Temple
- A Forest Rest House
All these spots are located in Atholi and can be easily covered in a day’s time. Pathaal waterfall is at distance of short hike from the main link road running across the village. The water running here is used in irrigating the fertile agriculture land mainly paddy fields of the village.
Another spot nearby is a recreation spot nestled amidst the Deodar trees called Bangla. The name is derived from the hut that was present here almost three decades ago. Unfortunately, the hut was burnt down by some miscreants and it no longer exists now.
The short hike will lead you to the Jungle of this village here which also has a Zeera farm. One can spend some quality time here along with friends and family away from the city madness.
Jwala Mata Mandir, Shachool
Besides the recreation spots there is a very famous and ancient temple of Jwala Mata in Atholi located at a hillock. Jwala Mata is considered the Kul Devi of the Village Atholi Paddar and nearby villages of Kundal and Laddar. It takes half an hour on foot to reach the temple from the road and can be really exhausting if you are not used to climbing the steep gradients.
Rest frequently and enjoy the views of this beautiful area and try to absorb the aura of nature as you take the climb. The sights cant be less hypnotic if I must say when you see the Chenab drifting beautifully far below.
The cool wind gushing through the Deodar trees making a swooshing sound as it cuts across giving a heavenly feeling. The breeze feels much cooler and calmer as it dries your sweat from the climb unmatched by the electrical appliances we are used to.
Also Read: Villages of Paddar to Explore this Summer
There are a few fresh water sources called Naag locally on the way to the Shachool Jwala Mata Mandir to quench your thirst. Don’t be surprised if you find people carrying Plastic Galons along; they are here to collect the fresh drinking water and not that they don’t have access to the tap water at home. Fill up your water bottles and experience the fresh water from the mountains as you resume your climb.
The temple complex of Jwala Mata Mandir in Atholi Paddar has a humble area to host the devotees there and it is usually open on Sundays. If you are lucky enough you might be a witness to the Mundan Ceremony or part of any wish that was fulfilled by the Goddess who must have visited here to show his/her gratitude by offering Halwa (Pudding), Puri (Fried Roti) or Rice and Daal which is served as Prasad to the community.
Chandi Mata Mandir
A very large temple of Chandi Mata is located in the village of Atholi. It has a very beautiful idol of Chandi Mata installed here and is highly revered place locally and for the devotees who come here during the Machail Yatra. The temple premises accommodate a lot of pilgrims for their stay during the Yatra and a free Langar (Community Kitchen) runs here which serves 3 meals during the day to every living being that asks for food here. It is a highly recommended place if you visit Atholi Paddar.
Forest Rest House
There is a Forest Rest House in the Village Atholi Paddar which has a beautifully designed hut and garden area maintained by the J&K Forest Department. The stays here are mostly restricted to the Government officials or any high-profile person who gets the permission to stay here. The hut was frequently used by the mountaineers from across the world who visited Paddar to conquer peaks such as Barnaz I (6332m), Barnaz III (5980m), Cerro Kishtwar (6155m).
That’ll be all. If you liked the post don’t forget to share.