When your expectations are low because everyone says there isn’t anything to see in a small, dusty town called Akhoor, you hide behind your sunglasses and nod off.
You instead look forward to sampling the flavours of the sprawling Jammu City next door, perhaps launch a pilgrimage to the Vaishno Devi Shrine.
Till your eyes light upon the blue- grey waters of River Chenab, its whooshing sound turning into a steady roar, nudging you awake, taking your breath away.
You stumble upon the remnants of the old Akhnoor Fort, its walls bearing testimony to the time gone by. Standing on its rampart like the rulers of the past, you savour the panoramic view of the rippling and gushing Chenab. In the face of this unexpected beauty, one could almost ignore the encroachment, the new construction creeping all around.
Awake and charged with anticipation, you follow a tiny signpost to the Prachin Pandav Gufa, seeking the ancient cave and the idol supposedly carved by the mighty Pandavas themselves.
The garishly coloured pink exterior for a moment stop you in your tracks but you plough on. They hold the elusive cave within.
Expectations collapse as the ancient gets a quiet burial under modern alterations. The cavern is very wide, it is electrified, the floor tiled, its roof still rough but high.
As you walk away, bowing to the beautiful idol like the countless before you, the priest solemnly gesticulates to the stone slab at the corner of the entrance.
“Did you see Lord Krishna’s foot impression on the stone? He used to visit the Pandavas while they were here.”
The lines between myths, history, reality, blur, the stories passed on from generations move to the next.
Akhnoor has serendipitously become magical.
And not so Quiet Flows River Chenab.
The Road Ahead.
I Capture The Castle.
A Dog’s Purpose.
The View From Castle Rock.
Welcome To Harmony.
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