Zero Point at Tithwal

Tithwal or Teetwal village lies in Karnah Tehsil of district Kupwara , Jammu and Kashmir around 82 km from the district Headquarters of Kupwara. A picturesque road from little quaint town of Chowkibal leads to famous NC (Nashta Chun) also popularly called as Sadhna Pass which is the gateway to Karnah. Indian Army and Border roads jointly maintain this road, which is the only means of passage to Karnah Valley. The road further heads down towards the valley with majestic views of mighty Shamshabari ranges till one enters the little township of Tangdhar which is the administrative headquarters of Karnah.

Further ahead about 8 km from Tangdhar lies the village Tithwal which is one of 42 inhabited villages of Karnah tehsil. Located on the banks of river Krishan Ganga which marks the Line of Control between the countries of India and Pakistan, Tithwal is home to about 1000 people who are mainly agriculturists and quietly go about their way of life reminiscing about the glorious past of their dear village. A bridge over Krishan Ganga constructed in 1931 now divides the two countries and populace too who have relatives living on the other side. The village even finds mention in a short story by famous author Saadat Hasan Manto named ‘’The Dog of Tithwal’’ a moving tale of a dog stuck between two armies of India and Pakistan during the 1947 conflict.

Where is Tithwal ?

Located on the banks of river Krishan Ganga which marks the Line of Control between the countries of India and Pakistan across Tangdhar bowl, Tithwal is home to more than 1000 people who are mainly agriculturists and quietly go about their way of life reminiscing about the glorious past of their dear village.

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The village was initially named ‘’Teerath Bal’’ after the holy confluence of Kazinag, also the gateway to the famous Sharda Peeth temple which now lies in Neelam valley, POK and a number of pilgrims from all over India used to make this journey after washing themselves off their sins in the holy waters of Krishan Ganga. The passage of time not only made it ‘’Tithwal’’ from ‘’Teerath Bal’’ but it also emerged as a major center for trade and commerce providing the shortest route for trade for Srinagar to Rawalpindi during modern times and before 1947.

The partition and subsequent war between India and Pakistan in 1947 led to the dawn of new chapter in Tithwal’s history with the Historic Battle of Tithwal being fought here and nearby areas in which two Param Vir Chakras (the highest gallantry award for Indian Army soldiers) was awarded to two Indian Army soldiers Naik Karam Singh and CHM Piru Singh and who later known to be called as ‘’Saviours of Tithwal’’. The populace of Tithwal also displayed their courage and bravery and fought hand in hand with the Indian Army against barbarism of Pakistan Army and Pakistan sponsored terrorism. No wonder, the victory is celebrated every year on May 23 as Tithwal Day with great zeal and enthusiasm.

The people of this historic village now speak of their glorious history with older generations telling stories of their visits to Muzzafrabad and booming trading centers to younger generations who listen with uttermost attention and feel proud of belonging to this historic land. The village further bore the brunt of an earthquake in 2005 which added to the already existing agony of living in constant cross border firing from across which caused a great loss of life and property. Tithwal was subsequently adopted by the Indian Army as a ‘’Model Village’’ and rehabilitated with construction of a school and amenity centers providing much needed relief to the people. The long standing demand for widening of road near Tithwal has also been completed by the Indian Army providing access of trucks with essential commodities to the population. The recent declaration of cease fire between India and Pakistan has also bought smiles to the village with no danger of living in constant fear of firing from across. The younger generation now with access to better education and connectivity have started moving to different parts of India in search of employment and better opportunities but the elders still reminisce in memories of their historic land and are happy in place they call home.

Tithwal now stands at a juncture where the constant thundering of guns now stands silenced and dawn of a new era of peace has its beginnings. The potential for tourism has no better time to be boom than now. The long and glorious history and the new concept of border tourism like many other states of the country need to develop into a calling which will draw tourists from all over India. The historic foot bridge with mesmerising views of the revered Kishen Ganga can be a landmark which the tourists will carry an image of for their lifetime. The haunting landscape of Karnah combined with the historic legacy of Tithwal can be an irresistible tourism package which can enhance both cultural and economic development of the region.

The seeds of new era seems manifesting with the recent chain of social media influencers and digital content creators visiting Tithwal and sharing their experiences with the world. The world is talking of Zero Point? Why not drive to Tangdhar this summers to find out! Do carry a bag to take back organic produce for family and folks back home.

Digital Content Creator, Yash Rane backpack trip to Tithwal in November, 2020

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