Chowgan – Pride of Kishtwar
In the center of the Kishtwar there is a big play ground/ grazing field called Chowgan. Its area is about 520 Kanals or 165 Acres. It is surrounded by Chinar, Deodar and different kinds of trees. It is the main attractive place in the Kishtwar district. On its North their is a big temple called Gori Shanker Mandir and in its south their is a Shrine (Ziyarat) namely Asrar-Ud-Din- Bagdadi. Its ancient name is Goverdhansar which is a beautiful lake in olden days, but with natural crisis all of its water flow down after which it is used for playing and grazing field. This ground is now developed in a modern ground with electric lights and different types of flowers all around it. All live stock ( goat, cow etc.) of Kishtwar area depends much on this ground. Its herbs and grass is very nutritious and useful for animals. Maximum numbers of people are used to walk on this ground in the morning and evening. It touches NH1B towards East and Other link roads towards West. There is also a small helipad / airport on its North. Numbers of villages are surrounded to this playground that adds its beauty. It is about 1500 meters far from the main bus stand of Kishtwar. There are all type of facilities available to reach this place. It touches Dak Bungalow, Kulid from its right side and Bun Astan, Matta and Sarkoot from its left side. This ground acts as intermediate between these places.
It is an eye-captivating lush-green natural ground in 65 hectares of land in the heart of the city. From the times immemorial, “Chowgan” has remained a hub of social and cultural activities and sports. It is the “Chowgan” which has channelized the energies of the youth of Kishtwar and imbibed in them the qualities of sportsmanship like team spirit, fellow feeling, mutual brother-hood, communal harmony and mutual co-existence for which Kishtwar is known throughout the land-locked Doda region. This is why the peace and communal harmony at Kishtwar couldn’t be disturbed during the communal frenzy of 1947, the time of the partition of India when communal riots had erupted all around. The forces of peace and communal harmony are still dominant in this part of the state despite provocations by anti-national element to disturb it.
A part of the Chowgan is being used as an air-strip where in Helicopters and light air-crafts land. The Airport Authority of India is contemplating to construct an airport here to cater to the air-transport needs of the people of this remote area especially in winter when the national Highway from Batote to Kishtwar gets blocked due to land-slides and heavy snow.
Lofty and majestic ‘Chinars” add to the beauty of the Chowgan. some of the Chinars are 100 to 200 years old. The Forest Department has also planted conifers in a trip all around the ground which are also adding to its beauty and making the Chowgan pollution free. The play ground is an ideal place for morning and evening walkers. The “Kishtwar development Authority (KDA)” has taken up some eco friendly construction work for the development of “Chowgan” in the shape of : walling of the Chowgan, a tiled trekking route along the sides of the Chowgan for tourists and the morning and evening walkers and earth filling of ditches and hollow places.
On north-western corner of the ‘Chowgan’ is a place called ‘Char Chinar”. Four tall Chinars have enclosed it. The spot has got historical importance. The Chowgan and the slopes above it are ideal for paragliding. If a Gondola/rope way is constructed from ‘Chowgan’ to ‘Kalam-Sather’.a picturesque spot, 5 kilometers above Kishtwar town, it can prove to be a great boon to the tourists.