Dying Waters of Shairbagh Anantnag

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A call for the restoration of its lost glory

By Hilal Ahmad Bhat

SHAIRBAGH is one of the important places in the Valley of Kashmir and lies in the heart of Anantnag town in South Kashmir. The name of the town itself dipicts that it is a land of many springs. Shairbagh has many gardens and springs inside it. It is known as a place of communal hormony. One can see masjid, temple and guruduwara side by side there. It is a place of tourist destination as well.

However, the present condition of shairbagh and springs inside it is abysmal. Once clear, the waters now stink and are unclean. These waters which saw a thriving aquatic life earlier, hardly have a single fish swimming through it. The gardens of the Shairbagh are also almost always silent, empty and desserted.

In the last decade or so, this beautiful place has lost its glory and charm. Though many a times some repairing was done but it was inconsequential and in some ways worsened its condition. The banks and depths of springs were fitted with tiles, while ignoring the nature of water that would flow there. These springs contain sulphur.

With the passage of time the sulphur containing water statred producing muddy weeds in the depths of springs because of tiled floors and absence of gaps ,thereby constraining and contaminating the flow of water. There should have been sand slit and stones in the depths of waters of these spring as was in the past to keep the flow of water crystal clean.

These springs would often invite many youth who would take a dip or two in its clean waters during summer seasons. With the condition of water now, such indulgences seem like a far cry. Not so long ago, one could see crowds of people in the parks of shairbagh. Even tourists from other districts who who used to be on a trip to Pahalgam or other Mughal gradens of district Anantnag used to have stay and a cup of tea in the Shairbagh on their way back home.However, now, the situation is completely different. Neither the tourists nor the locals acknowledge the presence of these desolate gardens.

This famous and beautiful place is losing its charm and glory now. If steps are not taken to restore its glory and charm, this famous place will soon become history and we would be forced to mourn in regret. We’d then say, “Once there was a beautiful place called Shairbagh”

  • The author is a teacher

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