There are only a few trips that we can claim to be life-changing. If we reflect deeply, then every journey that we undertake changes us a little bit. Our nomadic evolutionary roots are always calling upon us to embark on a journey into the wilderness, the unknown, the forests, and the uncharted terrains. Having spent most of my life in Delhi amidst the buzzing city life, I often find myself yearning to travel and escape the monotonous passage of life in the city.
While I had already been to Kashmir many times, this time, I decided to explore the Jammu region. My friend, a fellow adventure seeker, recommended Sanget Valley. She had recently been to Skyview by Empyrean, and after returning, kept suggesting the place every time I asked for suggestions. “It’s like a mini slice of paradise. And there is a magical place called Benisang, you have to visit it. It’s like nothing you will have ever seen,” she said. Knowing my friend’s appetite for adventure, I was already convinced. I had made up my mind to embark on a journey to Benisang. So, I decided to pack my backpack and visit Sanget Valley for five days. I found a very lucrative package with Skyview Partner Experience and was able to book a five-day stay with Hotel Forestview.
Given how much Sanget Valley had to offer, I could write a book on my five-day stay there. Never before had I come across a place so alive and vibrant, yet so wild and untouched. The two biggest highlights of my trip were the Skyview experience and my visit to Benisang. Writing about my Skyview experience would take more than a few articles, so I have decided to start by writing about my visit to Benisang first.
Benisang is a lush green valley at a distance of six kilometers from the lower terminal on Chenani road towards a Y fork road leading to Mantalai. Legends say that the wedding procession of Lord Shiva stayed for a night at Benisang, and his bull Nandi was tied with an old Kharak tree near the temple. Benisang is also the meeting place (Sangam) of three sacred rivers, where the holy Devika river comes down from Sudhmahadev to rivers Tawi and Bhrathari — giving it the name Triveni Sangam. It is considered to be among the most sacred places for a holy bath.
With its dense forests, extensive flower-laden meadows and majestic Himalayan mountains, Benisang is an ideal refuge for anyone looking to bask in the glory of nature. The top attraction of Benisang is the meeting point of the three holy rivers, which makes up for a breathtaking view. The area is notable for its scenic views of mountain ranges and green-coloured rivers. There are several trekking trails around Benisang that lead to beautiful breathtaking destinations. The trails are amongst the most beautiful courses to wander about in all of Jammu and Kashmir, offering picturesque views of beautiful mountains. The old hanging bridge across Tawi offers uninterrupted vistas of the entire Benisang valley.
Benisang is also home to a 500-year-old Shiva temple. On the right side of the Sangam point, there are a few more temples, including Thakurdwara temple, Hanuman temple, Vishavkarma temple, Ram Temple, and Ganga Mata Temple. There are bathing ghats on both the banks of the holy river where local people can be seen taking a dip in the mornings and evenings.
After arriving at Sanget Valley and spending a quiet night in my hotel room, I decided I would visit Benisang the following day. I booked a taxi through the hotel, and the driver came to fetch me within 15 minutes at the pick-up point. I was impressed to see the driver wearing a mask and sanitizing his hands before starting the car. The keys turned, the engine roared, and our journey began. The road to Benisang was one of the most breathtaking routes I had ever come across. It was a one-hour journey that consisted mostly of mist-covered verdant glades fixed with Pine and Deodar trees.
The route was besieged by exquisite pine forests on one side and tall, sturdy mountains on the other. En route to Benisang, Imitiyaz entertained me with local folklore and the historical significance of the Shiva temple. I was impressed with his knowledge of the locality. We passed through the beautiful Chennai town and Bai village, cruising quietly with old Bollywood songs playing in the background. I knew we had arrived when I could see an old hanging bridge across the Tawi river.
Benisang was more beautiful than I had imagined it to be. I saw exquisite lush green grassy terrains with a mighty brook flowing in the middle. I could see nomads flocking their endless sheep. There was a chain of mountains as far as one could see and serene greenery all around. My eyes immediately darted to the green river, and I knew I wanted to sit next to it, listen to it. I found a nice spot and let myself relax and take in the breathtaking views around me. It was a dreamlike place, a serene environment that my heart had been longing for. The river had its own stories to narrate in the form of its texture and flow. Sitting there quietly with the river, I had some profound realizations about my life. My head was clear, and my heart was full of joy. In a beautiful way, Benisang made me fall in love with life all over again.