Monday, September 22, 2014

Aabi Guzar Gone

Aabi Guzar
Water Way Octroi
Francis Brunel, 1977


In around 2010, when my father got posted to Srinagar, I forced him to buy a cheap point-and-shoot camera so that he would send me photographs of Kashmir, the places he saw. Every couple of months we would meet in Jammu and he would show me the photographs. Among the photographs was a photograph of this beautiful old building that stood out. He told me in old days 'Aabu Guzar' was the toll collection point for the goods leaving and entering Srinagar city via the river.


2010. 
Over the years, I started coming across photographs of the place in old travelogues. Having never been to the place, the sight of the place in an old book became a thing of little joy for me. Earlier this year when I visited Srinagar, the thought of finally visiting the place did occur to me, but it was winter, the water levels were low, it would not have been a pretty sight, I told myself, 'Next time when the water levels are higher.'

This old building is now gone, destroyed in the flood of September 2014.

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6 comments:

  1. Saw your post on FB on this and read all the comments. It is sad. But there is one similar structure way down the river, within the city, bit grand and may be older, and still standing, confirmed it before writing. Not a toll booth and on right hand side the way River flows. Can you tell ??? Dinesh

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    Replies
    1. Yes Sir, Actually an annex where the care taker Sadhu used to live. Also used by summer Sadhus.
      this temple also has a Mughal theme garden complete with water fountain canal and a cascading water fall which used to empty in a huge tank also with fountains, which was fully functional till our exodus. Water was bought up from and sent back to River.
      Now don't break my heart. Dinesh

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    2. The Sadhus used to stay at Maisuma temple. This is going to be torture if I am wrong because you do realize my knowledge of geography of Kashmir comes from only text and not experience.

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    3. Never my intention. Rather hate the game.
      This is Ram Temple near Safakadal, opposite Janambhoomi shrine of Roopa Bhawani - not to be confused with Roopa Bhawani temple some 500 meters up river same side ( also my school Vidhya Bhawan.) It is bang opposite where one of the flood canals meets the River; the one you will notice near SMGS Hospital in Nawa Bazar. This was one of the grandest temples in city, sadly fallen on bad times due to slow but steady migration of pundits to suburbs and the gone fortune of Dhars who used to patronize it. Few sadhus used to stay during summer time, beside the one who stayed full time. Garden I mentioned was over grown by that cursed weed lovingly called Soy by Kashmiris. From across the River, Temple along with this annex presented a majestic view.
      The inevitability of Time. Dinesh

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    4. Great, this is the Ram Temple where Chattabal would go. I have a faint memory of it. Thanks.

      [I have had my unfair share of Soy Shalakh from nani :) ].

      Delete

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