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Ghora Gali (The Horse Pass) sounds like the name of a specific place. But in Pir Panjal mountains of Jammu & Kashmir it is a generic term that indicates a fascinating feature that is a relic of a bygone time. Dotting the landscape in the most unexpected sites are countless (because nobody seems to have counted them so far!) striking sculptures of warhorses and horsemen that date back to an unknown age.
This is the general area:
The horses are unfailingly found to be poised at some pass that lies on a foot or cart track. Fantastic stories about they being cursed creatures of some mythical age are told.The sculptures are also said to date back to Mahabharata period. However, I am personally not sure about their origin. Dispassionately thinking, one is inclined to conclude that they are no more that navigational landmarks for convoys of traders and warriors who used to pass over these inhospitable mountains regularly once upon a time.
Most of the horses now lie in a state of utter neglect. Many are lying broken into pieces. It is not uncommon to find, in a remote mountain village, a broken horse serving as a washing stone outside a hut.
The reasons for this are not far to seek. Firstly, advent of motorable roads has obscured these old routes of travel and thus rendered the horse sculptures obscure. Secondly, the population in this area has now turned almost entirely Muslim and these ‘Hindu’ artefacts are probably considered distasteful.
Horsemen near Jamsalan village along Gool – Mahore road. This place is not connected road and takes about an hour’s walk to reach. The blue tint is on account of the rainy mountain weather and also camera settings I forgot to change.
Stone sculptures at Ghora Gali are believed to have been personally sculpted by the Pandavas during the age of Mahabharata.
Ramban, located in the lap of Pir Panjal range of the mighty Himalayas, is a beautiful combination of magnificence, tranquility and a quiet retreat. Meadows, snow-capped Pir Panjal mountains and the gently rolling Basantadar ridge creates a breathtaking panoramic view.
Nature lovers get drawn to the pristine rustic charm Gool has to offer, and Ghora Gali is one major part of it. Ghora Gali is an ancient sculptural marvel situated in village Gool on Gool-Sangaldan road 50 km from district headquarter Ramban and 200 km from Jammu.
A treasure-trove of large stone sculptures spread in 4-5 kanals (area), the relics is houses are believed to be personally sculpted by the Pandavas during the age of Mahabharata. The art work on these stones is very fine and depicts a high form of artistic skill of the time. Even after thousands of years, the art on these sculptures remains absolutely explicit.
It is believed that wherever the Pandavas stayed in district Ramban or Reasi, they continued the work of stone engraving, which is why similar types of sculptures are found at Gadi Nalla and Nar area of Tehsil Gool and Sildhar area of district Reasi near Mahore. But to reach all these places, one has to undergo a trek through sloppy hills.
The sculptures of Sildhar have different folk tales associated with them. The evidences and stories connected with these places are an expression and insight into the traditional beliefs, customs and stories of a community, passed through generations by word of mouth.The site also houses broken parts of sculptures. Besides this, water openings are found in the graven stones. This place was once major source of drinking water flowing through these stone outlets, but at present, a few wells are the source of water in this area.
Ghora Gali, one of the ancient sculptural marvels located in the lap of Pir Panjal range in the Ramban district is quite an amazing place for the people to visit. History enthusiasts can reach up to this place to gain knowledge about history and geography of this place. Location Ghora gali is situated at a distance of about 50 km from district headquarter Ramban and 200 km from Jammu. The area is stretched upto 4-5 kanals and the present sculptures are believed to be sculpted by the Pandavas during the age of the Mahabharata. Connection with history Sculptures speak volumes about the artistic skills of the sculptors. As per the legends, the Pandavas stayed in district Ramban or Reasi and continued stone engraving which defines the similarity of sculptures found at Gadi Nalla and Nar area of Tehsil Gool and Sildhar area of district Reasi near Mahore.
Daradas were a people who lived north and north-west to the Kashmir valley. This kingdom is identified to be the Gilgit region, in the Gilgit-Baltistan region (part of ancient Baloristan) along the river Sindhu or Indus. They are often spoken along with the Kambojas. The Pandava hero Arjuna had visited this country of Daradas during his northern military campaign to collect tribute for Yudhishthira's Rajasuya sacrifi
Daradas in Kurukshetra war Daradas had also participated in the Kurukshetra war fought between the Kauravas and Pandavas. They are variously listed with Sauviras, Bahlikas, Shakas, Yavanas, Pahlavas, Paradas, Kekayas, Kambojas, Madras, Mlechcvhas, northern and westerner tribes etc
Horses of Daradas Brahmanda Purana refers to the horses from Darada country