Away from the noise of half-open markets, this secluded place is visited by flocks of people these days. Having stayed indoors for most of the time during the repeated lockdowns, the visitors find the place rejuvenating to their soul.
Sinthan Top, located some 12,500 feet (3,800 meters) above the sea level, is a plateauing spot midway on the off the beaten Anantnag-Kokernag-Kishtwar road. Though most of the tableland lies towards the Kishtwar side, it is just 72 kilometres from Anantnag district in South Kashmir.
Sinthan Top is the South-East end of the famous Breng Valley, known to have been called Sonsund Preng (The Golden Crown of Kashmir) by Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, the revered Kashmiri saint and Islamic preacher. The place is named after the Sinthan Maidaan, an alpine pasture 24 kilometres from the Top towards the Kishtwar end.
With a 3 hour serpentine and uphill drive from Anantnag, the journey is quite adventurous. While reaching the Top, one passes through equally ravishing places like Kokernag, Daksum and Achabal en route. The places act as good resting places for anyone travelling from Srinagar to Kishtwar or back.
Once you reach the Top, it offers a panoramic view where from you can see areas from both Kashmir and Jammu provinces. One can see endless slopes and vast meadows starting from the Top itself towards the foothills. Remaining draped in snow for most of the year, the place is almost free from pollution but accessible for only the few summer months, with the Top still covered with snow.
Muneeb Ul Islam is a freelance photojournalist based in South Kashmir. All photos are by him.