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Karnah is an administrative tehsil of the Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir, India. It has 58 villages and is 78 kilometres (48 mi) away from the main town of Kupwara.It is a small beautiful valley with green meadows and mountains.It is a very important area for India for its geo-statergic interests.
Karnah lies in the most northwestern part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. On a 78 kilometres (48 mi)-long difficult mountain range pass to the northwest of Kupwara at a height of 10,000 feet is situated Sadhna Gali (the Shams Bri mountain range). After crossing the Sadhna Pass there lies the small valley of Karnah situated at the foot hills of the Shams Bri and Krannu mountains. Before the partition this valley comprised the valleys of Drav, Lipa and Karnah. Its border reached ahead of Farkiyan to the east up to Damaar Gali and to Nalla Qazinaag to the west extending up to the confluence of river Kishan Ganga and Nallah Qazinaag at Jaradah.
Karnah is now a tehsil of Kupwara but is cut off for three months out of every year from the rest of the state due to avalanches at the Sadhna Pass. The population of this tehsil is above 80,000. Most of the governmental offices and main market of the tehsil are at Tangdar village. It has five government higher secondary schools and one government degree college at Kandi village. It has two hospitals but one at Chitterkote awaits opening.It has one Doordarshan High Power Transmitter at Hajinard Bagibela & also one FM Radio Transmitter in the premises of DD-HPT.
This small tehsil suffered the most in the earthquake of October 8, 2005 in which more than a 100 people were killed. The main language spoken in this tehsil is Pahari which is followed by Gujari and Kashmiri. About 70% of the population speaks the Pahari language and the rest speak Gujari, only three villages speak Kashmiri. The population of this tehsil is Muslim except for one village, which represents its secularity; This one village is Sikh.
The main crops grown in this area are paddy,maize and wheat.Paddy is the main crop and is sown over 70% of area,followed by maize which is cultivated on those high altitude lands where water for irrigation is not available.The main staple food of people is rice.
There is indication of human settlement in Karnah valley going back 3,000 years in history. Among the habitats of the valley, the more known are Sharada Shahkot, Phungi Raja, Helwaat, Ashkot, Falakan and Mirpur. Excavation near Dildar village yielded a stone lance, mace, sword and pick-axe which shows the local people were warriors. The ancient people of the locality are reported to be the sun-worshippers.
Like Sati Sar, Karnah valley was also said to be a large lake of water. The present day village of Nichian, Kandi Tangdar, Dildar, Chamkote, Chitterkote and Khaworpara and many more villages adjoining these are located in areas that were once submerged underwater. In olden days Karnah valley was given the name of Bor. Among its areas Jarla was of much importance and situated at the foot of Sadhna Gali. As it was a vast lake, early human habitation took place along the mountain heights. Even today excavation in the heights yield icons, stone statues, a mill, weapons and utensils. In 2009 Khushnaseeb Khan found earthen pots at Naka of Chitterkote.
Once upon a time a raja named Karan dwelt on the mountain Krannu located in the middle of Karnah valley, his palaces, in its ruins, still remain. Local people call the ruins as "Raja Karan Diyan Shaheriyan". This mountain was 7,500 feet above sea level.Some water tanks were builts on these heights reportedly with inside leather coating so that the rain water could be preserved for longer duration in them.Some remains of these tanks are still visible.Again it is reported that Raja Karan had ordered a breach in the mountain at Ari Dal,so that the valley of Karnah was desiccated.Ari Dal gradually degenerated into Hari Dal.A mere look at the aperture shows as if the opening has been made with a carpenter's saw.Nallah Batamage passes through this site today.Along the Batamage Nallah ( small river ) there still exist a rock with some inscription that has not been deciphered so far.Perhaps its dates back to the days of Sharada University or it could be an edifice related to Buddhism.Karnah,therefore assumes its name from the same Raja Karan and the mountain is called Karnav.Keran valley also derives its name from Raja Karan.Between Keran and Karnah lies a track called Rangwor,a part of Karnah valley.In the middle of a large ground,an idol was installed under the order of Raja Karan.Its delicated ruin are still visible and people called it "MEHANDI WALLA BUt",meaning the statue with heena colour.As this is situated at some height the Raja might have used it as a signal tower in his own days.Although Raja's royal palace stood at the top of Kranno mountain,still his blood relations had settled royal house holds at the eastern foot hill of Kranno mountain.They were called "GEUBR",which means fire-worshippers and it is also the reason why the area was given the name of Gabra.
To the north of the valley of Drav was situated the famous Sharda University.This place is situated at the height of 6500 feet above sea level.Today it is called Mai Sharada.A fort had been built close to this university which letter on become a seat for the propagation of Buddhism.Its ruin and the structure of Budda are still to be found at this site.These excavation invite the attentions of scholars.
There are also proof to us the traces of the arrival of Pandavas in Karnah valley in mythological times.On the Nallah Kaji Naag stands a bridge called Pando pull ( Pandav Bridge ) connecting village Taad with Prada.The Pandavas had cut the stone beams for use in building this bridge from Moji forest,but for some unknown reasons,these beams could not be put to use and these still remain at Moji forest.It is believed that during their stay in the Karnah valley,the Pandavas had made some arable land in the Prada forest.These lands are still maintaining their Sanskrit names such as Awarav,Nadri,Thakri,Shakri etc.It is also said that Lord Krishna visited this valley once as he wanted to see the Pandavas.The place where he met them is called Helmet.The river Kishan Ganga got its name thereafter.
During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Karnah was given the status of tehsil with headquarters at Teethwall. Karnah valley suffered the most as a result of partation of the state in the attacks of 1947. Its fertile areas Drav, Sharda, Mirpur, Falakaan in the north and Lipa, Ashkot, Qazinaag to the south were separated from the state and are now known as Landi Patti meaning "narrow strip." Karnah valley was detached from it and shrunk to an area of 11 squares miles comprising the valleys of Teethwall and Gabra.