Friday, March 25, 2011

Visit to Chicken’s Nest

Mostly people are aware of the Eagle’s Nest – the famous WW-II Kehlsteinhaus or Eagle's Nest, Hitler's retreat in the German Alps near Berchtesgaden. The place is an achalet-style structure built on a sub-peak of the Hoher Göll known as the Kehlstein. It was built as an extension of the Obersalzberg complex by the Germans in the mountains above Berchtesgaden. Eagle's Nest was intended as a 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler to serve as a retreat for Hitler and a state guest house to entertain visiting dignitaries.

But today I will take you to Chicken’s Nest, an area a little north west of the border city of Sialkot which protrudes inside India and is surrounded by India on its three sides. A couple of years back, a friend posted in the area invited to take me to the extreme end of the wedged border post and I readily agreed. So one Sunday, I along with my family went to Marala Headworks first, where our host had arranged a heft lunch for us on the bank of river Chenab. Marala Headworks is built on the Chenab River, as it enters into Pakistan from Indian held Kashmir, near the city of Sialkot to control the water flow downstream Chenab River. Two major water channels the Marala-Ravi Link Canal and the Upper Chenab Canal originate from the headworks.

It was raining that day, which made the visit to this water control and distribution mechanism site rather chilly, yet amusing. Marala Headworks is even otherwise known for its scenic beauty and is a wildlife sanctuary and unprotected wetland.

After the lunch, we started our journey towards the Chicken’s Nest. As one continues to move inside the wedge, the neck starts to close in and on both side of the road are huge earth embankments to ensure protection from observation as well as fire as one is moving with Indian territory and its border posts overlooking from both sides. We passed through villages of Chak Naun, Dera, Luni, Chak Pundra and Chak Pndrah, and finally after a half hour’s journey, came to the last corner of the wedge and of the Chicken’s Nest and to a border post established by Pakistan Rangers.

Watch Tower

Observation Tower by Jalalspages

The giant steel tower, as shown above overlooks deep inside the Indian held Kashmir, and so does a similar tower on the Indian side to look inside Pakistan. The Rangers personnel briefed us about their post and hurriedly made tea and served us with biscuits and pakoras (I will talk of this mouth watering snack in some of my later posts).

It was almost darkness when we reached the place and then when the Indians switched on the security lights which are installed on the barbed wired fence that they have erected all along the border, we suddenly realized how close we were to the border really. The lights were all around us except our back from where we had come – we were in fact surrounded on all three sides by India and mind you very closely. The surrounded looked ghostly and awesome and one really felt as if someone was watching – really watching.

Soon it was pitched darkness; we started our journey back, still surrounded by the security lights which by and by started to move away from us as we moved towards Sialkot. It was for the first time that my children had had a glance of the border from close quarters and the security lights made it easy to follow the border as we headed back.

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Asghar Javed said...

Only 'men t their best' can visit this.

Unknown said...

Interesting journey I must say - must have been quite thrilling