According to science, wetlands act like lungs of ecosystem. Hokersar, one of the largest wetlands of Asia spreading over 14 sq kms of area with borders connecting Murgund, Saibug and Hygam is considered to be heaven for migratory birds that includes ducks of different breeds. These breeds migrate to kashmir from harsh winters of Siberia and Alaska, mainly for breeding.
This was a small introduction of Hokersar.
The best part is that this heaven is just a km away from my home and when it is snowing i dont think there is anything better than Hokersar. It looks serene and you can actually connect with the nature. It has been my routine from past 10-12 years, whenever it snows and if i am home, i will wake up in the morning around 6-7 am. I wear proper clothes and start walking throughout the stretch of hokarsar i:e from hmt towards Narabal. This stretch is around 6 kms it will take around 2 hours roughly. You will definitely feel exhausted and naive at time but trust me fellas at the end it is all worth it because the experience is completely different.
You will witness few rural villages on the right side of the bund and on the left there is actually nothing as the construction on that side is not legal. One of the main villages is Gund Hasi Bhat. I guess that village has more domestic ducks than humans and they are really beautiful.
When people visit kashmir, they tend to visit places which are high on priority list and highly advertised. I do agree that these places are beautiful but then if you really want to get to the roots, you should visit places which are unaltered, least known and in their natural state. Hokersar is one of them. Amazing kashmir willow trees, Russian poplars, some other breeds and marsh.
If you are lucky and patient enough you might spot some of those rare migratory ducks.
Now, if you really want to visit this place you can drive from your said hotel or home whatever it is. Just 9 kms from lal chowk, you have to take the route towards Gulmarg and after crossing Shaltang chowk, drive for another 10 minutes you will be at the entrance of Hokersar.
BEST TIME TO VISIT :- you can visit in summer or winter whatever your preferences are. I personally like it in winters more. But whenever you come try to be there in the morning. By morning i mean 6-7 am, then only you will witness that magic.
One more thing i want to add here is poaching. Although i dont know who are the officials there but even after the ban, poaching is still going on in Hokarsar and if anybody denies it, trust me he is lying. People over there are doing things openly. They are paying the bribe to the local authorities and they turn blind in their regard. If you go there in winters you will find people with their riffles openly shooting those poor birds. This needs to be stopped and we have to do something about it.