The Tragedy of Sadhna Top: A Tale of Forgotten Lives

Suman Lone/Tangdhar

“Nature can be both beautiful and cruel, and Sadhna Top is a testament to that duality.”

Nestled in the heart of the Karnah Valley, Sadhna Top is a picturesque mountain pass that holds a darker history. Standing at an elevation of 10,000-11,000 feet, Sadhna Top is the only connection between the people of Tangdar Karnah and the rest of Jammu and Kashmir. While the views from the top are spectacular, they are tinged with sadness for the locals who have lost loved ones to the dangers of the pass.
Nastachun, which means “cut nose,” was the original name of Sadhna Top. But after Bollywood actress Sadhna Shivdasani visited the pass after the 1965 war and interacted with the soldiers, it was renamed in her honor. However, the beauty of Sadhna Top has not brought joy to the people of Tangdar Karnah, who have witnessed the most horrific scenes at the pass. In 2018, more than ten people died in a snow avalanche, and similar tragedies have occurred in the past. The situation is even more helpless when the dead bodies cannot reach their native homes from Srinagar.
On February 11, 2023, three dead bodies and their relatives were waiting to take them to Karnah but were unable to do so due to the non-clearance of snow over the pass. This situation highlights the urgency of constructing a tunnel through the pass. A tunnel of 6-7 km, half the length of the Chennai tunnel and Banihal Qazigund tunnel, could prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.
In spite of the excellent work of the Minister of Road and Transport and Highways of India, Nitin Gadkari, in other parts of India and Jammu and Kashmir, the construction of this 6 km tunnel has not been realized. The L.G. administration should urgently take this matter into consideration and provide airlift services for the dead bodies waiting in the mortuary of the Handwara Kupwara Hospital.
Sadhna Top is a reminder of the forgotten lives lost to the harshness of nature. The tragedy of the pass must be addressed, and the necessary steps taken to ensure that such losses do not happen again.

“The views from Sadhna Top are breathtaking, but for the people of Tangdar Karnah, they carry the weight of loss and grief.”

The writer is Student from Tangdhar

Can be reached at [email protected]


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