Talking about tourism in Kashmir, will generally take you to Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam. No doubt that they are the gems of the valley, but there is still a lot besides these four top spots. Lot many places to see and admire and lot beyond the regular natural beauty spots. Naranag is one of them and it was an altogether different experience for me to visit an archaelogical site in such a scenic surroundings. But equally anguished was I to see such a place in total shambles. Nobody to protect or even take care of such an important site. It has been left to be ruined. I was astonished to see that there was not even a single sign board or a plaque which could give visitors any idea about the site, its history, importance or architecture. Go googling was the only option left.
Naranag is in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir. While going to Sonmarg from Srinagar on the Kargil-Leh highway, just before Kangan there is a diversion to west. It takes us to Naranag valley and Naranag village. Naranag has two clusters of temples and historians believe it was built in 8th century by King Lalitaditya. That this was dedicated to Lord Shiva is quite obvious because of the presence of shivlingas here- in the temples and on the carvings. The architecture of the temple is also said to be of that period.
Located on the left bank of the Wangath reiver Naranag is also known for its scenic meadows. It is also base camp for trekkers to the Mount Harmukh, Gangabal Lake and Satsar lake. There are also long distance treks to Gadsar lake, Vishansar Lake and the Krishansar Lake.