A vast stretch of mountains in Padder Valley nestled along Kishtwar district’s border with Ladakh is believed to house sapphire reserves worth Rs 10,000 crore, which could possibly change the fate of one of the most backward districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Gulabgarh (Kishtwar): Mohammad Abbas recalls with excitement the days of yore when he would join the hunt in the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district to search the world’s most precious sapphires.
Kishtwar’s sapphire mines are sepulchered in the inaccessible mountains towering at an altitude of nearly 16,000 feet, around Sumchan and Bilakoth areas of Padder Valley in Machail – which is one of the most remote regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Up there, the weather is harsh and very unpredictable,” Abbas, a farmer, said. “One moment the high altitude sun is peeling off your skin and the next you could get frostbite. Many labourers couldn’t stand those tough conditions and fled.” Abbas (56) added with a smile: “But those who stayed earned their reward too.”
A vast stretch of mountains in Padder Valley nestled along Kishtwar district’s border with Ladakh is believed to house sapphire reserves worth Rs 10,000 crore, according to one estimate. A 19.88-carat Kishtwar sapphire broke all records in 2013 when it was sold for nearly Rs 20 crore.
For the rest of this article: https://thewire.in/economy/jk-will-the-renewed-hunt-for-sapphires-aid-the-devlopment-of-neglected-kishtwar