Kokernag is a town in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier known Bindoo Zalangam, as recorded in the revenue records, the name Kokernag has a distinct meaning — the term ‘Koker’ means fowl and ‘nag’ means snake. This small town is located at a height of 2000 meters from the sea level and is famous for its gardens, largest fresh water springs and trout streams. The nearby towns and places include Sagam, Wangam, Hangalgund, Zalergam, and Dacksum etc. Kokernag finds a mention in the famous historical work called Ain Akbari, where it is pointed out that the water of Kokernag not only satisfies hunger and thirst, but also cures indigestion.
The Kokernag Botanical Garden
Kokernag boasts of a beautiful botanical garden, which is by far the biggest garden in Jammu and Kashmir. If you are among the luckier lot, you can bag an accommodation inside this garden too. This golden opportunity of staying in the garden will give you a wonderful chance of visiting the Kokernag botanical garden during sunrise, — an ideal time to spot birds and enjoy glancing at their colors, activities and soaking in the pleasure of their melodious chirping. In fact, an early morning stroll beside the natural stream that flows inside the garden would remain a memorable time for any visitor for years to come. The Kokernag is developed by the J&K Tourism department.
Garden visits: A social vulture
There is an interesting thing to note in Kokernag. During weekends, particularly on Sundays, the garden is completely crowded with families spending a whole day at the garden and enjoying a picnic with the whole family. If you’re in Kokernag on a Sunday you may find the garden choc-a-bloc with kids playing, couples stealing some time together, and the aged relaxing under the gigantic Chinar trees. Most of the families usually eat together at the garden. They either bring their lunch from home, or prepare food inside the garden itself.
All over the state, families usually spend their holidays in the garden which is a refreshing change from the mundane mall-hopping culture that has become prevalent in urban India today.
The Trout Fishery
Kokernag is popular for its trout streams and the Kokernag Trout Fishery is situated next to the Kokernag botanical garden. In the Trout Fishery, you can also take a look at the various steps involved in fish breeding at the training institute, and usually the research students are glad to share such details with you. The cool Kashmir weather favors trout breeding.
That Kashmir’s favorable temperature could help in trout breeding was first noticed by a Norwegian researcher, who first began breeding trout here. Thus began the breeding of trout’s in Kashmir which has now become extremely synonymous with this heavenly place. Though trouts do not belong to Kashmir essentially, yet it has become ‘the pride of Kashmir’ now. So if you are in Kashmir, you must visit Kokernag and trip to Kashmir is incomplete without tasting a trout delicacy.
One can also find the largest fresh water spring in Kashmir. For the abundance of fresh water, the Trout hatchery department has built a series of pools where trouts are reared. Different pools have trouts of different weights and ages. The Trout department sells the trout’s to the tourists who find it very delicious.
If your schedule does not permit you to spend too much time in Kokernag, you can pay a visit to this wonderful and interesting town on your way to Sinthan top. Have you had the chance to visit Kokernag and taste the delicious trout delicacies found here?