The Pir Panjal is a sub-range of the Great Himalayan mountain system that stretches from Murree in Pakistan to the Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh. Across the Pir Panjal were ancient trade routes connected by passes locally known as Galis. Strewn along these old trade routes through the passes, between the Kashmir Valley and Jammu, you will come across mysterious and spectacular sculptures of soldiers on horseback. Mostly unknown outside the region, these ancient sentinels are only known to trekkers and locals who make their way through here.
The Horsemen of the Pir Panjal are found mostly at the foot of the Galis or on the main Gali itself and they usually have a natural water spring and accompanying pond nearby. There is no doubt that these sculptures mark important strategic points on ancient routes that connected various villages in the Pir Panjal. These were probably markers to identify milestones or resting places for weary horses and men. However, little is known about who built them and when.
The sculptures are mostly of horsemen along with some other reliefs of what seem to be local Gods and Devtas. This has led to a fair bit of speculation. Locals believe that the horsemen were put here by the Pandavas from the Hindu epic Mahabharata when they visited the place millennia back. Others point to the attire of the horsemen and the unique geometric shapes, as motifs, to say that these horsemen may have Bactrian origins.
Asiatic Black Bear, Human Predation, India, Islam, Islam, Kashmir, Natural History, Natural History, Terrorism
Asiatic black bear (Selenarctos thibetanus)
Strategy Page reports that a formidable new ally, a powerful fighter particularly skilled in mountain warfare, recently joined the Western Anti-Jihadist Coalition.
In Indian Kashmir, an Islamic terrorist leader, and one of his followers was killed by a black bear. Two other terrorists were wounded, but were able to flee to a nearby village. Although the terrorists were armed with assault rifles, the bear attacked quickly, and at night, and the men were unable to use their weapons in the restricted confines of the cave. Apparently the bear was going to use the cave to hibernate in, and was upset to find that the terrorists had moved in. The four terrorists thought the cave was abandoned, and a good place to hide out in.
The Asiatic Black Bear is related to the American black bear, but is larger (up to 400 pounds for an older male), and is much more aggressive towards humans. The Asiatic bear has a more powerful jaw, and bigger claws.