Srinagar: With peace prevailing along LoC, tourism has started picking up in border areas of Kashmir as tourists rush in numbers to explore the frontier areas.
The ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan has completed more than a year and as such various activities related to the development and tourism are taking place in these areas.
For the last one-month Kupwara’s Keran’s, Machil, Bangus and Tanghdar, Bandipora’s Gurez, and Baramulla’s Uri, tourists have been witnessing the footfall of tourists.
“After a long time, tourists have visited Keran, which had almost vanished from the tourism map. Peace has been restored in border areas following which the tourists are now preferring to move out of the much-hyped tourist destinations,” said Sajad Ahmad, a local from Keran.
The rush is such that many in the town have started converting their homes into homestays. “We are very much happy and the peace has come as a blessing for us. Prior to 2020, the condition was very bad here and we used to live in bunkers. We don’t have the money to invest in building hotels, that’s why we have started homestays,” said Waqar Majaz Khan, a local who has converted his house into a homestay in Keran.
Khan said the beauty of the border areas was unmatchable and should be promoted by the government. “I challenge you that the view you get in Keran can’t be found anywhere. The government should take measures to promote border tourism,” he said.
Uri in Baramulla district too has been receiving tourists this year. Restaurants and hotels in the area have made all arrangements to provide lodging and night stay facilities for the visitors.
“This year, tourists have visited to the remote places in Uri, particularly Kaman post. The tourists are appreciating the landscape of Uri and are exploring the rural tourism of the area,” said Kausar Ahmad Bhat, a local.
The administration this year has also planned to promote Gurez in Bandipora which has become one of the most sought offbeat destinations.
Pertinently, the tourism department recently added 75 new destinations to their list for promotion. Thirty-eight destinations are in the Kashmir region while 37 are in Jammu.
GN Itoo, Director, Tourism Kashmir, said the department was focusing to promote the rural tourism of Kashmir.
“The idea is to focus on border areas like Gurez, Keran, Machil, and Tangdhar – as tourist places. We have made plans and are in consultation with district administration and India Army to promote these areas for adventure tourism,” he said.