Recently met the travel freak duo of Sandeepa & Chetan who are living the life of their dreams, travelling and exploring unheard places. Sandeepa was an electrical engineer by profession who ditched her profession for blogging & Chetan, who worked for digital marketing industry, is now working as a photographer for her blogs. Both quit their jobs five years ago and since then have travelled across the the globe. On their recent and long pending visit to Kashmir they wrote that they were dumbfounded to see the beauty of the valley and were completely mesmerized by the serenity of the place. The hospitality & helpful nature of the people of Kashmir was in direct contrast of its media image and was the most impactful part of their travel.
The blissful area of the valley cannot merely be expressed in the words. Stunning orchards, pristine glaciers and vast grasslands are a few that top the Kashmir bucket list. The fascinating beauty of the valley has enthralled tourist from around the world. Places that receive the highest tourist footfall are Srinagar, Sonamarg, Gulmarg and Pahalgam. Other less explored yet equally beautiful places incl Aru valley, Yusmarg valley and Betaab valley. Along with its scenic beauty the valley has also enormous scope for religious tourism. The region endowed with natural beauty is dotted with numerous temples and shrines. The world famous places Amarnath cave, Shankracharya Temple and Shiv Khori cave.
As per the State Tourism Dept, in 2019 around 11 million tourists visited Kashmir which dropped to a mere 1.5 Million in 2021. Of course COVID outbreak played a maj role in the drop. Though the official figures are yet to be out but Kashmir has seen a massive surge in tourists in 2022. Lifting of Covid restns in the valley was the maj reason for this influx coupled with opening of Amarnath Shrine after a gap of three years. In the wake of some complaints regarding harassment of tourists by some vendors, the Union Tourism Ministry has set in motion the process of setting up the tourist police that will follow zero tolerance policy towards the safety and security of tourists. The scheme is meant to make a tourist experience more hassle free, secure & seamless. The states tourism department is also promoting homestays, cultural festivals, cuisines and destination wedding to add a few to the list. The Tourism Secratary has also conducted meeting with hotels, wedding planner and event managers to pitch Kashmir as a major wedding destination.
Kashmir is known for its serene & pristine landscapes.While the tourists vis places like Gulmarg, Srinagar & Sonamarg for holidays or shooting for Bollywood movies, the valley remain largely unexplored. But it recent past courtesy to travelers & movies industries that the local & rural beauty of the Kashmir is being explored beyond Gulmarg & Srinagar, thanks to the improved situation in the valley. The revival of the film & tourism industry has opened new job opportunities in the valley. Local actors & artists who had remained unemployed & their talent explored have been given the opportunities as well. According to tourism department total & more than 500 request for permission to film in the valley have been received from television & entertainment industry across the country. Besides Lt Gov Manoj Sinha has also launched new film policy for J&K, Thus making the union territory a shooting paradise by providing secure environment.
Ideas, Opinions and Views expressed in articles are Writer’s own and may not be in accord with those of SUBAH KASHMIR