By: Sajid Raina
Gurez: Following the 15 February border ceasefire pact between India and Pakistan, tourists from different areas of Jammu and Kashmir and outside have thronged the Gurez valley in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district to enjoy the picturesque frontier region.
The rattle of guns has been replaced by the noises of tourists clicking selfies who were seen enjoying the breathtaking mountains. The peak tourist season for Gurez starts in June and ends in September.
The locals said that the tourists from across the country have been coming to the border region for the last one month.
“The Gurez Valley has witnessed a huge influx of tourists this year that they have never seen before as the situation on the border in the region often remains tense,” locals said.
“We hope that such a rush of tourists will continue in the future as well. Gurez has huge potential for tourism and the government should pay more attention to this place now,” Mohammad Amain a local said.
Rakesh, a tourist from Chandigarh, said that they are delighted to visit Gurez valley.
“Earlier we were hearing through the media that the situation here was very tense between Indo-Pak as they keep shelling these border areas resulting in death and destruction but there is no fear today. Beauty, peace and tranquillity can be seen here now,” Rakesh said.
“I consider myself a lucky person because I have seen this beautiful valley where I find peace. We also visited Tulail, Izmerg and Chorwan areas. Apart from the bad road condition, it is a beautiful valley where everyone should come once,” Mankshee another female tourist said. She said that the administration should pay more attention to this place so that the tourists here do not face any problem.
Ifan Mir, a resident of Srinagar said that, “I think most tourists are visiting Gurez this year and it is a beautiful valley. Most people come here to see the mountain of Habba Khatoon. Earlier I heard about it from people but today I consider myself lucky as I have seen this mountain with my own eyes.”
Deputy Commissioner Bandipora Dr Owais Ahmad said that a good strategy is being adopted for the development of Gurez tourist destination as it has great potential for eco-tourism.
“We’re constantly trying to promote the place which will give tourists myriad experiences of the countryside while helping locals living in the area economically,” he said.
He said that the potential ecotourism activities will attract different type of visitors and tourists in Gurez.
“The administration is upgrading all the tourist huts including TRC and Dak-Banglow in Gurez so that the tourists do not face any problem while staying there,” Owais said. (KNO)