By: Ahmad Shabir
Anantnag: With the onset of spring season, the famous tourist spot, Pahalgam in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district is witnessing a record tourist footfall.
According to tourism officials and local hoteliers, Pahalgam is receiving huge number of domestic tourists for the first time in last several years in the month of March.
Hundreds of tourists from different states of India are thronging Pahalgam every day.
“It was a record rush of tourists in Pahalgam this winter and we were not expecting this rush with the change in the season. But for last three weeks, the tourist rush has almost doubled, making the locals associated with tourism jubilant,” said a local, Imtiyaz Ahmad.
Such is the tourist rush at the famed spot that all the A class hotels are almost jam-packed for last one month.
“You cannot find a room in the big hotels here these days. These hotels did a good business even during the winter season of January and February,” Ahmad said.
Another local, Zubair Ahmad, who owns a B Class hotel in upper Pahalgam, said that even most of the B class hotels too are occupied for last over two weeks.
“During winters and spring season, my hotel used to be shut. But this year I decided to keep the hotel open and thank Allah I have been doing a good business. For last couple of weeks, half of my rooms are occupied almost every night. This is something that no small hotelier in Pahalgam was expecting,” Zubair said.
Assistant Tourism Director Pahalgam told Precious Kashmir that it is undoubtedly a record rush of tourists in the spring season.
“If this footfall continues, it will be record breaking,” AD said.
Most of the tourists prefer to visit Pahalgam via Bijbehara -Langanbal road, known as apple road among the tourists. The road passes through a famous apple Karewa , Chinniwedder and is dotted by beautiful apple orchards on both sides.
What upsets the people associated with the industry is the bad condition of the busy and important road.
“When we pick up the tourists from Srinagar they insist on travelling through the apple road. But the long patches of the road right from Bijbehara to Pahalgam are dotted with potholes not only causing inconvenience to the tourists but creating a bad impression among them,” said a driver , Mushtaq Ahmad.
He said that he wonders why the government is not setting such an important road right by going for its macadamisation.
“After couple of years they go for the patch work which last for hardly a season but ironically they don’t go for its black topping once for all,” said another can driver , Bilal Ahmad.