Local tourists find it hard to get rooms for night stay, forced to sleep in vehicles
By: Ahmed Shabir
Anantnag: Pahalgam is witnessing a record breaking tourist rush this season. The tourist rush is such that the locals who have been thronging the tourist spot since Eid marking the end of Ramadhan (the holy month of fasting for Muslims) are finding it difficult to find a room for a night stay.
Many local hoteliers who Precious Kashmir spoke to said that due to the non-availability of rooms at the tourist spot, most of the locals who plan to visit the spot for nights are forced to move back in the evenings for last over a week.
A local, Zubair Ahmad who owns Wonder land hotel in upper Pahalgam said that it is virtually a mad rush in Pahalgam for last one week. “We have never witnessed such a flooding of tourists , both domestic and locals here. Even the small hits and guest houses remain booked for a month. Locals visiting Pahalgam find it very hard to get a room for night stay,” Zubair said.
Though many people prefer to return to their homes, the youngsters after being unable to find rooms sleep in their cars on road sides.
Another local said that for last four days he has been trying to book a couple of rooms for his friends from Dehli who intend to visit next week but does not get one.
“I approached at least 18 hoteliers in last four days begging them for a couple of rooms next week but every one told me they are completely booked for atleast a month. I have now asked my friends to delay their tour,” he said.
The room capacity at the tourist spot is 11 thousands which remain occupied by almost domestic tourists only.
Assistant director, tourism, Bilal Ahmad said that they have more than 10000 tourists staying at Pahalgam every night which means that there are no rooms left for local tourists.
“There is no doubt about Pahalgam witnessing record breaking tourist arrival in last six to seven years,” AD said.
Given the tourist rush, authorities on Wednesday banned the erection of tents on Lidder banks within the jurisdiction of PDA to prevent pollution to the Lidder river and damage to fragile environs.
Messy traffic jams, according to locals, are also witnessed during day time on Pahalgam roads forcing many to return to their homes halfway to avoid more inconvenience.