Park that Pampers
After Gondola a good number of tourists are now visiting the Children Park at Gulmarg
RECREATION BY MUHAMMAD YUSUF
Pirpanjal range is visible in Kashmir valley from Banihal to Baramulla. This range receives heavy snow fall during winter, thus making it the Mecca of snow sports in the entire Himalayan range. Pirpanjal has number of valleys, but among them Gulmarg is most prominent due to its characteristic features, geographical location, scenic view and favorable atmosphere. It lies in the west of Kashmir valley, about 56 Kms away from Srinagar and is located at 34░03′N 74 ░23′E / 34.05░N 74.38░E / 34.05; 74.38.
Gulmarg is considered one of the most liked tourist destinations of the country. Besides snow sports it offers variety of activities and places of tourist interest. On a clear day one can have the panoramic view of many mighty peaks from here which include Nanga Parbat, Harmukh, Kolahoi, Nun & Kun, Sickle Moon, Brahma group of peaks, and in its own vicinity, the Sunrise, Sunset and Tatakoti etc.
After Gondola Gulmarg Children Park is becoming increasingly popular place for school excursions. Not only excursions but scores of visitors from different districts come here to beat the scorching summer heat. With the up-gradation and installation of more amusement and recreational facilities here by the Gulmarg Development Authority this year hundreds of domestic tourists are visiting the Park daily now.
Gulmarg Children Park is spread over an area of nearly 500 kanals, located at foothills of a forest. Till recent years this area was used by herdsmen as their base and by drivers to wash vehicles in the stream running through this area. It had in fact become a dumping place for garbage.
In the year 2005 Farooq Ahmad Shah, who was then CEO, GDA and now Director Tourism, conceived idea to develop the area into a Park. The then Tourism Minister, G. H. Mir appreciated the idea and approved the proposal. The stream was blocked and two artificial water bodies were created here, with the depth from 2 feet to 26 feet from one end to another. The un-noticed area was converted into a beautiful park with variety of flowers like lupines, tulips, lillium and many other wild flowers. A green putting for golfing was also laid by a famous landscape architect, Fida Iqbal. The amusement items like sea-saws, swings, slides, and balancing beams etc were installed in the back yard of the park for children. An environmentally suited round shaped restaurant with tall pointed roof made of wood was also constructed. The park was decorated with solar lights and fountains in the water bodies. A number of beautiful shelter sheds were constructed at different places and water taps and toilet facilities made available everywhere here.
For last few years it had lost its glory but this year it was restored when the present CEO, Gulmarg Development Authority, Mahmood Ahmad Shah allowed the Adventure Call Tours and Travels to operate Boating and Zorbing in the park. The restaurant and toilets were renovated. Proper care for maintaining greenery and cleanliness was taken. It helped to attract not only locals but thousands of domestic tourists to the park.. The GDA now plans to introduce mountain biking, fixed hot air ballooning and all terrain vehicles here next year which can expect more adrenaline rush here.
Nevertheless, the Government must create a small zoological park with small animals here; allow agencies to operate some more adventure related activities; do drudging and cleaning of water bodies; provide more toilet facilities, raise the fencing of the park all around. Also tourist police be deployed there and the fountains repaired to give more aeration to the stagnant water.
The author is Adventure Tour Consultant at Adventure Call Tours and Travels. Mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 9 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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