Nagin Valley thrown open for tourists after 22 years
Botpathri (Gulmarg), Apr 29: Decked by lush green pines and bounded by snow-clad Affarwat mountains on the west, a serpentine road stretch 10 km from skiing resort of Gulmarg, leads to beautiful meadows of Nagin valley here.
Out of bound for tourists and locals for 22 years, the Valley is now on tourist map of J&K.
In an impressive ceremony here on Sunday, the Kashmir tourism department threw open the picturesque Nagin valley as an ‘eco-tourism destination’ aimed to decongest Gulmarg bowl.
“The valley will offer new and untouched terrain to the tourist and best camping site for trekkers,” Minister for Tourism and Culture Nawang Rigzan Jora said addressing the opening ceremony at Nagin valley here.
Nagin was made out of bounds for trekkers, tourists and civilians in 1990 when militancy had erupted in the state.
The towering mountain peaks that surround Nagin to its south are the last patches of land before the Line of Control, located merely five km away.
Journey to Nagin, located on the Gulmarg-Botapathri road, is an awesome experience as the mountainous road is completely shrouded in a cloud cover and visibility decreases to a few feet. The serenity of the place is evident as mountains change their colour with the intensity of sunlight.
During the opening ceremony which lasted half an hour, the weather changed so fast that rains began and stopped twice and so did the clouds that enveloped the meadow.
However, the energetic performance by traditional musicians kept the people attentive for the whole function.
“We have been working on the development of this valley as eco-tourism destination. After finishing all the modalities, Central Ministry of Tourism provided us financial assistance under a centrally sponsored scheme for accomplishment of the project designed to promote Botpathri as a new tourist destination,” Jora said.
Expressing satisfaction over the tourist flow to valley in 2011, the minister said: “Last years around 15 lakh tourists visited Kashmir and this year we are expecting more as we have been working on the development of new destinations for tourists,” he said.
Located at an altitude of 9000ft between Ferozpora and Nighli Nallahs, Botpathri is an erstwhile camping destination for trekkers and shepherds towards the Boniyar, Sultan Pathri and Choor Khud.
“Gulmarg is presently witnessing unprecedented tourist arrivals which are beyond its carrying capacity. So we requested army to throw open Botpathri for tourists,” Minister of State for Tourism, Nasir Aslam Wani said.
He said the active support of army and locals the destination was thrown open. “The opening up of Botpathri shall help dissemination of economic benefits to the grass root tourist service providers of area and help them in their economic upliftment,” he said.
However, he stressed on locals and tourists to maintain the cleanliness of the area to save this ‘ecologically fragile’ valley.
Minister for Agriculture and local MLA, Ghulam Hassan Mir said the support of locals residents was important to make the destination beneficial for the all the professionals related with tourism. “But, we have to take care of the environments so that no damage will be done,” he said.
“Due to militancy this area was closed to tourists, now that militancy is on decline we have decided to open this place,” General Officer Commanding of 19 Infantry Maj Gen Bipin Rawal, who commands the army in the area told reporters on the sidelines of the opening ceremony here.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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