Srinagar: Five years ago when Farhan left his private job, he thought of doing something different and after groundwork, jumped to start his own venture of hiking equipments.
“I thought of selling the trekking equipment will have a good scope in coming years. As I got little response to selling equipment, I thought why not rent and organize trekking tours myself. This is how it started in late 2016. ,” Farhan said.
Farhan’s ‘Hook Hike Kashmir’ is now one among the many new breed of growing trekking clubs in Kashmir. These clubs have provided another way of income for many people. In recent years young Kashmiris are using online tools to organize trekking tours, give equipment on rentals as the trend of hiking Kashmir’s beautiful landscape is growing. With the growing business Farhan has recently opened an outlet in Srinagar to rent-equipment and coordinate trekking tours. “Earlier I was doing my work without a physical store. This has a good potential and this profession can provide a livelihood to many youngsters who are interested in it,” he added.
As some are targeting the local market in J&K, others are aiming for India wide trekking market. Shahid, who runs a trekking club under the banner of his ‘Gulmarg Ski club’ says that more youth are getting into the profession and if everything is kept professional and good services are provided, the market can expand quickly.
“During every trip, we require helpers, guides, horses, and cooks. These are the people who are also dependent on the profession. If clubs will take proper hiking training, medical training and provide the best services, it can be a big business in coming days as in India people are now moving to adventure tourism,” he said.
Many in Kashmir, have undergone professional training and studies to pursue the profession. As some are aiming the India wide market, others like Basit is helping to introduce the hiking trend in schools. Basit who is a graduate in Physical education is collaborating with schools and organizing summer trekking camps for students. Basit who resides on the foothills of Pir Panchal range of the Pakharpora area said that he was passionate about trekking since his childhood.
These clubs are mostly trekking in high-altitude lakes in Kashmir like Tarsar Marsar, Tulian, Gangbal, and dozens of others like these.