After a slow start to the season, tourism footfall has picked up suddenly in Bhadarwah area of Doda district in J&K’s Chenab valley with more than 2.1 lakh tourists visiting alone Padri meadow here during last 20 days.
The sudden rise in numbers has brought cheer to the local tourism players as well as Bhadarwah Development Authority (BDA).
Those associated with tourism and had put huge stakes in the industry, were apprehending huge losses as in the otherwise peak season which starts from middle of May, picturesque Valley received hardly any visitors from May 15 to June 10.
The communal tension in the month of May that was followed by weeklong curfew from 16th of the month resulted in very low turnout of the visitors almost till middle of June, but the sudden unprecedented rush of visitors in last 20 days especially in high altitude meadows have calmed the nerves of tourist players.
As the other parts of country are sweltering under sever heat wave and humidity, Bhadarwah has become a favourite among the tourists as thousands from different parts of the country converge everyday here to enjoy the picturesque beauty and pleasant cool weather of high altitude green meadows and glaciers.
The high altitude meadows of Bhadarwah valley especially Padri Dhar and small glaciers located enroute Bhadarwah – Chamba Road these days are abuzz and over crowded with visitors, as in last 20 days a staggering 2.1 lakh tourists visited Padri meadow alone adjoining Ashapati glacier.
Padri is a vast grazing land meadow at a height of 11,000 feet above sea level on interstate Bhaderwah-Chamba road. located at a distance of 49 km and 80 km from Bhaderwah and Chamba towns in Himachal Pradesh simultaneously.
“Visitors are thronging the meadows in large numbers as unprecedented rush in tourist arrivals is being witnessed since last one month, making the otherwise calm meadows abuzz and overcrowded,” said Rajinder Prasad Khajuria, CEO Bhadarwah Development Authority.
“As many as about 2.1 lakh tourists have visited Padri meadow alone from June 16 till July 5, which is a record of its sorts, as last year we received 1.15 lakh visitors during this period. We even received as many as 22,000 tourists in a single day and right now, all the hotels, BDA properties and registered guest houses are packed with visitors,” Khajuria added.
Popular destinations like Lake View Resort, Padri Meadow, Jai , Guldanda, Kheleeni, Chattargala and Herbal Garden are attracting tourists in large numbers.
“Bhadarwah is the best place to spend your holidays. Not only is the place beautiful, but people here are very nice and helpful,” Rakesh Mahajan, a tourist from Samba said.
“We are at Padri meadow and due to cool breeze, we are feeling the chill in July, which is unbelievable. We (family) are enjoying our stay here and can’t get enough of this place, as it’s like a fairy tale that we are playing with snow that too on roadside and just 30 km from the town,” said another tourist Ritu Devi.
“We came here to shoot a few sequences of the Himachali songs but the unparalleled beauty and mesmerising landscape has left us speechless and we have decided to stay back and shoot all the album here at Padri only,” said Chanchal Sarolavi, a producer from Himachal Pradesh.
According to figures issued by BDA, 1.5 lakh tourists visited Padri in 2017, the influx increased to 2.21 lakh in 2018 but this 2.1lakh visitors thronged here the high altitude meadow in just 20 days.