A Forgotten Tourist Spot

A visit to Lolab valley reveals that no substantial steps have been taken to develop the valley as a real tourist destination
A Forgotten Tourist Spot

Some time down the line, Lolab valley was abode to manyancient springs, and covered with dense forests; and it was declared as a newtourist place in the valley of Kashmir by the Government. "Lolab, known as theland of love and beauty, is now all set to enthrall tourists in and outside theState and thereby boost the local financial conditions / economy of the area infuture", was the rhetoric. A couple of former Tourism Ministers had troubledthemselves by visiting the tourist place of Lolab valley in Kupwara andreviewed status of several projects being executed throughLolab-Bangus-Drangyari Tourism Development Authority and Tourism Department inthe district. It was proclaimed that the Lolab valley will be developed inevery manner to be showcased as one of the best tourist places globally. It wasbragged that that the Valley (Lolab) will become hub of tourism activities innear future. A series of attractions would be created in virgin touristdestinations of Lolab – Bangus and Drangyari in the frontier district toencourage tourists to visit these spots. Spring and Herbal tourism of Lolabwill be showcased as the valley is covered with majestic mountains with numberof fresh springs and variety of herbs and flowers.  It was also proclaimed that Lolab, afavourite trekking route to Asia's largest freshwater Lake Wular in Bandiporedistrict would be revived for foreign tourists. The government had claimed thatthe people of the area should now expect better future and handsome earning fortheir livelihood and that in view of peace and normalcy gaining ground in theValley, people, especially the jobless educated youth of Lolab, will have anopportunity to opt for tourism avenues and for this purpose, state governmentwould encourage them by providing soft loans with subsides. It was promisedthat a good number of youth will be imparted various types of trainings inhospitality and protocol sector also to provide quality services to thetourists. A Foodcraft Institute would also be established in Kupwara and forthe purpose a project of Rs 5 crore will be prioritised for Centre fundingfiscal. It was also said up gradation of the tourist related infrastructurewill be expedited and financial allocation worth crores would be made with somefunding from the central Government for the transforming the place as anattractive and fascinating tourist place.

However, a visit to the valley reveals that no innovative orsubstantial steps have been taken so for to develop the valley as a realtourist destination. No infrastructure has been established, no good roadsdeveloped, and more importantly, no effort to overcome the water scarcity hasbeen taken up seriously and the people continue to suffer in the area fordrinking water.

The valley of Lolab is an oval shaped natural spot known forthe lush green trees and pastures covered with fairly Deodar and other forests,amidst which of these forests, countless streams gush down and after joiningtogether, these streams form a big stream called as Lalkul (Lahwal) stream,which flows through the valley. On the north of the valley is a table- landcalled as (wuder) with pine forests and is uninhabited except for a few Gujjarfamilies.

The village of Varnow in Lolab valley is having historicalimportance because of the birth of the great religious scholar Allama AnwarShah Kashmiri (RA). Some of the renowned places in the valley having tremendoustourism potential are Chandigam, Dooruswani, Khurhama, Krusan, Khomrial,Nagsari and Cherkoot. The famous Lov-nag is located in Anderbaugh village. Thevalley also provides road connectivity to the remote place of Machil which isknown for the waterfall of Rangil. The lush green jungles surrounding theChandigham provide an ample scope for the adventure loving people for trekkingand mountaineering. 05 Kilometers away from Chandigham, there is also anotherbeautiful tourist spot known as Dooruswani. Rangwar Lalpora in Lolab valley isfull of pastures and lush green forests, wild flowers, and through these astream flows on the outskirts of the village. On way to Rangwar, a villagenamed as Krousen is also naturally beautiful. The Sattbarran Kalaroos in thevalley of Lolab is a unique place of ancient architecture, situated on theoutskirts of village Madmadav village in Kalaroos area. It is believed thatthere is a cave which is the way to the Central Asian states.

Trees that grow and festoon the Lolab valley are deodar,kail, pine, fir, elm, Chinar, poplar, willow and other medicinal herbs. Theforests of the Lolab valley inhabit animals and birds like wild bulls, wildgoats, black bears, markhores, jackal, musk deer, monkeys, leopards and foxes.There are birds like doves, fly–catchers, wild cocks, woodpeckers, falcons,swallows, wild ducks, crows, sparrows, pigeons and vultures also.

Though poet of the East Iqbal (RA) had not visitedphysically the valley of Lolab but still in his powerful imagination he hadperceived the symbolic glimpses of the beauty of valley of Lolab. He, out ofsheer love for this valley, expresses his feelings in "Armughaan-e-Hejaaz"(Urdu) under the assumed name of Mullazada Zaigham Lollabi,

Paani teri chesmun ka tadapta huwa seemab

Murgan sahar teri fazanwu main hai baitab

Aai Wadiyai Lolab

To Iqbal The scenic beauty, the big mountains and streams ofLolab meant grace of God. The fragrance of the valley, the sounds, the coloursand the warbling of birds caught his eye and through his verses, he invitedothers to visit and watch the haunting beauty, gushing streams, flowing riversand sparkling and dazzling nature of Lolab.

The valley of Lolab is abundant in natural beauty andtherefore, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir should develop the valley as anattractive tourist spot.

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