Gurez Valley in Kashmir Becomes Haven for Adventure Tourism

Gurez Valley in Kashmir Becomes Haven for Adventure Tourism

Attracts 60K Thrill-Seekers This Year

Suhail Khan 

Bandipora, Dec 29 : Gurez Valley, once overshadowed by conflict and border tensions, has transformed into a thriving adventure tourism destination, drawing a remarkable 60,000 adrenaline junkies, both local and international, this year. 

An official told Kashmir Despatch that as part of a larger trend in the border areas of Kashmir, a staggering 430,000 tourists have flocked to explore destinations including  Keran, Lolab, Machil, Teetwal, Tangdhar, Tulail, and Uri, showcasing the growing popularity of these scenic border villages.

He said known for its breathtaking landscapes and cultural heritage, Gurez Valley has become a hotspot for activities like trekking, camping, and fishing, providing travelers with an unparalleled adventure experience.

The local residents of Gurez are ecstatic about the positive changes taking place and attribute the region’s thriving tourism sector to the collaborative efforts of the Indian Army, local communities, and the government. However, they emphasize the need for a dedicated development authority to further enhance the infrastructure of Gurez.

The recent electrification of Gurez Valley marks a significant milestone, bringing immense relief and gratitude to the locals. Additionally, the opening of Shinon Meeras, a cultural center showcasing the Dard-Shina tribes, plays a pivotal role in preserving the region’s unique heritage.

While celebrating the progress, the locals talking to Kashmir Despatch also voice their hopes for sustained peace along the Line of Control (LoC) and express their appreciation for the positive shift in their lives since the ceasefire was implemented in February 2021. The absence of shelling has not only facilitated economic growth but also revived cultural traditions, allowing residents to once again organize weddings in their homes without fear.

Sajad Ahmad, a resident of Gurez while talking to Kashmir Despatch comments, “Over the past three years, we have been fortunate to escape the distress caused by cross-border shelling in the border areas. The ceasefire implementation has spurred substantial development in the Gurez Valley.”

Arif Samoon, another local resident, observes the increased engagement in border area tourism throughout the year, attributing it to the combined efforts of the army, local populace, and the government. However, he highlights the importance of a dedicated development authority to further enhance Gurez’s infrastructure.

“The ceasefire pact in February 2021 has brought about a remarkable transformation in our region. Life, previously marred by daily shelling, has seen a positive shift,” emphasizes a group of residents from Gurez.

Mohammad Ramzan, another resident, expresses gratitude to the Union Territory government, including the Lieutenant Governor, local administration, and the PDD department, for fulfilling the longstanding demand of the people of Gurez by providing electricity from the grid.

In celebration of progress and newfound peace, the locals remain optimistic about Gurez’s future as an adventure tourism hub. The absence of shelling has not only opened doors for economic development but has also breathed new life into their cultural traditions, allowing them to embrace their heritage with pride.

The establishment of the Shinon Meeras cultural center, dedicated to the 38,000-strong Dard community, who speak the Shina language that is rapidly diminishing, is a testament to the collaborative efforts between the Indian Army and the administration in preserving the region’s rich cultural tapestry.

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