Monday, 3 September 2012

Decreasing militancy gives boost to Lahaul Kishtwar tourism

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: The decrease in militant activities in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir has proved beneficial for Pangi (Chamba) and Lahaul valleys of Himachal as tourist movement across the Manali-Kilaar-Kishtwar-Jammu route is witnessing drastic increase this year.
Once known as no man’s land, increasing tourist activities on highly sensitive Kilaar-Kishtwar-Jammu route has once again turned this place into one of the preferred adventurous and beautiful route of the country. After forgetting past incidents of terrorism in Kishtwar and Doda districts, tourists are choosing this route to enjoy the beauty of the country which remained hidden for many decades. Mostly the tourists are showing their interest in exploring the area by their bikes.
Anil Bodh, who runs Yaoungpa guest house in Udaipur (Lahaul), said he is witnessing an increase in pace of tourists from both Manali and Kishtwar side and majority of tourists are from abroad. “Bikers love to ride on rough roads on this daunting route. There are dozens of glaciers and trekking routes in between the road and one can spend over two weeks enjoying the various landscapes here,” he said. Anil said that hundreds of pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir are visiting temples in Lahaul valley following the Kishtwar route.
Residents of Lahaul believe Kishtwar would be connected with Manali-Kilaar highway with bus service soon and would help people of Himachal and J&K in strengthening their relations and also would boost the tourism activities in both the states. Currently bus service is available only till Kilaar on Manali-Kishtwar highway. As very few vehicles ply on this route, the condition of the highway between Kilaar and Kishtwar is very pathetic.
Four friends from Delhi and Gurgaon, Harsh Khullar, Sandeep Malhotra, Ajit Singh and Tuleshwar who visited Srinagar via Kishtwar route were waiting for this moment for two years. They were surprised to know that very few tourists go on this route and the route was not available in any tourism itinerary. “If people avoid this route due to terrorist activities then it is ridiculous. This is our land and nobody can stop us. We just finished our 8-day-long jeep safari and enjoyed each moment,” Harsh said.
Tindi, Shor, Purthi, Kilaar, Sol and Gulabgarh are the small stoppages between Udaipur and Kishtwar where small dhabas and accommodations are available for the passers. The increasing flow of tourists is cheering the dhaba and hotel owners here. Many taxi drivers hesitate to drive on this route due to its bad condition. Local residents believe the government should maintain the road so that more and more tourists visit this place.

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