“If there is heaven on earth, it is here, it is here”, “A paradise on Earth” and more are a testament to the breathtaking beauty of this place in south Asia, Jammu and Kashmir. The place is home to some exotic and exquisite sights, ice-capped and lush green mountains, flora, and fauna that’s indigenous to this place and also hatred, riots, terrorism, blood, poverty, illiteracy and more. Jammu and Kashmir has been one of the most beautiful and the most disturbed places in South Asia. But the impeccable beauty that this land accumulates keeps the spirits of the inhabitants always high. Travelers, conquerors, rulers to inhabitants anyone who has been to the land even for once in its lifetime has become its admirer.
Gulmarg, a place to enjoy snow sports, skiing, trekking, trolley ride, and ethereal sights of ice-capped mountains! Sonmarg, a piece of land that’s surreal, and is an ideal place for camping and trekking. Kupwara situated in the lap of nature that’s adorned by lush green mountains, landscapes that reaches the horizon, and mesmerizing sights. Pulwama the rice-bowl of Kashmir, famous for pleasant weather, and saffron (Zaafraan) cultivation. Pahalgam, another worth visiting destination in Kashmir that’s famous for its dense forest cover. These are just a handful of popular tourist destinations of Kashmir and this is not the end, the list is long! Let’s dive into the history & explore this heavenly place on earth.
The history of Kashmir is a well-known fact, we all know how the political scenario was back then among the three key nation-states of South Asia. It all started with an ambiguous treaty of accession that sought harmony and cooperation but in bits and pieces. This treaty pushed the state towards a dark future.
For the last 7 decades, J&K despite being a state of India enjoyed a special autonomous status and yet it always remained in a state of turmoil. However, it somehow successfully managed to develop an economy wherein the major contributing sector was tourism. Many tourist destinations in J&K with mesmerizing locations, scenic beauty, lush green landscapes, divine lakes attracted tourists from India and the world. But ironically, that this heavenly place that’s drenched in beauty on earth got greater global media coverage for the political tension and propaganda. All of these made the travelers, movie makers, poets, nature lovers, mountaineers, adventure enthusiasts, abandon the place!
The recent revocation of Article 370 is expected to change the equation for the tourists who always ignored the place as they never considered it ‘safe’ to visit and for the inhabitants who lost their jobs because of unending tensions and terrorism. People and experts believe that the state is on the verge of changing its fate and come back stronger and taller in the near future.
Safety, stability, lack of facilities and infrastructure together took off the tourism from the track. Experts are of the opinion that stability in the valley will make tourists more confident about their stays and will boost tourism throughout the year and from all the parts of the world. This will revive tourism and the economy of the state.
Despite all the positive reactions from the experts, its only time on which we can depend to know how good or bad this revocation of Article 370 is. We will have to give the valley the time to embrace this change and make the best of all the opportunities that are coming along.
The Maharashtra government’s tourism department came forward with a prompt and a positive announcement wherein they declared of developing MTDC resorts in Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. The announcement was welcomed by the tourism lobby, political leaders, public and people of Kashmir.
The newly formed Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir will host a 3-day investor summit starting from 12th October 2019 with a motive to boost tourism and business in the valley. This summit will bring new prospects that will strengthen the tourism, bring private sectors from IT, hospitality, finance, and other sectors to the place, boost start-ups, bring employment, and will raise the standard of living in the UT.
The hotel industry has been closely following the developments in the 370 matter because Kashmir is a hot tourist destination that holds unlimited opportunities to grow. It is expected that when the normalcy is achieved in the valley and the laws of the land will be obliged by one and all, then people from other parts of the country will also be able to buy land and do business in the union territory. Big hoteliers, private players from the hospitality lobby are pushing for business at ease policies in Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh.
Amidst all the political drama a lot of worth visiting places got lost on the map of Jammu and Kashmir. Either they lacked development in the form of infrastructure, accessibility or were victims of bad publicity. Tourists who gathered the courage to explore the state never went to the interiors of the valley or the unpopular places to discover the breath-taking beauty of many hidden gems.