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National Tourism Day 2024: Identifying Thrills of Adventure in J&K

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By: Sadaket A Malik

National Tourism Day 2024 brings with it a celebration of the diverse and exhilarating facets of adventure tourism in India. While the country boasts a rich tapestry of cultural, historical, and natural wonders, the spotlight turns to the heart-stirring landscapes of Jammu and Kashmir and the enchanting adventure hub, the Chenab Valley.

Adventure tourism, a niche domain that attracts travellers to explore remote and sometimes challenging terrains has steadily gained prominence in India. The allure lies in the opportunity to step out of one’s comfort zone, embracing nature with varying degrees of risk. From the rugged terrains of the Himalayas to the serene coastal landscapes, India offers a spectrum of adventures waiting to be explored.

Jammu and Kashmir: A Paradise for Adventure Seekers:

Located in the lap of the Himalayas, Jammu and Kashmir is an epitome of natural beauty and adventure. The region, often hailed as “Paradise on Earth,” unfolds a myriad of opportunities for thrill-seekers. The Department of Tourism, J&K, recognizing the immense potential, has taken significant steps to formulate guidelines for Adventure Tour Operators.

Land-Based Adventures:

Jammu and Kashmir’s diverse topography offers a playground for various land-based adventures. All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) roar through the rugged trails, cyclists traverse scenic routes, and motorbike tours wind through picturesque landscapes. Mountaineering enthusiasts find their calling in the challenging peaks, while rock climbing and artificial wall climbing provide a vertical challenge. The snow-clad slopes of Gulmarg and Patnitop invite skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, while trekking trails like those in Bhaderwah and Udhampur lead to undiscovered vistas. Zip wires add an extra dash of adrenaline for those seeking a unique perspective on the breathtaking landscapes.

Air Adventures:

For those who prefer to soar through the skies, paragliding in locations like Sanasar becomes an unforgettable experience. The thrill of gliding amidst panoramic views captivates adventure enthusiasts, offering a bird’s-eye view of the region’s natural splendours.

Water-Based Adventures:

The gushing rivers and pristine lakes of Jammu and Kashmir provide the canvas for water-based adventures. White-water rafting and kayaking tournaments in Sonamarg showcase the region’s prowess in hosting adrenaline-pumping events. The stretch from Reasi to Dera Baba Banda Bahadur is a haven for rafting enthusiasts, featuring rapids up to the 3rd grade, ideal for both amateurs and joy riders.

Chenab Valley: Yet to be embraced for Adventure:

Located in the Jammu region, the Chenab Valley stands as a pristine haven for those seeking adventure amidst nature. This region, encompassing districts like Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, and parts of Reasi, unveils a tapestry of unparalleled beauty and unexplored landscapes.

From the well-known Bhaderwah, Jai Valley, Padri Pass, and Sinthan Top to the lesser-explored gems like BalPadri in Bhalessa, KanthiDhar, JatroonDhar, Gasheer Top in Bhalessa, Rohari Meadows in Bhalessa, Lamhote Meadows, Bharmi Top, Mehad in Doda, Chilly Pingal in Bhalessa, Nargowari, Pangas Top, Dulchi Top in Bhalessa, DhanasoDhar, SoinBhagar, DamoteDhar, Dagan Top, Kota Top, Bach Dhar, Khurnal Chilly Meadows, Chowandi Meadows, MotiBagra, Jawali, ShilakundanDhaar, GohaDhar, Nagni Dar, MehalDhar, GingotaKakoti, Raj Goth, Mandral, GhillDhar, Jagsoon Meadows, KehanDharTalaie, Naglotan, Beersu (Beer Chu) Waterfall, MashoodDhar in Doda, Dessa valley, Sarola Top, LudduKansar, Gowalgoth, Ganthak, Stone Sculptures in SiwliBhalessa, and the world’s oldest cedar tree of Doda — each site offers a unique playground for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, and a glimpse into the region’s rich natural and historical heritage.

These places, some yet to be fully embraced, promise an unforgettable experience for those ready to explore the diverse landscapes and cultural treasures that the Chenab Valley has to offer. Whether it’s the thrill of skiing down pristine slopes or the serenity of remote valleys, Chenab Valley invites you to discover its hidden wonders and embark on an adventure like no other.

Despite the vast potential, Adventure Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir faced hurdles due to the absence of specific guidelines. National Tourism Day 2024 marks a turning point as the Department of Tourism, J&K, introduces guidelines for the registration and renewal of Adventure Tour Operators. These guidelines cover a spectrum of activities, ensuring a structured and safe environment for both operators and adventure enthusiasts.

As we celebrate National Tourism Day in 2024, the spotlight on adventure tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and the Chenab Valley reveals a world of untapped possibilities. From the snow-capped peaks to the gushing rivers, these regions beckon the intrepid traveller to embark on a journey of discovery and adrenaline-pumping thrills. With the introduction of Adventure Tourism guidelines, the stage is set for sustainable growth, ensuring that the natural wonders of these regions are explored responsibly, fostering a harmonious balance between adventure and preservation.

The successful execution of strategic initiatives, notably the iuntegrated development of tourist facilities, the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD), the Construction of Tourist Facilitation Centre, and the establishment of inner approach roads to previously unidentified locations, holds paramount importance. This expansion aims at creating a robust framework for discovering and showcasing thrilling destinations within the Chenab Valley, contributing to a holistic development of the tourism sector and enriching the overall visitor experience.

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