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.
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.