Expedition to Gartang Gali retraces ancient trade route to Tibet in Uttarakhand

Gartang Gali bridge, a 105-metre wooden bridge on an ancient trade route to Tibet is believed to have been built by Peshawar Pathans.
A view of Gartang Gali, the ancient trade route to Tibet from India.(HT PHOTO)
A view of Gartang Gali, the ancient trade route to Tibet from India.(HT PHOTO)
Published on Sep 28, 2020 10:37 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Uttarkashi | ByVipin Negi

A 40-member team in five vehicles started its expedition to Gartang Gali in Nelong Valley in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district near Indo-China border on Sunday on the occasion of World Tourism Day.

Gartang Gali bridge is said to be an ancient trade route to Tibet. The famous 105-metre wooden bridge in the area is believed to have been built by Peshawar Pathans.

Gartang Gali bridge is at a distance of 90 km from Uttarkashi. The expedition members will also visit Jadung village, another 60 km away and are expected to return to Uttarkashi Monday afternoon after a 300-km round trip.

The bridge has been damaged over the years after it fell into disuse following the Indo-China war in 1962 when it was declared off-limits. Since 2015, restricted tourism under special permission from the Centre has been allowed in the area.

The 40-member team which also includes people from communities that lived in Gartang Gali area but were displaced and rehabilitated after the bridge was declared off-limits, left for Nelong and Jadung villages on Sunday morning in sunny weather.

The expedition was organized by adventure sports company Where Eagles Dare, Uttarkashi district hotel association and the Anagha Mountain Association. The expedition was flagged off by circle officer of Uttarkashi police station, Dewan Singh Mehta.

The three orgainsations sought permission from the district administration, forest department and tourism department for the expedition. Only after that, the expedition members were allowed to visit till Nelong valley and the starting point of Gartang Gali during the day.

Ajay Puri, convenor of the Anagha Mountain Association, said that Gartang Gali is a unique engineering specimen.

“Gartang Gali was the main route of Indo-Tibet trade. It is said that during the Indo-China war in 1962 locals from the Jad community from the areas of Nelong and Jadung were displaced and shifted to Bagori and Dunda villages of Harsil valley. Through this expedition, we are trying to bring in the forefront the culture of the Jad community,” said Puri.

Meanwhile, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat during a virtual round table discussion on the topic of ‘Tourism & Rural Development’ organized by the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board on the occasion of World Tourism Day, said that theme-based tourist spots will be developed in every district in the state.

“Tourism in Uttarakhand has a lot of employment potential, which is why theme-based tourist spots are being developed in every district in the state. This will help in bringing tourism opportunities back on track after the slowdown due to Covid-19 epidemic,” said Rawat.

Satpal Maharaj, state tourism minister said that the tourism sector has contributed significantly to the GDP of Uttarakhand.

“We are moving towards eco-tourism. Efforts are being made to increase the livelihood of the local people through tourism and pilgrimage. Our effort is to turn disaster into an opportunity. Along with rural development, several efforts are being made by the state government to promote tourism in the mountainous regions. In the coming days our overall efforts will again change the picture of Uttarakhand with tourism activities improving people’s livelihood,” said Maharaj.

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