Snow fills Kashmir resort with tourists again(AP)
Snow fills Kashmir resort with tourists again(AP)

Tourists make way to the snow filled Kashmir resorts again

  • Gulmarg is once again filled with domestic tourists who are having a gala time skiing, sledging and trekking. That is not all, the resorts are sold out until February end.
AP, Gulmarg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 08:22 AM IST

Snow lies knee-deep in the pastoral town of Gulmarg, or “meadow of flowers,” on Indian-controlled Kashmir's high plateau.

With its blanket of white, the idyllic hill station is seeing tourists again fill its hotels and ski, sledge and trek its Himalayan landscape.

The heavy influx of tourists is a dramatic change for the tourism industry in disputed Kashmir, which faced the double whammy of the coronavirus pandemic and harsh curbs on civil rights India imposed in the region in August 2019.

Gulmarg was developed as a resort by the British nearly a century ago, and the region's eternal appeal with foreign visitors has made it a year-round destination. In summer, tourists meander through meadows, ravines and evergreen-forested valleys. In winter, they snowboard and trek on Asia’s largest ski terrain.

Snow covered Kashmir(AP)
Snow covered Kashmir(AP)

The 2019 end of Kashmir's semi-autonomous status and an unprecedented security clampdown morphed Gulmarg into a ghost town, an illustration of the region's economic ruin. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries pegged the economic losses in the region at $5.3 billion and about half a million jobs lost till August last year.

Snow covered Kashmir(AP)
Snow covered Kashmir(AP)

But worse was yet to come. Last March, Indian authorities enforced a harsh lockdown to combat the coronavirus, all but halting foreign travel.

The pandemic, however, made Indians reconsider their own vacations. Once snow coated the hill station last month, they decided to travel to Gulmarg when otherwise they might have gone abroad. And for the first time in 15 months, hotels are sold out till the end of February.

Snow covered Kashmir(AP)
Snow covered Kashmir(AP)

“Nobody is worried about the virus. Everybody is feeling free,” said Meenu Nanda, 38, an Indian tourist.

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
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