Traversing through India’s border tourism destinations
Civilians, including tourists, are now permitted by the army to visit Kaman Post and Bridge along with several other regions in the state.
The alpine peaks, composite culture and divine geological landmarks of Kashmir have long invited people from around the world. Essentially, a land of mountainous valleys and high brown-beige plateaus, nearly 1.88 crore tourists visited the state in 2022 and up until August, a record-breaking 1.27 crore tourists have arrived in the state with figures expected to cross 2.25 crore. But this winter might be the busiest yet for Jammu and Kashmir since the Department of Tourism recently cleared the way for visitors to explore destinations along the Line of Control in North Kashmir. “Many borders carry histories of conflict and division as luxury shouldn't come at the expense of local communities or the environment. Embrace the experience, but do so responsibly: engage with locals, respect traditions, and invest in authentic experiences. The true essence of luxury travel lies in fostering connections and understanding, ensuring that our footprint is both light and meaningful,” says Chhavi Chadha, Founder & CEO of Bespoke Tailormade Experiences.
From Gurez to Bangus Valley, here are some previously inaccessible regions you can now explore.
Keran: Along the Line of Control, Keran is a valley with meadows and a river. Nestled along the banks of the Kishenganga River, just an 85-km journey from Srinagar, this border tehsil in Kupwara district is an outdoor lover's paradise, complete with dense forests, and abundant wildlife. It is closely linked to the ancient Sharada Peeth temple and university, located a mere 41 kilometres away in the nearby Neelum Valley of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. The sacred site, active between the 6th and 12th centuries CE, remains an unfulfilled pilgrimage for Kashmiri Pandits.
Gurez: Located in the Himalayas, Gurez is a destination with peaks, pine forests, and the Kishanganga River. Navigating through multiple army checkpoints and presenting Aadhar cards for verification, travellers cross the 11,672-foot Razdan Pass to descend into the enigmatic Gurez Valley. Most choose Dawar as their base, a mere 4-hour journey from Srinagar. Proximity to the Pakistan border adds a layer of intrigue to this remote destination.
Kaman Post: The last outpost before crossing into Pakistan-administered territory, Kaman Post or Peace Bridge (Aman Setu) is an emblem of geographical and political divisions. The attraction situated on the edge of Baramulla district has been made accessible since July, with simple permission required from the local Army and Police to tour the landmark.
Machil: A settlement set among hills and pine woods, Machil Valley is located in the District of Kupwara (58 kilometres away from the town), bordering the northern outskirts of the Kashmir Valley. The Machil River flows through it, providing a picturesque setting. Today, you can explore it by making your way through the north of the Lolab Valley, and Zamindar Gali to experience offbeat camping, and hiking while learning about the local community and culture.