Kupwara, Jan 22: Despite the prolonged dry spell affecting popular tourist spots in Kashmir, the snow-clad Bangus Valley is attracting people as it awaits development into a winter tourist destination.
Situated in the Shamsbari mountain ranges of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, Bangus Valley, with its pristine natural beauty, is gaining popularity among snow enthusiasts.
This winter, well-known tourist destinations like Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg, which usually are covered in snow during winter, have left visitors disappointed due to the prolonged dry spell. However, Bangus Valley blanketed in white snowfall, has emerged as an alternative attraction.
An official of the Forest department informed that the department is actively promoting and developing Bangus Valley to make it more accessible and appealing to tourists.
He said the authorities have undertaken various measures in recent years, including the development of essential eco-friendly infrastructure like washrooms and rain sheds. These efforts aim to enhance the overall experience for tourists, and the forest department anticipates a record-breaking number of visitors to Bangus Valley this year, he said.
“We are trying our best to ensure a record number of tourists visit the Bangus Valley. We hope it breaks all previous records this year,” he added.
Shahid Wani, a local associated with tourism, said Bangus Valley has enormous potential as an eco-friendly winter tourism destination. “The visitors mostly prefer off-beat destinations and the Bangus Valley is full of natural beauty, blessed with natural landscape, snow, forests and wide meadows,” he said.
Despite challenges such as newly constructed roads settling down and the need for additional infrastructure, we believe this place can become a preferred destination throughout the year, Shahid expressed.
However, some locals said the lack of infrastructure is a hindrance to Bangus Valley’s full development. They urged the government to invest in wooden and prefabricated rooms with necessary facilities to ensure a comfortable stay for tourists without harming the natural environment.
An official said the Bangus Valley remains under the jurisdiction of the forest department and has not been handed over to tourism/LBDDA authorities for infrastructure development. Although the place is new for tourists, the place provides livelihood to around 1,000 people, he said.
“We are optimistic that the Bangus Valley will soon become a most sought-after tourism destination in Kashmir,” the official added.