Border Tourism booms in J&K amid improved security situation

Srinagar, May 28: Abdul Sattar, a 50-year-old resident of Uri in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district, recalls the sleepless nights of 2020 amid relentless shelling. However, since the India-Pakistan ceasefire of February 2021, Sattar and others in border areas have breathed a sigh of relief. The tranquility along the Line of Control (LoC) has spurred border tourism, creating livelihood opportunities for locals.

“We had to move three kilometers back and stay in government buildings like schools during the shelling. Now, the government is promoting border tourism, generating significant employment for the youth,” Sattar said.
The ceasefire has emboldened tourists and locals to visit border areas in large numbers. “Since the ceasefire, many people have visited Uri, with numerous trekking in the area,” said Bashir Ahmad, another Uri resident. Most locals work in the Army and police, while others depend on farming.
Similarly, Teethwal in North Kashmir sees a steady influx of visitors. “I spent two nights in Teethwal, my first visit to a border area,” said Asif Ahmad from Sonawar Srinagar.
Keran in Kupwara also experiences increased tourist activity. However, locals urge the government to enhance facilities. “Borders in J&K should be developed like the Wagah-Attari border in Punjab,” they suggested.
Wagah, famous for its border ceremony, is a key transit point between India and Pakistan, located 24 kilometres from Lahore and 32 kilometers from Amritsar.
Gurez in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, once a major infiltration route for militants, is now a major tourist spot, thanks to the efforts of the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s administration and locals. Gurez was historically a vital Silk Route stop, connecting Kashmir to Kashgar in China. After the militancy outbreak in 1990, the area was closed to the public for security reasons. Over a decade ago, Gurez reopened to tourists and is now gaining popularity.
The government has been proactive in promoting Gurez, bringing tour operators and hoteliers to explore the area. Tourists now flock to Gurez to admire its scenic beauty. Manish Gupta, a tourist from New Delhi, spent three days camping in Gurez. “It was a lifetime experience. The beauty of Gurez is unparalleled,” he said, highlighting the area’s transformation from a militant infiltration route to a tourist haven.
In RS Pora’s Suchetgarh of Jammu, Sunjit, a 40-year-old Dhaba owner, has seen his profits soar by 200 to 300 percent in the last two years. “Since the ceasefire, many people visit the Suchetgarh border. My daily profits have increased from Rs 200 to Rs 400-600,” he shared.
Located 27 kilometers from Jammu city, Suchetgarh allows visitors a close view of Pakistan’s army posts, just a stone’s throw away.
Villagers across these areas hope for sustained peace, ensuring the ceasefire is upheld without violations, allowing border tourism to continue flourishing.

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