Slowly but surely, Kashmir opens up to tourism

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Bikya Masr: NEW DELHI: The cold turf of the Indian conflict-ridden state of Kashmir finally appears to be thawing. The picturesque Nagin valley, a stone’s throw away from the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan in the conflict-ridden Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has been thrown open to tourists, after
more than two decades signifying a drastic reduction in terrorism in the state and is yet another step in a series of boosts, that Kashmir tourism has seen in recent times. The Nagin valley, which is blessed with pine slopes and snow capped mountains on either side, was closed for tourists as well as locals in 1990, following an eruption of armed insurgent militancy in the region. It is just five kilometers from the LoC, a line that05--gul marg-kashmir
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divides Pakistan Occupied and Administered Kashmir and India. The valley was thrown open by the Kashmir tourism department, which says it wants to promote the valley as an ‘eco-tourism destination.’ The Nagin valley is located around 10 kilometers away from the Gulmarg town, which is a ski resort and till date was the last point accessible to tourists visiting the state for the views of the Himalayas. “The valley will offer new and untouched terrain to the tourist and best camping site for trekkers,” Minister for Tourism and Culture Nawang Rigzan Jora said addressing the opening ceremony. The best part of a trip to Nagin is said to be the journey to there, as the mountainous road is completely shrouded in a cloud cover and visibility decreases to a few feet and when it lifts one beholds the Himalayas in all their glory. The mountains change their color with the intensity of sunlight. “We have been working on the development of this valley as eco-tourism destination.Kashmiri Houseboat
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After finishing all the modalities, Central Ministry of Tourism provided us financial assistance under a centrally sponsored scheme for accomplishment of the project designed to promote Botpathri as a new tourist destination,” Jora said. The state of Jammu and Kashmir has huge tourism potential, which is not achieved on account of the fear of terror acts that were once often known to disrupt the peace of the region. However, off late there has been a prolonged lull giving the state a chance at peace. Both India and Pakistan stake claim over the state and have gone to three wars on the issue. Source: Bikya Masr

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