Direct link to scholarships offered by  Govt. of India

List of Private NGOs offering scholarships

Abu Marwan Abdal Malik Ibn Zuhr: ‘Avenzoar’

Abu Marwan Abdal Malik Ibn Zuhr, known in the west as Avenzoar, was

Ummid Assistant

IRF invites applications for Education Scholarship

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Regional

Prayers for peace as summer beckons tourists to Kashmir

Sunday May 22, 2011 12:43:26 PM, Sheikh Qayoom, IAN

Related Articles

Congress wants Kashmir solution to suit all three regions

The Congress Saturday said Jammu and Kashmir separatists should join other parties in talks with New Delhi to find a solution that respects the aspirations of all three regions of the state - Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir.   »

Srinagar: The shadows of violence still linger but the hills and meadows, lakes and valleys beckon, and tourists are once again flocking to Kashmir. It's summer and time for brisk business again as the peak season sets in with the fervent hope that the months will pass off peacefully.

As hotels, houseboats and guest houses in the Kashmir Valley get packed with tourists and everyone, from taxi drivers to handicraft sellers, reports good sales, Jammu and Kashmir's tourism industry is praying that there will be no repeat of the violence that singed the last three summers.

According to official figures, around 210,000 tourists, including 10,000 foreigners, have arrived in the Valley so far this year.

"We are so deeply impressed by the attitude of the local people. Not only those who own hotels, taxis or houseboats here but ordinary people who have no connection with our visit go out of the way to help us. Kashmir is a great place," said Sanjay Kumar, 27, who is here on his honeymoon.

The sheer visual beauty in this conflict zone have won over legions of fans over the decades. And they do this year too.

Scores of buses carrying groups of tourists reach north Kashmir's Sonamarg resort each morning, from where groups move uphill for a glimpse of the Thajwas Glacier.

"It is a slow moving mass of frozen snow...what a majestic sight", said Sunil Sharma, 48.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah maintains that tourist inflow into the Valley should not in any manner be linked with the political or the law and order situation.

"Let them come silently and go back silently," Omar tweeted recently.

The state tourism department too is enthused by the inflow and is eager to offer additional activities like adventure tourism.

"We provide technical support and expertise to rafters who come here to enjoy the thrill of rafting in the fast waters of the Sindh stream," said an official of the department in Sonamarg.

Most locals and those connected with the tourism industry are hopeful that the situation will remain peaceful this year.

"We have seen the worst times during the last three years... We have nothing to do with politics. All we demand is that we be allowed to earn an honest living to support our families," said 54-year-old hotelier Noor Muhammad.

Previous summers had started off peacefully, but events soon spiralled out of control in this conflict zone.

In 2008, the streets had erupted in protest against the government decision to divert 100 acres of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board for providing facilities to the pilgrims.

While protests erupted in the Valley in 2009 after the alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian, clashes between unruly mobs and security forces in 2010 left around 110 people dead. Violence during the peak tourism seasons hit the industry hard.

"We have huge bank loans to repay, besides maintaining an establishment. It is a well-known fact that a good hotel must at least have 30 percent occupancy to afford the running costs. The last three summers saw us literally living with our doors shut," said Rafi Ganai, a hotel owner in south Kashmir's Pahalgam hill station.

Taxi drivers suffered as well.

I have an Innova Toyota taxi and my monthly bank instalment is Rs.10,000. This has to be paid irrespective of whether I earn anything or not," said Zahoor Ahmad, a taxi driver in Srinagar.

Porters, 'ponywallahs', who give tourists rides on horses, and roadside tea-stall owners depend entirely on the tourist and pilgrim inflow for their annual sustenance.

"I must earn for myself and my family during four months and save enough to live for the rest of the year. Four months of no work means starvation for me and my family," said Wali Muhammad, 45, a ponywallah in north Kashmir's Gulmarg tourist resort.

"Although we had 270,000 tourists here last year up to this period, yet the turmoil that followed put a complete stop on their inflow," said an official of the department.

Fingers are crossed that the peace this summer is here to stay.


(Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted at



  Bookmark and Share                                          Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS




Top Stories

NCW wants CBI probe into assaults on Bhatta-Parsaul women

The demand for an indpendent probe into the alleged atrocities against farmers of Uttar Pradesh's Bhatta-Parsaul village intensified Saturday as the National Comission for Women (NCW) slammed the state government   »

Farmer fury spreads, death toll is four

As parties play politics of land, divides deepen


  Most Read

Thunderstorms, lightning leave 42 dead in Uttar Pradesh

At least 42 people were killed and 50 others were injured in thunderstorms and lightning that struck various parts of Uttar   »

Cyclonic storm kills nine people in Bihar

44 Syrians killed in 'Friday of freedom' rallies

At least 44 Syrians were killed in Friday's anti-government protests, an Al-Jazeera TV report quoted the national organisation for human rights as saying Saturday, Xinhua reported.  »

Protests break out in Syrian towns after Friday prayers


  News Pick

Congress wants Kashmir solution to suit all three regions

The Congress Saturday said Jammu and Kashmir separatists should join other parties in talks with New Delhi to find a solution that respects the aspirations of all three regions of the state - Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir.   »

Error forces Goa board to recall Class 12 mark sheets

Over 12,000 Class 12 students have been left in a lurch after the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (GBSHE) withdrew their mark sheets, claiming there were "errors in some cases". The   »

Indian mega satellite spins in geo transfer orbit

India's mega geostationary satellite GSAT-8 was spinning in an elliptical geo-synchronous transfer orbit early Saturday after an Ariane-V rocket successfully lifted it off the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, said a top official of  »

National Advisory Council seeks suggestions on anti-violence bill

The National Advisory Council Friday placed in the public domain the draft Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, prepared by its working group, for comments. According to a NAC  »

Violence breaks out Bhopal demolition drive, dozens injured

At least 15 municipal officials were injured after they were attacked by residents of a building during an anti-encroachment drive in the Madhya Pradesh capital Saturday, police said. Officials of the Bhopal Municipal   »


Picture of the Day

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov witnessing the signing of agreements between two countries, in New Delhi on May 18, 2011.

(Photo: BM Meena)



RSS  |  Contact us

| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant






About us




Government Schemes











Contact us





      Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.