Kashmir’s Winter Wonderland | Exploring the potential of winter sports and tourism in kashmir

Kashmir is full of potential that needs to be explored and made accessible to the world for the greater good. The various potentials within the region can contribute significantly to the development and progress of the nation. The crown state, Kashmir Vale is gifted with lot of potential and beautiful jewels which has huge economic growth with a wide scope for both winter and summer sports, promising enormous tourism potential that can significantly boost our national economy. What we need is to make these potentials accessible and explore them with proper facilities and investments. This will enhance our returns.

Last year, we saw a few sports activities in various districts, and several places were included in sports tourism. These are actually two things: winter sports and winter tourism. Winter tourism will boost winter sports and will provide entertainment for tourists as well. In recent years, we have witnessed infrastructural development such as roads, accommodations, and accessibility being made available in all tourist destinations. These destinations remain underutilized due to lack of snow clearance and heavy snowfall. Places like Bungus, which have beautiful roads and access ways, can be made accessible during winter as well. Even if we can’t fully support winter sports, we can explore winter tourism opportunities globally. This year, people living near the borders hope that the activities conducted during summer in the newly developed tourist places can continue during winter as well, as these places are equally attractive and enjoyable in winter. Steps need to be taken to promote winter tourism even during snowy conditions. Suggested recommendations should be put into action to promote winter tourism.

Kashmir witnesses harsh winter in which all the activities remain shut. Normally, during winter we remained jailed in our homes and youth frustrated under the four walls. Four months snow bound need to be enjoyed with sports activities that will boost tourism. Let winter be a season of enjoyment and a source of entertainment.

Sports and Winter tourism potential in Bungus Valley: The Winter Carnival significantly boosted winter tourism. Last year, various activities took place in the crown district of Kupwara, where both locals and national and foreign guests participated during winters. The district administration organized and conducted various winter sports activities and games. These events brought immense joy to the locals and provided opportunities to learn, engage, and explore.

The administration introduced new activities during winters, such as snow skating, skiing, and rafting. Students and people, in general, enjoyed these activities in the new atmosphere. In Glamorous Drangyari, Kupwara, very close to Bungus, Asia’s largest grassland, the district administration-initiated snow activities for tourists. The government made services available for tourists and invited various visitors to witness the beauty of the snow-covered landscape. This year, we observed a significant influx of tourists and an economic boost due to the promotion and improved infrastructure of border tourism. In North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, the Lieutenant Governor visited the world’s beautiful green land, Bungus, twice. These initiatives have not only enhanced tourism but also provided economic opportunities for the region.

Bungus as Sports Tourism: We have heard of Gulmarg as the famous destination for winter sports, but Bungus, I confidently claim, is a paradisiacal terrain for winter sports lovers. It is, in no case, less in quality and charm than the world-famous destinations; indeed, it is more immense and gigantic! The landscape in Bungus is vast and immense, architected by nature with meadows extending over miles of square kilometres, foothills, and tablelands.

Thus, Bungus Hill Destination offers a larger-than-expected playground for winter sports at the national level. It is an incredibly entertaining playfield for games like Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, snowboarding, etc., and snow-related games – though subject to the availability of infrastructure – like Curling, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Ice Hockey, and Ski Jumping will add a lovely aroma to tourism in Bungus. Bungus has a charismatic surrounding which will be more beautiful and joyful. Shamsbari Forest Mountain’s backdrop gives the valley, Dringyari, an enthralling look, and a willow-tree-lined brook flowing through the valley makes the spectacle extremely captivating. Far from the polluted air of cities and towns and far from the hustle and bustle, a picnic with your family or a trip with your friends in the ever-fresh and ever-lively ecosystem of Drangrayri Valley is worth doing.

There is no doubt that the developmental works on Bungus are underway. The roads from the northern and southern sides are motorable, staying at night is not yet possible because of the non-availability of hotels. At the main Bungus ground, the Indian small army camp is the only option. To give it a boost, we can kick-start snow tourism in Bungus, as the roads are fully functional; only snow clearance is needed, that too for ten kilometres. Night stays are also possible in 4-season tents. Near 12 kilometres, home-staying is also available on both sides: Mawer Valley, Wader, and Dringyari areas. Hospitality is characteristic of the people of Kashmir, so home-staying offers a delightful experience here. Nights in Bungus are incredibly pleasing during snow; it will be a dream come true.

To kick-start, we can select a group of people from the nation accompanied by international winter tourist experts who can see the potential and recommend its scope and other important aspects. This will raise expectations among the locals and also highlight winter sports as well as winter tourism in Asia’s largest grass green land. Other tourists can visit nearby tourist places which have both accommodation and accessibility. Until Bungus is fully developed, we need to devise a plan for its development, economic potential, and tourism growth incorporated with sports activities as much as we can. For administration they can chalk out the possibilities of starting winter sports and winter tourism even can opt suggestion from the public. 

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