Govt Yet To Bring Daksum, Sinthan Top On Tourist Map15 July 2011
Kokernag: With famous health resorts like Gulmarg and Pahalgam overcrowded by ever increasing tourist rush, the government is yet to bring Daksum, Sinthan Top and other scenic resorts in south Kashmir on the tourist map and provide holiday-makers a varied choice. “Prior to 90’s, Kokernag, the heart of Brengi river valley and famous for fresh water springs used to attract large number of tourists every year but off late the callous approach of the government has turned these scenic spots into a forgotten place,” said a resident. “The water of these springs is the purest and digestive. There was a proposal to export the water of this spring in bottles to other parts of the country,” he said. “Locals here are against construction of concrete structures but they feel the need to develop this place as an eco friendly tourism destination to regain its glory as it has chain of tourist spots from Achabal to Daksum to Sinthan Top. Besides, Kokernag is also connected to Verinag, another scenic resort known also for the springs and origin of Jehlum River via link road,” he added. “We don’t want this place to be turned into a concrete jungle like Pahalgam. But what we want the basic infrastructure should be provided to woo the tourists,” he said. They said that government should construct some huts and restaurants in the area and also encourage the locals to turn their houses into small guest houses with a traditional look to provide accommodation to the tourists. “We don’t want the ecology of this region to be disturbed at the cost of the development. So, the government instead of inviting the hoteliers to construct huge hotels in this area, should focus on beautification of adjacent villages like Vailoo, Gohan, Bidihaad, Bidar, Hillar, Wangam, Larinoo and Dandipora and provide accommodation to the tourists there,” locals said. They said that Daksum Wildlife sanctuary and fish farm in Kokernag should be properly maintained. “Situated en-route Kishtwar the small hill resort of Daksum located at 2,438m along the Brengi river valley can be an attraction for tourists as it has a Wildlife sanctuary, sheep farm and dense forest but sans any proper infrastructure. The Rest house and Tourist Bungalow are in shambles,” the locals said. The place is known for plenty of camping spots and from Daksum the trail rises fairly steeply to the Sinthan Pass located at the height of 3,748m. “The projects undertaken by the Kokernag Development Authority (KDA) including the development of a Public Park at Dandipora, Club Park and Hill View Park to facilitate the tourists is going at snail’s place,” locals said. He also complained the delay in the execution of up-gradation project of Kokernag- Sinthan-Kishtwar route was preventing the people on both sides from accruing the economic benefits. People also complain that the Matigawran- Warwan road project taken up by then Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad was left midway and though light vehicles ply on this route during summer but it is fraught with dangers. “If this stretch is fully macadamized and made fully operational it besides mitigating the sufferings of far off places of Kishtwar including Inshan, Warwan, Marwah and Dachan would boost the tourism,” said Haji Ghulam Muhammad. He said the Matigawran-Inshan-Warwan Road is a very difficult one and remains open in summers only, so government should work on its up gradation to make it more accessible. He said Mati Gawran on Kokernag side could emerge as a trade mandi for cross- Pir- Panchal commercial activities. “The efforts should be made to attract tourists visiting Kashmir to take the return route via Kokernag for a visit to Warwan and Marwah, the beautiful valleys in Kishtwar besides some other scenic spots like Inshan Top, Margan Top, Dachan, Aalwi Maidan and Fambar Nallah ( known for trout fish),” residents said.