The Many Treasures of Yousmarg

The Many Treasures of Yousmarg


Situated about 50 km from Srinagar, Yousmarg is located in the western part of Kashmir Valley. It is often designated as the Meadow of Jesus as it is believed, by the Ahmadiyya Muslims, that Jesus had once visited Kashmir and stayed at Yousmarg for some time (source: Wikipedia). Surrounded by almost round-the-year snow-clad Pir Panjal mountains, this landscape is home to varied plants and animals among which pines are a prominent sight. A small dam in the vicinity of Yousmarg adds beauty to the landscape and is also a fishing spot for the locals in particular as well as for tourists. The tourist hotspot, though, in Yousmarg is the river Doodh Ganga that flows down high-altitude peaks and makes this place more alluring. About half an hour trek from Yousmarg to the river gives trekkers a picturesque view of wild alpine forest. From the river Doodh Ganga, a 5km trek to the north-east leads to an eye-catching lake named Nilnag, which is located in the village Gogji Pathri. Further, a 10km trek from the river Doodh Ganga leads to an oval shaped meadow called Sang-e-Safed (white rock) which is another tourist attraction, besides Haigen (4km from Yousmarg) and Lidder meadows.
Despite all these scenic views, trekking spots, fishing grounds and much more, Yousmarg is the most underrated tourist spot in Kashmir Valley. The Yousmarg Development Authority was set up with the aim and responsibility of promoting and developing the Yousmarg meadow. Since then, the authority has done commendable work by constructing a few captivating huts, public conveniences, one kiosk, pony tracks and a couple of parking lots. But when these are compared to Gulmarg and Pahalgam, they are no more than paltry. There is Gondola ride, paragliding and skiing at Gulmarg and at Pahalgam is an amusement park, a fishing park, 10,000 budgeted accommodations with 318 registered guest houses, and a golf course
Yousmarg has great potential as a tourist attraction. A Gondola ride from Yousmarg to Doodh Pathri or to Nilnag or to Sang-e-Safed may prove highly appealing to nature lovers. As per tourism officials, the best time to visit Yousmarg is between May and September, but I believe that Yousmarg can attract tourists throughout the year just as Gulmarg does. Yousmarg gets heavy snowfall during winters and spots like Sang-e-Safed remain snow clad throughout the year. There are ample possibilities of making Yousmarg a hotspot for winter games likes skiing and others.

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