Discover the charm of Kashmir’s hidden gem as Gurez emerges as a winter tourism haven
In the last few articles, I wrote about Gurez Tourism in summer and visiting Gurez and its famous tourist destinations. This time I want to write about the winter season in Gurez and winter tourism in Gurez. Winter tourism in Gurez is a fascinating topic to delve into. Located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Gurez is a picturesque valley nestled in the Himalayas. Gurez, with its stunning landscapes and unique cultural heritage, offers a one-of-a-kind tourism experience for travellers seeking adventure and tranquillity.
In winter, the white blanket of snow adds to the beauty of Kashmir. The importance of snow can be imagined by this year’s Chilla-i-Kalan (40-day period of harsh winter in Kashmir) period when everyone, the businessmen, the farmers, the common people even the tourism authorities were seeing praying for the snow. The snow plays a vital role in boosting up the tourism business, winter support, agricultural land and the local economy. The valley is the choicest destination not just for the tourists and travellers but also for the film industries and sports activities. Besides other tourist destinations like Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, etc. Gurez is also a great place to travel and enjoy the beauty of Heaven Kashmir.
Gurez is the most beautiful valley of Kashmir, about 130 km from Srinagar. Travellers have now started to travel to Gurez to enjoy the pure natural beauty, but only in the summer season. The destinations other than Gurez like Gulmarg, Pahalgam etc witness a huge rush of tourists in winter also. The Valley of Gurez-Tulail also has a huge potential for winter tourism and winter sports. The snow doesn’t accumulate more than in Gulmarg or Sonamarg in Gurez, but being still undeveloped enough in the tourism sector this part of Kashmir is neglected.
Gurez is the most peaceful area for tourists, people are known for their great hospitality, virgin natural health resorts and tourist destinations that make one feel like heaven. Gurez is as much beautiful and appealing in winter as in summer. The thick blanket of snow adds to the beauty of the valley. Snow-capped mountains, white-coated trees, and beautiful white fields make the valley look no less like Switzerland.
One of the main attractions of winter tourism in Gurez is the snow skiing. Skiing in Gurez will offer a unique experience, as one can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains whilst skiing, feeling the rush of adrenaline as one navigates the powdery snow. The snow-clad slopes of Gurez can provide an ideal terrain for skiing enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you can enjoy gliding down the slopes indulging in this thrilling sport.
For nature lovers, Gurez offers a range of outdoor activities to enjoy during winter. You can embark on snow treks, exploring the pristine beauty of the valley and its surrounding mountains. The frozen lakes, such as Kishanganga Dam Lake, provide a serene setting for ice skating or simply taking a leisurely walk on the ice. The tranquillity and untouched natural landscapes of Gurez make it a perfect destination for those seeking solitude and connection with nature.
In terms of accommodation, Gurez offers a variety of options, including cosy guesthouses and traditional wooden cottages. These accommodations provide a warm and comfortable environment, allowing you to relax and unwind after a day of winter adventures. The local cuisine is also a treat, with traditional Dardi and Kashmiri dishes that will tantalize your taste buds.
Another highlight of winter tourism in Gurez is the opportunity to experience the local culture and traditions. The valley is home to the indigenous community the Dard Tribe, who have a rich cultural heritage. During winter, you can witness traditional festivals and celebrations like Shisher Lundi etc, where locals showcase their vibrant customs and traditions. It’s a great chance to immerse yourself in the local way of life and learn about their age-old traditions. The people during the harsh winters keep themselves busy in livestock rearing, knitting and making woollen clothes like traditional socks, gloves, pheran, etc.
The traditional log wood houses, the unique feature of the valley Gurez Tulail make the valley no less than a European countryside as Timber was material found aplenty in the Valley. An advantage of this system is that the thickness of the wood acts as a wonderful interior humidity and temperature regulator. These houses keep one warm during the harsh winters.
To promote winter tourism and winter sports, the local youth play different games like cricket, football, volleyball etc, they make snowy pitches in the nearby fields and spend their time playing different games there, organising cricket tournaments which are joined by the nearby village teams. In winter, the local administration and the tourism department should also hold different tournaments and games like road races, volleyball tournaments, carrom championships, and skiing competitions, which will show the high potential of tourist attraction and winter sports. Winter tourism offers a wide range of exciting experiences and destinations for travellers to explore. Whether you’re seeking adventure on the slopes, a peaceful retreat in a snowy village, or the chance to witness the beautiful cold evenings, Gurez winter tourism has something for everyone.
If winter tourism is developed in the valley of Gurez, the most beautiful Valley of Kashmir it can play a crucial role in Kashmir’s tourism industry and the local economy. With the road tunnel through Razdan Pass, tourist huts in different villages, better winter facilities, upgraded health care facilities, 24-hour electricity, etc this valley can also have a huge rush of tourists round the year.
Keeping the great significance of the tourist industry in view in the local Gurez economy, the district administration and the Kashmir tourism department should upgrade and develop this far-flung but very beautiful and attractive valley on the tourist map. Make the Gurez Development Authority like that of Sonamarg, Gulmarg etc. I am sanguine that this valley will be the number one tourist attraction for travellers, local as well as national and international travellers. The valley will be the fondest destination for travellers in both the summer and winter seasons.
Gurez winter tourism will help boost local economies by attracting visitors and creating job opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industries. It will also promote cultural exchange as people from different parts of the world come together to enjoy winter activities and traditions.
The writer is pursuing an MSc in Earth Sciences from IGNOU and is a social worker in Gurez-Tulail. He can be reached at [email protected]