Kashmir opens eco tourism campsite

The tourism department in Kashmir has announced the opening of an eco tourism campsite.

The state, blessed with some of the best climate and scenery in the world, has now launched the initiative to protect wild animals and attract high-end, environment-friendly tourists. Tourism in the state in India had been hit because of insurgent activities and the economy, as well as difficulties putting the natural resources of the state to good use.

Now, in a move to make tourism popular nationally and globally, the Jammu and Kashmir government has commissioned what is believed to be the first-of-its-kind eco-tourism campsite. It is located in a Protected Area Network along the historic Mughal Road in south Kashmir. The campsite overlooks the Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary in Shopian district of Kashmir, and has been set up by the Wildlife Protection Department along a stream at Sukhsarai.

The camp, expected to allow tourists to get close to nature, is made of natural materials, mostly wood and grass. All weather tents have also been set up at the site. Tourists who spend time in the campsite would get a chance to see animals such as the wild goat, Markhor, brown bear, musk deer, Tibetan wolf, common leopard and hundreds of species of birds at close quarters.

Minister for Environment and Forests, Mian Altaf, said that the government was also planning to open more such camps in future at Daksum in south Kashmir’s Islamabad district.

Wildlife warden, Shopian Wildlife Division, Intesar Suhail, said, ‘All efforts have been made to prevent any disturbance to fragile eco-system of the sanctuary. The tourists who will stay at the campsite can enjoy the sight of Markhor besides 129 bird species and 20 mammals. The main objective behind the campsite is to develop love for wild animals and generate awareness for their protection.’