‘Mini-Kashmir’ Bhaderwah is new hotspot for tourists escaping sweltering heat
Bhaderwah (JK), Jul 11: Known as 'mini-Kashmir' for its resemblance with 'paradise on earth', this township in Doda district of Jammu region is abuzz with activities as about 3,000 holiday makers have thronged the mesmerising valley on daily basis since the beginning of the tourism season in April. The record number of 2.21 lakh tourist arrivals between April 15 and June 30 led the local authorities to promote 'Home Stay Schemes' with a twin objective to ensure accommodation to the guests and help the locals to improve their economy. Escaping the scorching heat back home, the tourists who have come from across the country are happy for choosing the destination in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, 201 kms from the winter capital Jammu. Chief Executive Officer of Bhaderwah Development Authority Rajinder Prasad Khajuria said the tourist arrival this year has almost doubled compared to last year. "We have received as many as 2.21 lakh tourists from April 15 till June 30 against 1.15 lakh during the same period last year. We even received 12,000 tourists in a single day and right now, all the hotels and registered guest houses are packed,'' he said. To accommodate the extra flow of visitors, Khajuria said, they have introduced and are promoting 'Home Stay Scheme' on the pattern of Goa. The tourists, besides being enchanted by the beauty and culture of Bhadarwah, are also overwhelmed by people's hospitality. "Bhadarwah is the best place to spend your hard-earned holidays. Not only is the place beautiful, but people here are very nice and helpful," Geeta Rajpal, a resident of Haryana, said. Rajpal, a doctor by profession, said she along with her family are enjoying their stay in the lap of the nature. "We visited Padri meadow and due to cool breeze felt the chill in July, which is unbelievable.'' Khajuria said the space in the Bhadarwah Development Authority (BDA), tourism department owned guesthouses and hotels fell short due to the unprecedented flow of the tourists forcing them to utilise the private houses for accommodating the tourists. "People responded to the call and not only opened their doors for the guests but even fed them without charging a single penny. This is one of the most encouraging signs and beauty of rich culture," he said. Surrounded by snow-clad mountains, he said it was a good sign that the place is gaining popularity among the tourists. "A significant number of foreign tourists also came here to enjoy the eye-catching and stunning landscape with gushing streams,'' he said. He said popular destinations like famous Ashapati glacier, lake view resort, padri meadow, Jaie , Guldanda, Kheleeni, Chattargala and herbal garden has turned out to be the great tourist attractions. "It is unusual to see such a huge rush of tourists this year. It is very good for business community and the state's economy," local resident Nazim Malik of village Gatha said. He said he converted first-floor of his home into a guest house and have received 70 tourists in last 10 days.
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