ibnlive » India

Apr 28, 2007 at 05:46pm IST

Adventure sports to rescue J&K tourism

Srinagar: Shepu Pokey from Nepal is getting ready for rafting. For terror-stricken villagers of Doda district, this is novel sight, for they are finally getting a glimpse of the lighter side of life.

The administration is introducing adventure sports on the swift waters of the River Chenab in a bid to attract tourists.

Says the CEO, Bhaderwah Development Authority, Talat Parvez, "The socio-economic growth here has been retarded and in order to boost it, tourism is the only potential here."

Rafting on Chenab is taking place after a gap of over 18 years. The last time was when an Indo-American team led by Ken Warren went rafting down the river in 1989.

After that, three expeditions failed and then rafting completely stopped because of violence -- till six rafters from India and Nepal thought about rafting again.

Says Karakoram Explorers', Murad Butt, "We are the first people to come and explore the possibility of rafting here. We will document it for 18 years is a long time."

The state tourism department is training 20 local people and have roped in foreign tour operators to promote adventure tourism.

Says Swiss Tour Operator, Helen Suzaane, "After last year's grenade attacks on tourists, there had some impact on tourism, but I am sure this area would have foreign tourists because it is exceptionally beautiful."

During the years of violence, people in this region have been more familiar with the sound of gun than the sound of the roaring waters. But now, attempts are being made to explore the other side, like the adventure stored in this ferocious river.