There is more to do in Gulmarg now. Due to unprecedented tourist arrivals in Gulmarg, easily going beyond it carrying capacity – the state Tourism Department and the army have worked together to open Botpathri (or Bota Pathri) in Nagin Valley for tourists.
Botpathri is 10 Kms from Gulmarg and only about 5 kms from the Line of Control.
Kashmir has seen a increasing flow of tourists or visitors – so much so that surely the Houseboats in Srinagar, or hotels and Pahalgam and Gulmarg are full to capacity. Its created congestion and traffic problems. Any more places opening up closer to these popular spots is a welcome development. Tourists can enjoy more, with more opportunities to hike and trek, or just spend a day. Hopefully the road to Botpathri can continue to be drivable and does not get too stuck in back and forth traffic.
Gulmarg is known for restrictions on cars driving in. Whether a tourist car can just drive away on Gulmarg-Botapathri road, or would need registration/permits, and subject to timings, remains to be seen.
Botpathri is located at an altitude of 9000 ft between Ferozpora and Nighli Nallahs. Botpathri is an erstwhile camping destination for trekkers and shepherds towards the Boniyar, Sultan Pathri and Choor Khud. Located in Nagin Valley- it was put out of bounds for trekkers, tourists and civilians in 1990 when militancy had erupted in the state. The exercise is sold as an instance of eco-tourism destination aimed to decongest Gulmarg.
“Journey to Nagin, located on the Gulmarg-Botapathri road, is an awesome experience as the mountainous road is completely shrouded in a cloud cover and visibility decreases to a few feet. The serenity of the place is evident as mountains change their colour with the intensity of sunlight.” The towering mountain peaks that surround Nagin to its south are the last patches of land before the Line of Control, located barely five kms away.
Though Army has co-operated well to open the valley, it has also warned that the decision may be changed in case the army feels security has been compromised by opening this place to tourists. The officials have expressed a need to maintain cleanliness in the area to save the “ecologically fragile” valley.
(with inputs and pictures from ANI, PTI and GK)