Srinagar: The access to dreamlike forest huts in the idyllic settings of Jammu and Kashmir is just a click away.
Now there is no longer a need to move heaven and earth to find a contact to get you the elusive booking. The booking is now a click away as the Jammu and Kashmir Forest department has made the process online for the first time.
More than 40 huts in the forest glades of Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Doodhpathri, Kokernag, Dachnipora, Naranag, Thyan Kalaroos (Lolab), Gagangeer Kangan, etc are presently available on the official website of forest department.
A senior official from the forest department told The Kashmir Monitor that people fond of visiting and spending time in nature earlier did not have easy access to stay in the huts.
“It was only the ones with some connection with the officials who could manage to stay there but now with this new initiative everyone can stay there,” he said.
He added that the forest department is actively promoting the eco-tourism initiatives by opening forest huts for the public and training hospitality staff in various trades.
“This can cater to the demand of the nature lover tourists visiting the various forest areas. Also, as an outreach activity to improve public participation in forest conservation, it will improve the livelihood generation of forest-dependent communities at the same time,” the official added.
Ever since Srinagar’s famous gardens reopened last month, tourist arrivals have seen a sharp rise in the UT.
According to J&K tourism officials, March 2022 broke the 10-year tourist arrival record in Kashmir, signaling that Kashmir’s tourism industry is finally on the path to recovery.
Data show that 1,62,664 domestic travelers and 490 foreigners visited the Kashmir Valley in January and February. During the first three months of 2022, more than 3 lakh tourists arrived in Kashmir to enjoy the snow in Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam followed by spring tourism around Srinagar’s Dal Lake. Officials add that Kashmir’s Tulip Garden at the foothills of the Zabarwan range in Srinagar had received 2 lakh visitors within 10 days of opening for the season.
According to the union tourism ministry, 1.42 lakh tourists visited J&K during February alone, breaking the seven-year record.