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Visitors unhappy with timing, ticket limitations for visiting Hari Parbat Fort

Rabiya Bashir

Srinagar, Apr 08: Tourists visiting the Hari Parbat Fort here feel dejected due to the time and ticket restrictions put in place for visiting the site.

The visitors said they cannot properly explore the fort due to time restrictions.

“I and my family reached the main gate of the fort in the afternoon with a desire to explore the historic site and the temple. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to stay there in the evening. The paramilitary forces asked us to return,” said Jyoti, a tourist from West Bengal.

Another tourist, Mahesh from Gujarat said he was confused about availability of tickets.

“I have heard a lot about the beauty and fresh air of the Hari Parbat Fort. I definitely wanted to visit the place. I thought the tickets to the places tickets will be available at its gate, but I had to get them from the Tourism Department’s office at TRC. It was time consuming for me,” Mahesh said.

The fort is 200 years old atop Kooh-e-Maran hill at the centre of old Srinagar.

Its first fortification and outer wall was built by Mughal emperor Akbar in 1590 as a part of the new capital. It never saw completion, while the fort, as it stands today, was constructed in the 19th century during the reign of Shuja Shah Durrani.

Recently, in a bid to boost tourism, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister, Tassaduq Mufti, stressed on making the fort ‘cynosure of Srinagar city’s tourist activity’.

Besides plans to maintain its rich heritage, Mufti has also directed the officials to initiate synergised efforts for the preservation and promotion of the heritage site using light and sound shows and 3D projections, as the newest attraction in Kashmir’s tourism roster.

It was thrown open in 2007 after remaining closed for around two decades.

Mehmood Ahmad Shah, Director of Tourism Department, said, “We have kept Hari Parbat open for tourists as well as locals. If there are any complaints from the tourists and visitors, I will definitely look into it.”

“Visitors can get tickets at the fort from Interpretation Centre Chatipadshahi, Rainawari, or from TRC and also travel operators,” he said.

He said the department was planning to beautify the fort on the lines of Golkonda Fort situated in the west of Hyderabad. “There is Rs 20 ticket for locals and Rs 50 ticket for non-locals,” he said.

Rajesh Yadav, PRO, Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF), said that there is a particular timing for visiting the place.

“Nobody stops the visitors but there is a timing to visit the Fort.”

“They can visit from 9am to 5pm any day. Pilgrims are visiting the Sharika Devi temple and Tourism Department has also opened up a restaurant there,” he said.