Just over a year ago, border villages in Uri subdivision of Baramulla district were targets of constant shelling along the Line of Control (LoC). Now these villages are abuzz with activity and are fast becoming the main attraction of trekkers and tourists.
The villages were a target of constant heavy shelling for the last several years due to which the people of Uri had to relocate to other places in the valley. After India and Pakistan agreed to a strict observance of the ceasefire pact in 2021 things started to improve significantly which has provided hope to the residents of this border region of Baramulla district.
A trekker from Uri, Irshad Ahmad Khawaja, told Rising Kashmir that Uri subdivision was missing the entertainment quotient but observance of ceasefire between the two nations has given the people of Uri a reason for joy.
“This week I visited the shrine of Sufi saint Baba Fareed and I found peace there. It was a soothing experience.
“I appeal to the trekkers of the Valley to visit the beautiful areas of Uri and explore a new world here” he said.
Irshad has visited around six camping sites and stayed there for nights which otherwise used to be no-entry zones due to heavy shelling.
He said that after years of traumatic events on LoC in Uri, finally the locals here have some breathing space and time to enjoy a day out with their families.
Like Irshad, a large number of youngsters both from Uri and other districts are finding solace in trekking after the recent upholding of the ceasefire agreement.
A group of trekkers under the banner 'Pir Panjal Adventure Club' said though there was no restriction on trekking in the upper reaches, the fear of ceasefire violation is what was making them apprehensive about such an adventure.
“Earlier, the possible roaring of guns on the LoC used to prevent us from such adventure; however, the ceasefire has generated enthusiasm among us. Now the groups of young people can be seen trekking in the upper reaches of the area without any fear,” says Ehsan Lone, a member of Pir Panjal Adventure Club.
There are several places in the Uri area of Baramulla district which have huge tourism potential.
Ehsan Lone said the tourist destinations like Baba Fareed, Kandi, Rustom Nambla ( TV Tower), Dana Nambla, Nambla Waterfall, Bosiya, Copra Peak, Dudran, Dana Dudran, Chotali, Zulfiqar View Point, Bilal Abad Garkote, Machichurand, Lachipora Wildlife sanctuary, Limber Wildlife sanctuary, Ghati, Gabaywar and Vijee Top in Uri subdivision are the top sought after tourist destinations for trekkers in the recent months.
He said that earlier people were apprehensive about these areas but after taking permission from local authorities, they go for night camping, adventurous trips and explore new places without any fear.
Trekker Irshad Khawaja said the people of the border region of Uri have experienced traumatic events of destruction of life and property and now the trekkers and tourists are bringing life back to normal.
"Due to trekkers visiting the border areas and government's initiatives to boost border tourism, the Uri subdivision is witnessing a change. Uri market is witnessing a change, there is a huge rush of tourists visiting markets now. The tourism automatically boosted the economy of the subdivision," Irshad added.