Bandipora June, 21: Gurez valley in North Kashmir's Bandipora District is in limelight for being the untouched scenic spot and making the prime place in list of tourists across India after guns fall silent in this border area in 2020 when the armies of the two countries India and Pakistan agree to hold ceasefire pact.
The tourists started thronging the valley, administration along with the army stepped forefront and started tourism related activities in the valley.
Log hut, a cafeteria overlooking the Habba Khatoon peak is the very first cafe inaugurated by the army in Gurez on 24 August 2021 in Dawar of Gurez valley for tourists where they can have a cup of coffee besides their food of choice.
The cafe was dedicated to the locals of Gurez by the Indian Army as a “model cafe” to introduce the cafe culture and for the locals to emulate running small business models consequent to the boom of tourism in the valley.
The Log Hut Cafe is a perfect spot for the bikers, trekkers and locals to have a cup of roasted beans coffee. The cafe provides a wide range of food experience ranging from Pizza, Pasta, Momos, Grilled Sandwiches and weekend special cuisines from across the country.
The cafe has been hosting special events and musicals every weekend for the locals and tourists. A lot of local artists have performed in the cafe which is also helping in conserving the waning Dard-Shin culture of Gurez.
An army officer who works as army's nodal incharge for tourism related activities in gurez told Rising Kashmir that the main purpose to start the cafe was to create a space for the locals to socialise, as the area had no such joint. The cafe has now become an integral part of the lives of the locals of Gurez and the tourists visiting the valley as they can now be seen bonding and exchanging their culture over a cup of hot Coffee.
He said that at present four locals are employed at the cafe and are being provided on the job training in hospitality and administration of a cafe.
With the introduction of the Cafetaria, every person visiting Gurez makes a stop over here and the cafe always remains abuzz with tourists, he said.
The Cafe management who are the locals and have been provided training by the Indian army told Rising Kashmir that they are getting good response from people, both locals and tourists.
Ishtiyaq Ahmad, manager of the Log hut Cafe told Rising Kashmir that they have people coming in from breakfast to dinner and they are serving them good food which was not available in gurez before. "We have received good response as not only tourists but locals are also thronging the cafe", he said.