Sonamarg beckons winter travelers as Z-Morh tunnel aims to stay open
Post by Umar Raina on Monday, July 31, 2023
Ganderbal:After the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, the tourism industry in Kashmir has experienced an unprecedented surge in visitors over the past few years. Among the many famous tourist destinations in the region, Sonamarg, the uphill station in Ganderbal district, stands out with the highest number of tourists flocking to its scenic beauty.
The tourism season in Sonamarg has transcended the limitations of specific months, evolving into a year-round attraction, thanks to the visionary projects undertaken by the Government of India. The construction of two tunnels, the Z-Morh and Zojila Tunnels, has paved the way for seamless all-weather connectivity, making Sonamarg accessible to tourists throughout the year.
The Z-Morh Tunnel, currently under construction to connect Sonamarg from the Gagangeer area, is expected to remain open year-round upon completion, given the progress of work in full swing. Previously, this route would close during winter months, usually in December, due to heavy snowfall and treacherous road conditions, leaving Sonamarg isolated from the Summer Capital, Srinagar, for about four months.
Additionally, the Zojila Tunnel is set to revolutionize travel between Ladakh and Kashmir. Overcoming the challenges posed by snow and avalanches during the winter season, this tunnel will establish all-weather connectivity, further bolstering tourism in the region.
The primary objective of the Z-Morh Tunnel project is to explore new destinations and trekking routes, promote adventure tourism, and stimulate economic growth in the area. Many areas that remained unexplored during the turbulent decades are now within reach, opening doors to a myriad of opportunities.
Local youths associated directly or indirectly with the tourism sector in Sonamarg expressed their elation, as the past nine years have witnessed an unprecedented inflow of tourists, providing them with a stable source of livelihood. The Z-Morh Tunnel, bypassing the avalanche-prone region, is nearing completion, and for the first time, the administration is committed to keeping Sonamarg accessible to tourists during winter, transforming it into yet another winter tourist hotspot in Kashmir.
Speaking about the development, a hotelier stated, "This initiative by the administration has brought smiles to all those affiliated with the tourism trade. Tourists from different parts of the country, including international visitors, can now revel in the breathtaking beauty of Sonamarg, also known as the 'meadow of gold.'"