Zampathri, a remote village in South Kashmir's Shopian district has become an abode to hundreds of trekkers and tourists who want to explore nature. Given to its crystal clear waters and picturesque landscape, the place has attracted thousands of visitors from the last few months.
The place falls in the Keller block of the district and its fields and pristine spring waters have little parallel in the valley.
A 30-minute drive from the main town of Shopian, Zampathri has a lot to offer to the visitors. A enthralling green meadowsand tinkling Romshi river gives a soothes the heart.The place is a suitable place for paragliding, trekking, camping and other expedition pastimes.
The meadows adjacent to the spot includes Gaddar, Ringwald, Chotimargh, Hapatnard etc. For anyone who loves trekking and camping in the woods, these meadows can absolutely please them.
Recently as a part of the government's initiative to boost border tourism, the place was put under the new tourism village network program. Locals believe that this initiative will take this place to another level on tourism map.
While admiring this decision, the locals said, “bringing up Zampathri on a tourist map will surely bring a positive change on the ground and will play a vital role in employment of the young generation in the far-off tribal area.”
Showkat Chowdhary, a local, told Rising Kashmir that some immediate steps should be taken to make this place easily viable for the tourists and trekkers.
“Mobile connectivity is a bit weak, it should be improved. ATM facilities should also be made available to make the place a tourism village in real means. More importantly, the water supply for the region should be made available," he said.
Locals said that with integration into the tourist village, the place will have an economic boost and the tribal population will be eligible for the benefits of the tourist village.
Besides Zampathri, the other places in the Shopian which have been declared as tourist villages includes Dubjan, Hirpora, Sedow, Devpora and Kapal Mochan.
Shopian has some places that are fit for eco-tourism. Zampathri, Heerpora and the village of Dobjan are in the process of being promoted as ecotourism destinations. The locations have got the real beauty that can attract visitors. The places can provide a different experience for visitors that distinguishes the Mughal gardens in the valley.
Zampathri,a pleasant picnic spot, is only two kilometres from the headquarters of Tehsil Keller. The place has a plentiful area and is surrounded by thick forests and overlooks the high snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. The village serves as a base camp for the one of the largest meadows of Kashmir – Gaddar.
A famous roaring river Romshi flows under the green meadow which gives it a more exciting aspect. As the meadows are large, there is potential for paragliding and other adventure sports. Fortunately, the region is amongst the unspoilt places in the valley.
Many others believe if the mud houses of the tribal population are used as huts for the visiting people, it will be a traditional vision and will boost the tribal revenue.
Toilets, pathways, homestays and other arrangements are important elements in the development of requisite infrastructure. The very important thing to note is that the forest and natural balance must not be interfered with. Hopefully, ecotourism will surely manage that.
Forest Division Shopain has also come up with a trek route in the area. Tragpathri to Gadder trek route at Zampathri welcomes the trekkers and the forest department is also setting up benches and viewpoints to amuse visitors. The department is also planning to set up some new trails in the meadows there.
Mohd Ayoub Sheikh DFO Shopain told Rising Kashmir that the project to develop the meadows as an eco-tourism spot is also on cards.
“We will develop the Gaddar meadow and other meadows as eco-tourism spots. The mud houses (Kothas) will be refurbished and evolved as huts. The eco paths for the visitors will also come up in the area,” he said.
He further added that locals engaged as Van Mitra who usually provides information to the forest department about happenings will also work as tourist guides. These measures will also generate revenue for the tribal population.