Gurez Valley or the 'Crown of Kashmir', which is sandwiched among the mountains along the banks of river Kishanganga in Bandipora district, would soon be accessible to the locals and tourists through the newly launched helicopter services.
Unlike the famous tourist destinations of Kashmir such as Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg, Gurez Valley is still an unexplored territory mainly due to the inaccessibility to the place. The seven hours long tedious road journey from Srinagar, almost 114 kilometers away has also prevented the locals and tourists from visiting the breathtaking location.
The Deputy Commisioner, Bandipora, Shahid Choudary took to Twiter to announce the launch of helicopter services to Gurez for next four months.
The service is likely to boost the tourism footprints to the Kashmir valley and also bring some cheer to the villagers who reside in the valley. Gurez remains cut off from the rest of the world for seven months due to heavy snowfall. Over the years, succesive governments have failed to consruct proper road infrastructure despite the likelihood of Gurez attracting a lot of tourists from worldwide.
The legend has it that the former Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and National Conference founder, Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah used to visit the Gurez valley often. Despite the mountainous terrain, many foreign tourists swear by the trek from Bandipora town to Gurez, although it is a no -go zone for amateurs.
The usual skirmishes between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control(LoC) that fences Gurez valley has also been a limiting factor preventing the tourist flow to the valley unlike Gulmarg and Pahalgam.
The soon to be launched helicopter services are therefore expected to bring some cheer to the tourism sector in valley and one more adventure to the tourists who are enroute to Kashmir.