Srinagar, Jan 09: The snowless winter in Kashmir is turning the trip of thousands of tourists into a spoiler, with many deferring their visit to upcoming months.
In an unusual turn of events, tourists flocking to Kashmir have found themselves missing the magical allure of snow this winter.
The iconic snow-capped landscapes that usually define the winter charm of Kashmir have been notably absent, leaving visitors and locals alike in a state of disappointment.
As the region experiences a prolonged dry winter, many tourists who had planned their trips for white Kashmir have now decided to reconsider or even postpone their travel plans.
“This year we are witnessing a very unusual climate in Kashmir. Usually Kashmir would have experienced snowfall by now, but it is missing. It is a fact that tourists who have planned their trip to the valley with expectation to witness snowfall leave with disappointment,” said Rauf Tramboo, President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir.
Following dry weather, the usual flurry of activity in popular tourist destinations like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Sonamarg has been subdued, with visitors expressing a sense of longing for the snow-covered mountains that have become synonymous with Kashmir.
“Even the winter sports have been postponed. Majority of the tourists who postpone their trips are either sportspersons or adventure lovers who have planned to experience adventure during winter in Kashmir,” Tramboo told.
He said a good proportion of scheduled trips in the first two weeks of January got postponed or rescheduled for late January or February.
“We have a good number of bookings for late January and February. We are hopeful to witness a snowfall so that tourists come in heavy numbers and enjoy the adventure sports in the valleys of Kashmir,” Tramboo added.
Umar Ahmad said January used to be the peak season of winter tourism. “Kashmir during Chillai Kalan used to receive a good number of tourists. The visitors loved to experience the winter chill and especially the winter wonders including frozen dal lake and Frozen Drung waterfall. This year so far winter has been dry without snow, which doesn’t seem to attract tourists,” he said.
The delayed snowfall is equally hitting hard the ATK and sleighs owners who struggle to receive customers.
“January is the peak earning time for us. We are now struggling to earn a livelihood. Such is the conditions that pony walas operate in Gulmarg who would otherwise leave the destination in November,” said Nazir Ahmad, a sleigh owner. (KNO)