KASHMIR, India — As Covid-19 cases are declining steadily in the northern Indian Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir, the government has started rafting activities to revive adventure sports and tourism.

“Kashmir is famous for adventure activities,” said G.N. Itoo, Director of Tourism. 

Rafting is one of the attractive activities that always plays a tremendous role in inviting adventure lovers from across the world. 

Therefore, on July 5, the department of tourism and Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir in the Wussan area of the district Ganderbal organized white water rafting.

Map of Wussan India

“After the pandemic, this is the beginning of rafting and other adventure-related activities that attract a good number of participants, including some tourists who enjoy more than their expectations,” said Itoo.

“For the last few years due to the situation and Covid-related issues, government and non-government organizations could not organize such big activities to boost adventure tourism as well as adventure sports.”

He said after the cases started declining, few activities were organized adhering to Covid-19 protocols. Since rafting is one of the best activities associated with adventure tourism, it was chosen.

“Due to Covid, the adventures activities and tourism in the state had declined, but today we have started a water rafting for the season in Singh river,” said Rouf Tramboo, chairman of Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir. 

“There is a 7-kilometers [4.3-miles] patch in which there is thrilling white water. This is for those tourists who are interested in taking a joyride of white water rafting.”

Participants were seen happy after the decision; meanwhile, they also demanded that authorities should continue such events to boost the rafting culture in the valley.

“It is a good initiative by Jammu and Kashmir tourism,” said Umer Javed, a participant. 

“It is the first pandemic in sports free pandemic. It will boost tourism. And it will be good if such activities will also be organized in the future.”

Apart from rafting, other adventure sports boasted in Jammu and Kashmir are skiing, para-gliding, camping site, rock climbing, and trekking.

“An array of options exists in the valley for the adventure-loving visitors,” said the Department of Tourism, the government of Jammu and Kashmir, in a statement

“Some places in the valley where the adventure sports facilities are available are Gulmarg, Sonmarg, and Pahalgam. The mountain ranges, as well as the gushing rivers of the valley, provide abundant opportunities for adventure tourism in Kashmir.” 

“The challenge of the turbulent rivers is no less than that of the rugged mountains. The icy heights of the Himalayas are the source of some of India’s mighty rivers. Fed by innumerable streams, they race along tortuous boulder-strewn beds, cutting deep gorges and breaking into silvery white rapids.

The total Covid-19 cases of Jammu and Kashmir are 316,976, out of which 3,967 are active cases. Over 4,300 deaths have been reported in the Union Territory. 

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Amrita Das and Saptak Datta. Map by Urvashi Makwana)

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