India’s Ministry of Tourism approved new tourism projects worth almost INR5 billion (US$74 million) in the northern state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Under the ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme, which is aimed at developing a series of tourism “circuits” around India, the new projects are split into separate areas, each costing approximately INR1 billion.
Highlights include the development of a convention centre in Gulmarg, the creation of “ethnic villages” to highlight the region’s culture, a new water sports centre at the Baghliyar Dam, and a new sound and light show at Shalimar Bag.
Broader tourist facilities will include the launch of interpretation centres, base camps for trekking, a facilitation centre for pilgrims, the illumination of heritage structures, the provision of eco-friendly vehicles, and the improvement of golf courses across the state.
The tourism circuits earmarked for funding and improvements include the Mantalai-Sudhmahadev-Patnitop Circuit (INR999.9 million), Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh circuit (INR999.8m), Rajouri-Bafliyaz-Shopian-Pulwama Circuit (INR999.9m), and Anantnag-Kishtwar-Pahalgam-Daksum-Ranjit Sagar Dam Circuit (INR997.5m) million). In addition, INR999.9m has been assigned for the overall development of tourist facilities and repairing assets damaged by recent floods.
The tourism funding forms part of the Indian government’s overall development package for Jammu and Kashmir.