Kumrat Valley – Exploring bounties of nature

KUMRAT – Bewitching natural beauty, cul­tural richness and unparalleled hospitality of the diverse tourist’s destinations in Pakistan have always contributed to captivate the atten­tion of local and exotic nature as well as generate handsome revenues. Be­stowed with uncountable benedic­tion, Pakistan’s plains and hilly areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir and Northern areas present ample opportunities of amusement to hun­dreds of thousands tourist thronging these places every year.

Kumrat Valley, situated in the Upper Dir district of Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa, is also one of the beautiful discoveries of the social media with all its attractions of green pastures, snow clad mountains, the river Pan­jkora, foggy mounds and imperturb­able beauty of the forest. “The year 2016 proved as a turning point for the hidden beauty of Kumrat Valley to be revealed through social media and soon it became one of the fa­mous tourist’s destinations for the visitors”, Assistant Commissioner, Sheringal, Muhammad Yar Khan said. “Before 2016, there was not even a single hotel in the valley for the tourists to stay but later on small hotels were constructed in the for­ests by the local people to facilitate visitors,” he added.

The place is so beautiful that de­spite a 48 kilometer dilapidated track from Sheringal, Union Council in Upper Dir, tourist embark on this journey to visit the heavenly place. Although, this track was repaired sometimes back but damaged again due to frequent snowfall. “Despite the poor road conditions, around 6,000 visitors entered Kumrat Valley on the first day of Eid-ul Fitr, 8,000 on the second and 10,000 plus on the third day of Eid,” Muhammad Yar Khan said.

He said for facilitation of the visi­tors the administration maintains strict law and order. “Not even a single crime was reported during last one year of my posting therefore visitors can freely roam around the valley without any threat.”

Muhammad Yar however men­tioned to dearth of good doctors, educationists and other profession­als in the area as most of the people after getting good education move to cities or abroad for job purposes.

Former Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif visited the place during his tenure and wanted to give it the status of a National Park. But, local people resisted this proposal fearing that their land and forests would be confiscated by the government. Paki­stan People’s Party government estab­lished Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Uni­versity in Sheringal in 2016 and the PTI government in KPK also focused on forest conservation and promotion of tourism in the areas.

Meanwhile, an official of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police, Zaman Khan said that Deputy Inspector General of Police has issued strict instruc­tion to maintain law and order in the area. “We follow instructions and try to keep the area crime free,” he said but mentioned to language barriers and overcharging by ho­tels when asked about complaints registered by the visitors.

“Most of the visitors complain of language barriers, extra charging by shops and car parking as well as di­lapidated roads,” he added.

Around one million tourists vis­it the valley during the peak four months of summer season with most of them coming from Punjab and Sindh. This rising number of vis­itors has risen the number of locally constructed two star hotels to 45 in addition to small huts.

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