Kashmiris want ecological footprint of Hindu pilgrimages in Valley to be reduced


konsarnagAs government announced Kausarnag, a pure water spring at Aharbal in South Kashmir, to be set as another destination for pilgrimage the people have began to show resentment. People began to pour their reaction on social media against this decision of government. It is believed that the places which are ecologically meant to be preserved are being used by government to meet religious interests.

“The places like Kausarnag are meant for occasional visit not to be exploited in the name of religious tourism,” says Muneer, a student. As per to the government plan the pilgrimage will begin from 29th of July in which 4000 people will embark on yatra.

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People say that though it is considered to be a sacred place by hindus but ecological dimensions cannot be ignored. “Kausarnag is a pure water spring and if frequented by visitors it will have a bad effect on its surrounding,” says Shabir Ahmad, an environmental science graduate.

As per to Hindu mythology the place is reckoned to be pious and ideal for observing pooja.
The prime aim behind arranging this yatra is to bring the place on tourist grid so that the economy will be boosted.

As per a tourism stake holder religious tourism in Kashmir has a tremendous scope and should be exploited to the fullest. “Yes! There are ecological concerns attached with pilgrimage but I thing that will be taken care of,” says Manzoor Wagnu a tourism stakeholder.
However, others are rejecting it tooth and nail and have began to show their resentment against this move.

“Government has already tampered the ecology at Pahalgam by allowing influx of huge number of Amarnath pilgrims,” says Mukhtar Ahmad, a banker. People say that Pahalgam and Sonamarg become mess during these months and pose a threat to the environment of these places.

“Government knows about the demerits of huge number of pilgrims yet they are trying to boost these measures,” Ahmad adds. Amarnath yatra initially used to long for some weeks but now it stretches out to one and half month which people say is increasing the ecological threat.

“We have already seen what happened at Kedarnath in Uttarakhand. We don’t want the same to happen here too. It is early and government should realise it before it is too late,” he says.

Lubna Reshi