Winter Sports in Pahalgam

Jitendra Pahalgam

There are few places where one can witness or take part in winter sports in India and Pahalgam is one such place where there are many efforts to promote winter sports and relate outdoor activities. Though there are intermittent disturbances in the area which hinder normal tourism and adventure activities, the peaceful times see a surge of promotional activities for winter sports in Pahalgam.

In January 2011 for instance, as Pahalgam was freezing with a temperature of minus 7.4 degrees Celsius, the snow festival was held in Pahalgam on Jan 30th for a duration of two days. There was participation of various teams for winter sports as well as in different cultural programs. Skiing, horse racing, snow sledging were part of the sports programs while bhand pather and dhambali were local sports played in this festival. The Tourism department was the main organizer and other officials and local trading bodies supported the festival. This festival drew a large number of local people as well as tourists to view the events.

Winter Sports in Pahalgam The promotion of winter sports and adventure tourism is a recent phenomenon in the Pahalgam area but the base has already been formed when the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports was set up in Aru. This institute conducts various courses on rock climbing, mountain trekking, as well as winter sports like skiing and skating. If there is sufficient snow fall in the winter months, the ski lifts in the Baisaran and Aru areas are being developed for skiers to learn skiing on these slopes.

As the Department for Tourism and Culture is trying to promote winter sports and adventure tourism in the region of Pahalgam, many other adventure sports such as para gliding, white water rafting are also being developed in this area. For those who are interested in adventure activities, will see the forthcoming years a lot of development in such facilities in Pahalgam. The infrastructure is being developed in this area to equip adventure camps and other sites whereby one can supply the right gear for white water rafting, para gliding as well as trekking and camping activities.

Thus, though a lot of development in terms of infrastructure and facilities are required, the state Government’s attempt to develop Pahalgam as a world destination in winter sports can increase the attractiveness of the Pahalgam region by many folds.

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