Adventure sports enthusiasts flock to Galiyat for snow games despite rainy weather

Adventure sports enthusiasts flock to Galiyat for snow games despite rainy weather

ABBOTTABAD, Apr 13 (APP):Arrived with the baggage of cooked food, fruits and tents for camping at the picturesque Thandyani, Qaiser Khan’s family, a former Wapda employee, rejoiced after visiting their dream tourist resort to enjoy snow games, mountaineering and trekking amid rainy weather conditions.

Qaisar and his sons, Zershan and Ehtisham, were enjoying national and cultural songs such as “Sohni Dharti” and “Monga da Khyber Zalmi” on their music system. They were also busy fixing and hammering bolts on tents in a suitable location in Thandyani. The family was looking forward to enjoying the rainy weather on the weekend without any cost.

Amid disappearing sun behind clouds hovering over Thandyani hills amid blossom of seasonal flowers, Qaiser’s wife who belonged to Wapda Town Nowshera was seen preparing green tea on gas stove after warming up the Peshawari’s famous Chappli Kabab, Paye and Polao rice dishes they brought along and making it ready on ‘Dastarkhwans’ to serve her family members on Saturday.

“Galiyat is my favorite tourist place. I planned Galiyat’s tour a few years ago but postponed it due to travel restrictions owing to COVID-19 pandemic and today dream of my family to see its mesmerising natural beauty with soothing environment came true,” Qaiser told APP. “I was stunned to see the nearby black clouds, natural beauty and cool fresh air of Thandyani and advised families to come here in large numbers due to its better road connectivity.”

Wearing traditional Peshawari Chappal, the 59-year-old tourist said that he had brought tents and other stuff along as the hotel room and food costs were very high for a common man at Galiyat.

“The rent of a normal two-bedroom per night in Thandyani and Nathiyagali is approximately Rs10,000 to Rs12,000 was beyond of hiring capacity of the middle class”, he said.

He said that he had selected Thandiyani as his first camping site as the tourists can see the snow-covered Pir Panjal mountain range of Kashmir and lush green terrains of Kaghan and Kohistan besides snow-clad ranges of Swat and Chitral from Thandyani top having 2,750 meters height of the above sea level, which are taking nature lovers and adventure sports enthusiasts over the moon.

Like Qaiser Khan, hundreds of thousand of families and tourists arrived at northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa especially Malakand and Hazara divisions including Galiyat and Thandyani to explore its waterfalls, gushing rivers, Saiful Malook, Ansoo, Dudipath and Mahoodhand lakes and colonial era tracks besides enjoying the expansive trout fish and water boating in River Kunhar at Kaghan and Khanpur dam at Haripur.

“Despite torrential rains in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces, the response of tourists, adventurers and adventure sportsmen in Malakand and Hazara during Eid holidays was impressive,” Saad Khan, the spokesman of Cultural and Tourism Authority told APP on Saturday.

He said thousands of tourists and adventure sports enthusiasts visited the Malakand and Hazara divisions during the last three days’ vacation of Eid exploring its breathtaking beauty.

Dir Upper, Malam Jabba Swat, Galiyat including Thandyani and Nathiagali, Chitral Lower including Kaslah valley and Kaghan and Naran including Saiful Malook and Ansoo lakes in Manshera distric were the most visited destinations during Eidul Fitr holidays.

Israr Ahmad, Sales and Marketing Manager, of Swat’s Serena Hotel said domestic tourists’ response to Swat during Eid days was higher than last year due to enhanced roads infrastructure and Swat Expressway.

He said that tourists families from other cities including Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore have visited Swat in large numbers during Eid days due to better road connectivity and enjoyed trout fish besides water rafting and paragliding in Kalam.

Tourism will not grow to its full potential unless we promote sustainable and planned tourism as per international practice, Saad Khan said.

To promote sustainable tourism, he said four Integrated Tourism Zones (ITZ) would be developed at Mankiyal Swat, Thandyani Abbottabad, Ganol Manshera and Madaklasht Lower Chitral. These ITZs would be constructed with a loan grant of USD 70 million of the World Bank, and that its feasibility studies and master planning was in advance stages and practical work would launch soon after completion of all codel formalities, he added.

He said ITZs Thandyani and Mankiyal would be connected with Swat and Hazara motorways through link roads that would open up entire Malakand and Hazara for tourists and make Pakistan a hub of international tourism.

KP government signed 44 memorandum of understanding worth USD 8 billion with international firms during Dubai Expo 2022.

To promote skiing sports, Saad Khan said the government has taken a principle decision to establish ski resorts at Kaghan, Chitral and Swat.

Four new hill stations including one each in Chitral and Abbottabad besides two in Kaghan would be developed.

The spokesman said the construction of four colonial-era tracks between Thandyani-Nathiagali having 8,200 feet height, Thandyani-Biringali track, Dagri Bangal-Meera Jan-Nathiagali track and Kaghan-Mahmnoor trak starting from Singkayari to Kund Bangla and onward to Shaheed Pani Nadai Bangla to Musa Ka Musllaha were in pipeline.

He said internationally waterfalls was a big source of attraction of tourists and the government has decided to develop Lamchar, Sajkot, Noori, Chajjan Haripur, Jarogo Swat, Lanchar Dir and Umbrella Abbottabad waterfall on modern lines to bolster ecotourism.

Jarogo Abshar, Sulatar Swat, Lashkargas Broghal and Surlaspur Shandur in Upper Chitral, Kumrat Dir Upper, Kalam, Lilowani and Alpuri Shangla, Samani top Hangu/Orakzai, Laram top and Bin Shahi in Lower Dir were selected for establishment of new camping pods.

Besides the construction of the theme park at Hundi Swabi, he said federal and KP government policies have helped improve Pakistan’s international place from 89 to 83 in the international travel and tourism development index, which was a great honour for the country.

 

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