Tossamaidan declared open as new tourism destination

The picturesque Tossamaidan meadow in district Budgam was today officially thrown open for public by the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, as a new tourism destination in the State. The Chief Minister declared the meadow open for tourism activities with the inauguration of 3-day “Tossamaidan Festival” in the midst of the sprawling pasture which is circled by sky -touching Deodars. Member Legislative Council, Saif-ud-Din Bhat, former MLA,
DR Mohammad Shafi, Secretary Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah, Deputy Commissioner Budgam, Mir Altaf Hussain, Director Tourism Kashmir, Mehmood Ahmad Shah, SSP Budgam, Fayaz Ahmad Lone besides thousands of locals were present on the occasion.
During the 3-day “Tossamaidan Festival” activities like horse riding, trekking and mountaineering will be organised by the Tourism Department to promote the area as a new Adventure Tourism Destination.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said Tossamaidan will be brought on the tourism map of the state as an independent and distinct resort without disturbing its fragile environment. She stressed the need for promoting the historic meadow through community driven adventure and rural tourism initiative to facilitate the turnaround of the socio-economic profile of the locals, especially the youth.
The Chief Minister also announced a new Tourism Development Authority for Tosamaidan to ensure focused and distinctive development of the area. “The Government will constitute a new Tourism Development Authority for Tossamaidan which will be integrated with Gulmarg, Yusmarg and Dodhpathri Tourism Development Authorities to promote it as an Adventure Tourism Circuit,” the Chief Minister said and added the circuit will be promoted for niche tourist activities like paragliding, trekking skiing, boating and mountaineering.
She said Tossamaidan has huge potential for adventure tourism apart from normal tour and picnic activities and winter and adventure tourism can take main lead in the area. She however stressed the need for preserving the fragile ecosystem of the area at any cost. The Chief Minister called for greater public-private interface to create a sustainable revenue model by optimally utilizing the available infrastructure locally to the economic advantage of the local residents. She said the Government would build the capacity of the locals in the tourism related activities so that they are the maximum beneficiaries of the tourist activities in their respective areas.
“To begin with, fifty local Kothawalas would provide the facilities to those visiting the Tosamaidan meadow,” she said and added that the Tourism Department would assist these Kothawalas to create the requisite facilities for providing adequate boarding and lodging facilities to the tourists.
The Chief Minister made it clear that she would never allow the picturesque meadow to be turned into a “concrete jungle” as has unfortunately happened with other tourist resorts in the State.
Tossamaidan, which was used by the Army as an artillery firing range for several decades, was handed back to the state government in 2014. It is the largest pasture in its surrounding areas with 3 miles in length and 1.5 miles in width.
Tossamaidan is not only famous as a pasture but also for its historical background. Bounded by dense forests, it is situated about 10 kms from Khag in the Himalayan range. After crossing the upper mountain reaches of Drang, Zakhora and other small villages, one reaches the pasture of Tosamaidan. It is said that Tosamaidan is one of those pastures which the shepherds of other neighboring countries also used to visit in ancient times. The Mughals used to go to Poonch using this route.

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