Current Situation in Srinagar for Tourists

Discussion in 'Travel News / Updates' started by Vargis Khan, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Each year, as the tourist season in Ladakh starts, one of the foremost questions asked is whether or not it is safe to travel via Srinagar. As a matter of fact, it is not applicable to only people traveling to Leh. Almost everyone who travels towards Kashmir wonders if it is safe to be there or not. Starting this general discussion thread that can be updated as and when the situation in Kashmir changes. Along with that, mentioned below are a few general tips that should be considered when planning a trip to Kashmir or when traveling through Srinagar.

    Srinagar is one of the most visited and favorite hill stations of our country but unfortunately very affected by the unrest and negative publicity. I wrote an article a few days ago listing all tourists areas in Srinagar and if you read through it at the link below, you will notice that probably no other hill station in our country offer as much as Srinagar. But then there is also the fact that it is also among the places where any tourist will think twice before going. If you look at the facts however, there is hardly any tourist destination where tourists have not been involved in a tragic incident. As a matter of fact, such incidents will be more at other places than in Srinagar.

    The first thing to do before you go towards Srinagar is to get information as accurate as possible keep a close check on the news and if there is any strike or protest happening, best to either cancel or postpone your plans. If you have a local contact who can give you exact information, then nothing like it.

    From a geographical standpoint, Kashmir Valley starts once you cross Jawahar tunnel on Jammu- Srinagar highway. So if there is any unrest in the valley, it will most probably be after you cross the tunnel towards Qazigund. On the Leh side, your chance of getting affected by this unrest will be only as far Sonamarg, once you cross Zojila towards Drass, it is very unlikely that any tense situation in Srinagar will hamper your travel.

    Tourism is probably the backbone of Srinagar's economy and the locals here are well aware of it. If people stop visiting the valley, more than half of the city will be jobless. In an effort to sustain, people in Sriangar will make every possible effort to not have their issues affect any tourist. It is rare that a tourist will get harmed in any way. Either the Army, police or sometimes even locals will escort them out of the troubled area or the city itself.

    I spoke to a few locals about it and one general feedback I received was that when unrest happens, it is mostly limited to a specific area within a small diameter; restricted to a limited number of people. This kind of even makes sense; afterall we all have to work to earn our daily bread. Who would rather shut down his business and go stand on the road pelting stones at the risk of getting shot upon? As far as I could understand, common people of the valley are affected by any turbulence far more than anyone else.

    With that being said, who can really guarantee anything when there is a curfew all over the city? Few safety precautions have to be observed by everyone; be it a local or a tourist. You do not really want to be in the wrong place at a wrong time. If there is any kind of band or strike called, best to wait for it to get over rather than driving through Srinagar. If stone pelting breaks out, it will result in every vehicle getting attacked, be it a local, non-local, military, or police. If you must however travel during any such incident; then Army will arrange convoys from one end of Srinagar to other. Usually these convoys either run at night or at wee hours. Wait for this convoy, join it and travel through the city. Ifyou are catching a flight to Leh, then there should not be any problem in catching a cab from the airport to the hotel. If however you were already in Srinagar then it is best to stay indoors in your hotel room and not step out at all until it is all cleared. Avoid taking a road journey at any cost during any unrest or turbulence.​
  2. subbu

    subbu New Member

    Hi Vargis Khan,

    I am subbu from Bangalore, I have been planning Ladakh trip since last 7-8 years, Last year I booked air tickets and cancelled just few days before my journey date due to some unavoidable reasons. Again this year I made it and I will be reaching Srinagar on 25th May. I keep reading your blogs and advise. You are really doing a great job.

    We are two families with 3 kids (between 10-15 years) will reach Srinagar on 25th May afternoon and stay at Sringar. Planning to leave Srinagar next day early moring towards Kargil. My itinerary is as below:
    Friday Day 1 - Fly to Srinagar - overnight stay at Srinagar
    Saturday Day 2 - Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozila – Drass – Kargil
    Sunday Day 3 - Kargil – Lamayuru – Magnetic Hills - Leh
    Monday Day 4 - Explore Leh town
    Tuesday Day 5 - Leh – Khardung La – Hunder - Nubra
    Wednesday Day 6 - Nubra – Pangong Tso Lake
    Thursday Day 7 - Pangong Tso Lake - Leh
    Friday Day 8 - Leh - Manali
    Saturday Day 9 - Leh - Manali
    Sunday Day 10- Manali to Chandigarh & fly back to Bangalore

    can you please suggest any changes required considering the current weather condition.

    Thank you so much for your support.
  3. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Subbu - Your itinerary looks good but I must ask, how are you planning to travel ? Private taxi?
  4. subbu

    subbu New Member

    Thank you Mr.Khan for your quick response....

    I have booked a SUV (Mahindra-Zylo), the driver is coming from Leh to pick-us from Sringar....he will be there with us for the entire trip and drop us till Manali...
  5. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Then the itinerary is good. No change required.
  6. Varghis bhai,
    A couple of weeks before a young tourist guy from chennai was killed by the kashmiris with stone,in front of his parents. Horrible...
    They have no rights to speak about hospitality.
    Still now kashmir is a dangerous place for tourists to survive.
  7. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Karthick Bhai the local version of that story is quite different. From what I had learnt, that certain group was advised not to travel through as there was some protest and stone pelting going on. They however still insisted and decided to take a chance because they were part of a group and half of the group had already managed to slip through. The tourist group insisted and the driver was dumb enough to agree. He agreed to drive them through and the result was tragic.

    I am not saying that Kashmir is safe, because it definitely is not. But thousands of tourists come here each year. As I always advise everyone, do not wander into non tourist areas, stay away from any protests and you will be OK.

    May the soul of that young guy rest in peace and may god give his family members strength to deal with the loss. It was a tragic and unfortunate incident indeed.
  8. Whatever the scenario may be..
    The lost life wont come back.. a young guy with thousands of dream came to an end in kashmir, he's a guest to that place.How come the protestors donno the difference between civilians military ppl and tourists.??
    Killing a guest wont add any glory to that place.
    Think in the place of that guys parents.
    In their view KASHMIR is the worst hell in the world.
    Even i had the idea of visiting kashmir next year.. but now ...
  9. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    I am not denying that, just telling the actual scenario. That stone was not meant and targeted for the tourist. He just happened to be at a wrong place and at a wrong time. They should not have tried to pass through that region is what I am saying.

    On a different note though ... I am planning to be there in July and then in August again :)
    NIEL1083 likes this.
  10. We guys are greedy to live longer bhai.
    Not to lose the life atleast when we are on a tour... Horrible it is.

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