By Rinchen Dolma
Source Reach Ladakh
Leh, August 21, 2010 For days after the havoc unleashed by nature in less than half an hour normalcy has returned as far as tourist visits are concerned; travel agencies, restaurants, hotels and guest houses have resumed their services catering to more and more tourists seen in Leh bazaar and fully booked incoming flights getting more of them. Many attribute prayers and rituals by high lamas for calm and peace again in the valleys of Ladakh that for a while became the most dreaded phenomenon.
Bollywood superstar Amir Khan visited the Druk Pema School in Shey village recently that was also hit by flash flood. Talking to Doordarshan Leh he exhumed confidence that there was no need to be afraid anymore, and tourists can visit here wholeheartedly. Aamir said, many people in Ladakh are dependent on tourism for livelihood, and it would certainly make a difference if tourists come here in greater number.
J&K Tourism Dept. have taken many measures to revive the tourist visits after many left in the midst chaos created during the heavy rainfall and flood situation, which have now completely subsided. Meanwhile, J&K Tourism Minister Mr. Jora have held several meetings with district authorities and conducted numerous tours to ensure speedy recovery from the mayhem. Large number of volunteers including foreign tourists is still seen visiting the flood hit areas to help families affected in restoring order. “We arrived in Leh on Aug !4 with plans to climb mountains and do Markha Trek but we understood well that it is not possible so we worked as volunteers for 2 days at Boys Higher Secondary School and one day at new bus stand helping others in cleaning the rubbles and mud. But we haven’t yet cancelled our tour plan and we are looking forward for it,” says Alten Burg from Germany.
“I had to take back my previous motor bike group from Sarchu two weeks before because of the flash flood in Leh but with the re-opening of the roads I reached with my second motor bike group from Manali last night. Being the group leader after confirming the situation in Leh and with the consent of my group members I decided to visit the
region because it was a time when the locals needed maximum support and our attitude was bringing money to them. Since tourism in Leh is an important source of income generation I feel that tourists in maximum number should visit the region at this time to support their economy. As far as my group is concerned they are very happy to be here, they found the town and the people very lovely and are enjoying buying gifts for their families and friends and visiting different places,” said Suzie from England, Managing Director Blazing Trails Travel Agency, India.
Giving the prevailing tourism scene in Leh Mr. Tundup Dorjey, Director Overland Escape, the pioneering travel agency in Ladakh says, “after flood we stopped our regular office work for a week as many of our staffs got affected by the flood. However, from last week we have resumed our tour operations and at present we have groups from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Portugal, England and many domestic groups are scheduled in coming days. Many groups who after the reports of flash flood cancelled their tours are again reconfirming their trekking, cultural and motor biking tours after confirming normalcy situation here.
The number of visitors has already begun to rise in the recent days indicating the return of normalcy as sightseeing and trekking have picked up. Some 50 local, national and international NGOs are coordinating to sort out different things in different regions. Schools are reopened and people are again getting busy in their daily hum-drum of life. While on the other hand local administration and army are doing their best in the restoration and rehabilitation works.
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