4-Day Summer Camp Report
The Department of Tourism Studies, Central University Kashmir (CUK) in collaboration with The Business School, University of Kashmir organised a 4-day summer camp for the students of both varsities in Bungus Valley and other adjoining areas.
From the classrooms to the natural tapestries, the camp merged learning with fun, and provided the students a platform to acquire knowledge through empirical evidence.
The job for conducting the camp, which was held from September 19 to 21, was entrusted to Mr. Ashaq Hussain Najar, Assistant Professor and Tour Coordinator (CUK) and Dr. Riyaz Qureshi, Assistant Professor and Tour Coordinator, University of Kashmir. As many as 24 students from Department of Tourism Studies, Central University of Kashmir, comprising seven girls and 16 boys escorted by two male and a female faculty member participated in the camp.
During the tour, the students visited several areas of attraction like Bungas, Drangyari and Lolab, which provided rewarding experiences to them. The students identified the possibilities for development of diversified tourism products in and around the destinations like adventure and eco-tourism. The extreme natural beauty, serenity and splendour are few synonyms associated with these destinations holding great potential for adventure tourism like trekking, hiking, mountain climbing, para gliding, parachuting etc and also culture/eco/rural/gastronomic tourism. They got an opportunity to come up with the development model for proposed site in the form of research papers and projects. They also got exposure of rural tourism by interacting with the locals and witnessed “spit roasting” which is the part of the syllabus in 4th semester hospitality section.
The memories of this camp were:-
The journey started on September 19, 2013 at 8 AM sharp from Kashmir University campus where the CUK Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdul Wahid Qureshi flagged off the bus carrying the students of Tourism Management of both the Universities. Our journey began towards the Bungus Valley via Lolab in frontier district of Kupwara. Around 2 PM, the party reached its first camp site viz Chandigam, which has tremendous tourist potential. It is surrounded with lush green pine trees and majestic mountains complementing the unparalleled scenic beauty. The students relaxed in the resort of J&K Tourism and got the tents fixed in the garden.
There was a professional chef/cook accompanying us who made our experience more soothing and comfortable by serving us sumptuous meal. After having our meals by 2 PM, we went to local sightseeing where the students engaged themselves in ‘Rural Tourism’ by interacting with the inhabitants. In this way the students got live exposure to local culture and rural tourism activity. By 6 PM, the students and faculty returned to the base camp.
On the 2nd day, the whole group moved to ‘Chowkibal’. The vehicles dropped us to Tee Pee (Baddi). Simultaneously SRTC buses with all our camping stuffs took Handwara road and reached Reshwari where the technical team was already waiting to make Reshwari as our second camp site.
Trekking, the practical part of Tourism Management syllabus was undertaken by the students who covered a distance of 37 kilometres and explored the Bungas Valley, which is having very vast tourism potential. The area comprises mountains and grasslands with flora, fauna and coniferous forest. We got an opportunity to interact with District Development Commissioner (DDC) Kupwara, Tehsildar Kupwara and CEO of Bungus Development Authority (BDA), who were accompanying us in trekking.
We crossed the ‘Big Bangus’ locally known as ‘Bodh Bangus’ and also ‘Small Bangus’ known as ‘Lokut Bangus’. Both valleys comprised level green meadows surrounded by low lying mountains covered with dense pine forest. During trekking, we stressed upon various strategies for securing an enduring natural environment for the people of present and future generations.
We trekked down through the periphery of Bangus on the other side and reached ‘Reshwari’ on the bank of river Mewar by 9 PM
On the 3rd day, our idea was to explore ‘Wadar Border.’ However, we changed our plans and reached Khumriyal. It wassurrounded by alpine trees all around. We did 15 minutes trekking and interacted with the locals and honed our knowledge on Community Based Tourism (CBT). We also visited J&K Tourism Forest Resort.
The group returned to the first camping site i.e. Chandigam by 9 PM and had dinner.
The students and faculty then proceeded for one of the most awaited feature/activity of the camping that was Camp Fire. During the Camp Fire, two sheep were roasted, which was part of the demonstration to the students on “spit roasting” (part of adventure tourism). During the camp fire, the students of both the universities interacted with each other and relished the roasted meat.
On the concluding day of the camp, the party moved to Dewar, one of the potential tourist destination in the vicinity of Chandigam. Thereafter the group moved towards Dewar, where students interacted with the natives and also got an exposure of eco-tourism. After that the group started return journey by 3 PM. The participants reached TRC Kupwara and extended gratitude to all the employees of Development Authority especially, Mr Muhammad Yaseen, CEO Development Authority for his support.
Finally the group left for Srinagar via Baramulla route and reached TRC Srinagar by 6 PM where the parents of the respective students were found waiting for their wards.