Pabbar Valley tourism potential remains untapped due to poor road connectivity, HPTDC’ lack of political will
SHIMLA- The tourism potential of Pabbar Valley in the district that can help decongest the busy Shimla-Kufri-Fagu circuit remains untapped because of poor road connectivity and lack of political will of the state tourism establishment to develop infrastructure there.
The Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) built Giri Ganga hotel at Kharapathar at 9,000 ft, gateway to Pabbar Valley, and Hatkoti hotel at the historic shrine of Mahishasura Mardini at Jubbal Valley a few years ago to promote tourism. However, the latter has been shut while the former is struggling for survival, say HPTDC sources.
The main reason behind the failure of the HPTDC to promote tourism in the Valley is poor road connectivity and inadequate marketing of the Valley as an apple bowl blessed with scenic splendour. The Valley has Chanshal ski slopes, untouched Dodra Kuar valley, temples and unexplored treks,
observed Narayan S Kotvi, former editor of the Vidhan Sabha, who has written a paper on Pabbar Valley identifying its vast tourism potential.
It took the state government decades to decide that the Theog-Hatkoti-Rohru road, the backbone of the apple economy, needs to be widened when it was found that this road becomes unmotorable due to plying of fruit-laden trucks on way to market during the apple season every year.
The work on the road is going on at a slow place as the bridges and widening works are not complete though the state High Court has pulled up the contractor and the state PWD for slow pace of work, say farmers and travel agents.
Kotvi observed that the state government was mulling promoting heli-skiing or skiing at Chanshal slopes located at 4,220 m for the past many years, but it had not even run a trial-run there so far. Larot near Chirgaon can be used by trekkers as base camp to make their foray into Dadra Kuar across snow-clad Chanshal Pass into the Sangla valley, Kotvi had observed.
The Pabbar valley can develop into a new mecca for adventure tourism as Pabbar river can be taping for river rafting and trout fishing. Besides, there are other trekking routes from Sungri-Maoral Danda, Supail-Baltidhar, Gamessdhar-Khadrala, Kharapathar-Giri Ganga, Kuparh and Chatradhar,
Kotvi had pointed out.
However, he had sounded a word of caution saying the hydropower projects – Dhamvari- Sunda, Swara-Kuddu and other smaller projects – may spell disaster in the valley as Pabbar river will disappear into tunnels. The government should ensure that ecology and development walk hand in hand, he cautioned.
Chairman, HP Tourism Development Board, Maj VS Mankotia said,
We have mulled over developing tourism in Pabbar Valley, but there are many hurdles in the way.
Photo: Amit Kanwar