Turtuk in Ladakh opened for foreign tourists: Jora

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In a major move to boost tourism in Ladakh region, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has relaxed the Protected Area Permit Regime (PAPR) enabling foreign tourists to visit Turtuk village in Nubra valley, situated on the famous Silk Route.

Expressing happiness over the decision, Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mr. Nawang Rigzin Jora and Minister of State for Tourism, Mr. Nasir Aslam Wani said that opening of Turtuk area for foreign tourists would place Nubra valley prominently on the world tourism map. They added that the decision would go a long way in bringing the virgin locales of the region into limelight. The Ministers also appreciated the role of Union Home Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram for taking personal interest in this matter.

Referring to the potential tourist spots in the region, Mr. Jora said that from now on tourists would be able to travel along the banks of the Pangong Lake, right up to the villages of Man and Merak. Earlier, he said they were allowed to go only up to village Spangmik. He said the route along the Pangong Lake from Merak to Chushul and then across Tsaga La, Tsaga to Loma Bend would also be considered for opening, once sufficient tourist infrastructure is developed there. A large number of foreign tourists are already visiting Nubra valley for Bactrain camel safaris and hot sulphur springs of Panamik, he added

The Minister said that the long pending demand of the locals of Kargil to open the Chiktan-Batalik area for foreign tourists has also been approved by the Home Ministry. The approved tour circuits in the district are, Kargil-Khangral-Shaker-Chiktan-Sanjak-Leh and Dah-Garkone-Darchik-Batalik-Silmo-Kargil town, he informed and added the area is also the home of famous Drokpas, supposed to be pure Aryan tribe. Earlier, the tourists were allowed to travel only up to Dah, he said.

Giving details of the other important relaxations, Mr. Jora said that earlier tourists were allowed to travel in the PAPR area in groups of four, but after the present relaxation tourists can also go in twos. He said permits for visiting these areas are issued by the concerned Deputy Commissioner.

Giving details of tourists traffic to Ladakh, the Minister said the number of tourists visiting the region has touched 75, 000 from the modest figure of 500 in 1974, when Ladakh was opened for tourism and the tourist season which used to be confined to July-August, now extends from May till end of October.

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