Epitome of hospitality, J&K’s first tourist village Panchari makes visitors ‘feel at home’

Panchari: Jammu and Kashmir’s first tourist village Panchari in Udhampur district is emerging as an epitome of hospitality and making visitors ‘feel like home’ with ceremonial welcome at traditional home stay facilities.
Surrounded by meadows, pine and kail trees, some 95 km from Jammu city, the prominent hill station was launched as a tourism village on October 12 this year, not only to boost the Tourism industry, but also to make people feel at home, with all facilities at their doorsteps.
District Development Commissioner, Udhampur Indu Kanwal Chib told UNI that efforts were on to strengthen the already established 32 ‘Home Stay’ facilities with the help of matter capacity building measures.
“We want to make these home stays prosper well so that in future, more such facilities can be launched,” said the Deputy Commissioner.
The focus at present was to make the Home Stay owners aware about hygiene, cleanliness, clean toilets and other facilities, so that the visitors take away happy memories, said Chib.
She said the network/liasoning among all those who are roped in like mule and palanquin (palki) operators, besides cultural troupe, is needed to be cemented, so that the visitors do not face any difficulty in availing these facilities, which are readily available on demand.
“We have every information available on our official website https://udhampur.nic.in/tourist-village-panchari/ with all details and advance booking option,” she said, adding that the administration is also planning to organise a workshop with the help of Food Craft Institute and Hospitality department to make this initiative more lively for the visitors, so that they do not miss their home even for a moment while relishing at these Home Stays,” she added.
Speaking to UNI here, Member of District Development Council, Panchari, Jasbir Singh, while appreciating the Jammu and Kashmir administration, termed it as a unique initiative.
“It is a great start indeed by the Jammu and Kashmir administration to come up with the first-ever tourist village and to actualise the vision of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha,” said the DDC member.
Stating that the Deputy Commissioner Udhampur was doing a commendable task by putting all efforts in making this village popular to attract more tourists, Singh revealed that many more projects like introducing a Tourist Reception Centre, Booking counter and other services to facilitate the tourists, were in the pipeline.
“The Panchayati Raj institutions, in collaboration with the district administration, are on toes to bring Tourist Village Panchari on the tourism map,” said Singh, while laying focus on road connectivity, which he disclosed that by March next year, will be ready in entire Panchari tehsil with a blacktopped road. Thus, visiting this picturesque destination will not be a tough task, he added.
“There are many virgin spots in this belt and once the road connectivity is completed, every location will be accessible,” he said.
The DDC member, while appealing to tourists from across the country to visit this scenic and unexplored destination, ensured that every ‘Home Stay’ facility in the tourist village is verified and safe to stay at nominal rates.
“Major developments are taking place in the area and it may take some time but Panchari village in days to come, will definitely be one of the most visited places in Jammu and Kashmir,” he claimed.
Panchayat member (Sarpanch) Pancheri, Kuldeep Sharma told UNI that he was receiving many phone calls for home stay facility and people were asking for advance bookings.
“It is a welcome step and I am sure that with this initiative, our Dogra culture will be recognised across the country,” said the Sarpanch.
According to Sharma, local Dogra cuisines like Rajma-Chawal (kidney beans and rice), Saag (green vegetable), Makki Roti (maize), chapati, Dal-Chawal-Ambal, Poori, Milk and Dairy Products like Kaladi, Desi Chicken, Eggs, freshly made breads of various flours, Chutney, Ambal, Khatta Meat, Kulthein Di Dal, Dal Patt, Maa Da Madra and Auriya, Pickles of Kasrod, Gargal, Zimikand, Tyaoo, Seyoo and Potatoes will also get more popular with the rising inflow of tourists.
“All home stays are verified and safe. Alcohol use is completely prohibited in all these staying facilities (even for the owners),” he said, adding that the tourists are accommodated as per their wish for cuisines they love to eat during the stay.
“The district administration is playing a key role in promoting this location, but more projection is required,” said the Sarpanch, adding that one of the spots at Sankari Temple was also selected for paragliding but due to some unknown reasons, the project could not take off.
He, however, appealed to the Jammu and Kashmir administration to reconsider the paragliding project, as it will not only boost the village tourism, but also the adventurous tourism because this belt has great potential for adventurous activities like paragliding, camping, trekking, cycling and many others.
“This initiative will strengthen the rural economy and community entrepreneurship, empowering youth and women by providing direct and indirect employment opportunities,” Naib Sarpanch Khajoor Singh expressed.
He said the home stay facilities available in Panchari will also generate income for the local youth.
Mahant of Sankari Temple, Krishan Singh Katoch told UNI that though the tourist village was launched almost two months back and tourists also visited the place, but this initiative needs more promotion, so as to increase the influx.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, in September 2021, had launched the Jammu and Kashmir Tourist Village Network under Mission Youth.
The initiative is aimed at transforming 75 villages of the Union Territory known for their historical relevance, picturesque beauty and cultural significance. (By Vishal Bharti for UNI)