Destinations Asia

UK Foreign Office lifts warning on travel to Kashmir’s “Venice of the East”

Nov 09, 2012 12:33 pm

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A boost of tourism would be welcomed in the region, but the relaxed travel advisory warns travelers that visits outside these main tourist areas should be taken at their own risk.

— Samantha Shankman

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Saga Olsén  / Flickr.com

A houseboat on Dal Lake in Srinigar, Kashmir. Saga Olsén / Flickr.com

The Foreign Office has lifted its warning against travel to Jammu and Srinagar, in northern India.

Although the region has been plagued by violence in recent years, there have been no recent reports of attacks on visitors to the two cities or on the highway that connects them.

“Improvements in the security situation have led us to lift the advisory against UK citizens travelling to both cities,” said British High Commissioner James Bevan, who added that the decision could boost foreign tourism and help the local economy.

The Foreign Office does, however, continue to advise against visiting the rest of the Jammu and Kashmir state, with the exception of Ladakh.

It also warns that foreigners remain “vulnerable” in rural districts and outside of the region’s main population centres and tourist areas, where “there is a risk of unpredictable violence, including bombings, grenade attacks, shootings and kidnapping”.

Travellers are also told to expect “extremely limited” consular assistance.

Srinigar, advertised as a “Venice of the East” owing to its lakes and houseboats, was a popular tourist destination until the 1990s. It has a population of around 1.2 million and is also famous for its Mughal gardens. The city has its own airport and can be reached from Delhi.

Jammu, the state’s winter capital and second largest city, with a population of nearly one million, is known for its historic palaces, temples and mosques. Its airport offers connections to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

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