“Kashmiri youth have enough talent . They only need a proper direction and platform to move ahead in their lives and today we feel that sports in Kashmir are taking a new curve and change is visible on the ground ,” said Warheed Parra , secretary sports council.Reported by Team RK
12 Oct 2020
When we talk about sports in Kashmir we mostly think of winter sports. The truth is winter sports are just a part of the sporting culture. Apart from different categories of adventure sports, Kashmir also has a cricket and a football team. Besides, the union territory has the highest golf course in the world and the largest number of fishing beats in the country. The Great Tibetan Marathon that takes place every year at an altitude of 3500 meters also draws considerable interest from the sports facilities across the world. Let us first know about the sports council of an union territory who contributes itself to the development and promotion of sports in J&K.
Contribution of J&K Sports Council in promoting sports and was established in 1959 with that purpose. J&K Sports Council is a government institution established with the aim of encouraging all round development of sports in the UT. It was constituted in 1959 (Vide Government Order No 390 of 1959, dated 10-08-1959) by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir and registered under Societies Registration Act IV of S 1998. The organization is headed by the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. He acts as the President of the organization while the Sports Minister of the sate acts as the Vice President. The Council conducts coaching classes in various fields such as football, volleyball, basketball, handball, cricket, hockey, table tennis, badminton, athletics, weightlifting, judo, gymnastics, kho kho, kabbadi, boxing, wrestling, fencing, skiing, yoga, thang-ta-wushu etc. Regular skiing courses are also organized at Gulmarg.
The Council provides infrastructural and financial assistance to recognized Sports Associations in the UT. Matching financial assistance is also provided to the recognized Sports Associations for hosting of zonal or national level championship within J & K. This is done with the view that championship helps to raise the level of sports in the UT. The Council offers incentives in various forms to outstanding players in the UT. They also nominate sport-persons for various awards.
Football is the most popular sports in Jammu and Kashmir. J&K Football Association, which is a member of All India Football Federation, is responsible for developing the sports in the state. It controls the football clubs in the state and organizes different state level tournaments. At present there are around 500 football clubs in the state, which take part in different national and state level tournaments. The Jammu and Kashmir Football Team regularly takes part in the Sontosh Trophy Tournament.
Just as in anywhere else in India, cricket is a favorite sports in Jammu in Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, a member of Board of Control of Cricket in India, fields teams in different domestic tournaments such as the Ranji Trophy Interstate Tournament and Duleep Trophy Tournament etc. Up to 2012-2013, the team has played 242 matches The J&K cricket team has two home venues, Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar and Maulana Azad Memorial Stadium in Jammu.
Hockey is another popular game in Jammu and Kashmir. J&K Hockey Team takes part in different all-India tournaments. Ice Hockey too is a popular sport in the state, especially in Ladakh region. To promote this game, Ice Hockey Association of Jammu and Kashmir organizes yearly tournaments in Leh. Enthusiasts from all over India often come here to experience this annual event.
Rugby is another popular sport in Jammu Kashmir. Indeed, the UT has a number of exceptionally brilliant rugby players. Tournaments are held both at state and district levels to provide further boost to this sport. Kabbadi and kho-kho too are played with enthusiasm in Jammu and Kashmir. Tournaments in these fields are not only organized at district and state level, but teams are also sent to compete in the national level competitons. Besides, regular tournaments in table tennis, basketball, baseball etc. are held both at district and state level in Jammu Kashmir. Teams from Jammu and Kashmir also take part in different athletic meets at national level.
Jammu and Kashmir has a number of golf courses spread across the state. Among them, Kashmir Golf Club and Royal Spring Golf Course are located in Srinagar. Besides, there are the Gulmarg Golf Club, Pahalgam Golf Club and Sanasar Golf Club. Incidentally, thirteen-hole golf course in Gulmarg is highest in the world. All these clubs offers golfing equipments at a reasonable rate. One can also avail temporary membership at these clubs.
Angling is another favorite sports in Jammu and Kashmir. The state has numerous streams such as Sind, Lidder, Ferozshah Nallah, Doodh Ganga, Aharbal, Noobug, Daksum, Brengi, Ahlan etc. Besides, there are the high altitude lakes such as the Krishanshar, Vishanshar, Gangabal and Nunkhol. The mountains in the Kashmir zone are rich in fauna and flora. Although they are not very high, they offer an exhilarating climbing experience. Kolahoi, Harmukh. Tattakuti, Sunset etc are some of the more popular peaks of this region. Among them, the Sunset Peak is located in the Shopian District at a die of 105 from Srinagar. It is the highest mountain massif in this region and has an elevation of 15568 ft (4745 m). Tattakui, also known as Tatakooti, is also part of the same massif. It is located very close to Sunset Peak at a distance of 40 km from Shopian town. Both these peaks were first scaled in 1901 and can be accessed via Mughal Road from Srinagar. Stock Kangri is one of the most popular trekking routes in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a very difficult trek and therefore, beginners should never try this route. At the same time, it is one of the most thrilling treks in India and involves a march through a very beautiful part of the world. Trekkers from plains will need around ten days to complete the trek. However, this time frame includes acclimatization period at Leh and also at the base camp
Numerous trekking trails also start from the Sonmarg region. Among them, the trek to the Amarnath Cave is world famous. It takes you through the most picturesque part of Kashmir. Another popular trail is the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. It takes through the Nichai Pass into an alpine valley which eventually leads you to Gangabal Lake crossing Vishansar, Gadsar, Krishnasar and Satsar on the way. Incidentally, Gangabal Lake is the finest trout fishing beat in Jammu and Kashmir and hence one may also take fishing gear with him Although there are a few smaller ski resorts in Kashmir, the main skiing activity in Jammu and Kashmir is centered at Gulmarg. Right now cable service is available from Gulmarg to Kongdori; it allows a downhill ski run of 3 Km. Later there is a plan to take the service Gandola. Paragliding and hot air ballooning are two major aero sports in Jammu and Kashmir. Although such sports are in vogue in many places in India, the scenic beauty of the state makes them all the more fascinating here. Places like Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Patnitop, Natha Top, Batote, Jammu, Sansar, Kude etc. offer great opportunities for these aero sports. A few places in Ladakh too offer the same opportunities. These days the Government of Jammu and Kashmir is putting much emphasis on aero sports. Regular paragliding festivals are being organized in the outskirts of Srinagar to attract local talents. Sanasar in Jammu has become the most important center for paragliding in the state. There are a number of paragliding clubs in this city, which make all kinds of arrangements. Paragliding equipments can also be hired from the tourism office If you want to go hot air ballooning you opt Gulmarg. The sport is now being promoted by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to add new dimension to its already existing infrastructure. However, other places mentioned above also offer hot air ballooning activities.
Jammu and Kashmir has many swift flowing rivers as well as lakes running through it. Most of these water bodies have now been turned into hubs for water sports such as river rafting, canoeing and water skiing. In some places resorts have grown up to provide accommodation to the skiers. These places not only provide tourists’ huts and bungalows, but latest equipments can also be hired at these places. In general summer is the best time for such sports. The season generally starts in May and continues until the end of August. Dal Lake and Nagin Lake in Srinagar and Manasbal Lake in the Ganderbal District are said to be the best places for water skiing in Jammu and Kashmir. Motor boats, water skis and trained instructors are available in most of these places. In Dal Lake, privately owned boats are available in Bod Dal basin. However, the Nagin Lake is becoming more popular destination for skiers because of clearer water. However, the best place to ski should be the Manasbal Lake. The lake, with clean and clear water, is secluded from the world by a range of hills that surround it from all sides. One can hire latest water-skiing equipments even at such a remote place. There are also specially trained instructors to impart lessons to the initiated in Manasbal. A programme launched by the govt under the head “Human Resource Development , Skill development and Sports “, aims at training people from J $ K most of them from valley , as coaches at NIS has given new hope to youth of kashmir. The idea is that once they go back home, they will train more people in their town and villages . The aim of the programme , which has been drawn up as part of the “Prime Minister’s Development funds for J & K “ is to encourage youngsters in the valley to take up sports . The govt aims at creating state of the art infrastructure across the state for promoting various sports activities . At a time when new talent in sports is coming up in Jammu $ Kashmir and opportunities are clearly visible , such government policies can prove to be the “few other good things on the anvil’. Revival of inter and intra regional sports events has helped in reducing the trust deficit within all sections of our communities and create a enabling environment to build relations, bridge divisions , and connect all regions of J & K . The youth and children of the “paradise on earth “ are closely choosing sports as a tool to rise in life and achieve great success . “Kashmiri youth have enough talent . They only need a proper direction and platform to move ahead in their lives and today we feel that sports in Kashmir are taking a new curve and change is visible on the ground ,” said Warheed Parra , secretary sports council. With such development in Infrastructure and opportunities , clearly , the future looks bright for Jammu & Kashmir ‘s young talented sportsperson.