|Early Times Report|
Kathua, Sept 13: Sarthal, often referred to as "Mini Kashmir," remains an unpolished jewel of Jammu and Kashmir, nestled along the Bhaderwah-Pathankot road in Tehsil Bani, District Kathua.
This picturesque tourist destination attracts thousands of visitors every month, including tourists from Doda, Bhaderwah, Kathua, Pathankot, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, and many other states.
“Despite its breathtaking beauty, Sarthal remains largely unexplored and underdeveloped, primarily due to its remote location at the far end of Kathua district. The area lacks essential amenities and infrastructure that could enhance the overall tourist experience. There are no public toilet complexes, healthcare facilities, government-run restaurants, or recreational facilities for children. Cleanliness and sanitation are also often overlooked,” locals told Early Times.
“Visitors to Sarthal are met with little more than natural rock formations, as there is a noticeable absence of recreational facilities or cultural attractions.
Additionally, the area has not seen any sponsored festivals or events to showcase its unique heritage and culture,” they added.
“The neglect of this stunning destination is particularly disheartening because many of its residents come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. With appropriate government attention and investment, Sarthal has the potential to not only boost tourism but also improve the lives of its local population,” locals said.
“We urge Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to direct the concerned officers to make concerted efforts to transform this underappreciated gem into a thriving tourist destination. Investing in Sarthal's development could not only benefit the region economically but also showcase its natural beauty and cultural richness to the world. It's time for Sarthal to shine and become a true representation of Jammu and Kashmir's incredible tourism potential,” locals said.