To go with the natural grandeur, activity has returned to the picturesque Nathiagali valley and surrounding areas as tourists from different parts of country thronged the bazaar and trekking areas during the Eid holidays.
Nathiagali, Khanaspur, Ayubia and adjoining tourist spots were favourites for picnickers, who enjoyed walking, trekking and simply breathing in the fresh air during the Eid holidays. Adventurous youngsters were seen trekking in Ayubia Park, Mirajani and Mukshpuri tops, enjoying nature up close. The influx of tourists at Ayubia chairlift and at points offering horse-riding were the most notable feature of the Galyat during the Eid holidays.
Businesses that witnessed lackluster sales during Ramazan have returned to normal, with scores of shoppers, especially women, buying gifts for their loved ones. Eateries and restaurants saw over 80 per cent occupancy, which some complained gave a free hand to restaurant and guest house owners to exploit customers by overcharging them in the absence of any regulatory mechanism.
A single room at a guesthouse that was available for Rs2,000 in Ramazan shot up to between Rs6,000 and Rs8,000, while the rates at ordinary restaurants also witnessed an upward trend due to number of tourists who want to enjoy the onset of winter at these scenic places.
Meanwhile, traffic was a mess, with long queues of vehicles at different points in Nathiagali Bazaar, Ayubia, Ghora Gali, and Khanaspur, highlighting the poor traffic arrangements that forced travellers to wait for hours.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2011.