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Meet the Ibn Battuta of Kashmir, highlights state's hidden beauty

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Nov 25, 2022 9:00 AM

Read Time: 2 minute

There are various places to visit in Kashmir, and the 30-year-old Danish Nabi alias Daniyal highlights the state's hidden beauty. Danish Nabi, also known as the "Ibn Battuta of Kashmir," is a Bandipora district resident who works as a government employee in the Bandipora mini-secretariat. In his twenties, he noticed a gap in Kashmir tourism, where tourists were only visiting well-known locations such as Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonmarg, and Dal Lake, completely ignoring the true adventure tourism in Kashmir, which is located high in the mountains and has attracted visitors from all over Europe since the late 1980s.

1st person to ride a bicycle up Razdaan Top

His passion for mountains and exploring new places has paid off, and the Bandipora district administration has appointed him as an advisor to promote adventure tourism. The Forest Department has also prepared trekking routes in areas such as Sheerasar and Nagmarg. Last year, Danish became the first person in India and the rest of the world to ride a bicycle up Razdaan Top (11,672 feet).

Every weekend, Danish heads off on foot or by bicycle to the highlands, where he explores the lakes and meadows and discovers new tourist attractions. Speaking to ANI he revealed, “I have religiously followed my schedule. I haven’t wasted a single Sunday. Sunday is my day. Come what may, I set out for a journey every weekend". In the Bandipora and Gurez sectors of J&K’s Himalayas, he has so far rediscovered more than a dozen alpine lakes, improving the likelihood of adventure tourism in the Valley.

Danish rediscovered places

So far he has rediscovered Shalpooth lake, three Handmarg or Handmenger lakes, Kaul Sar Lake, Kiser Sar, two Patalwan lakes, and a Kothapatri lake in the Gurez sector. Shera Sar, Sarbal Lake, and two Kundaplakes, Chamarsar, Zadsar, and Salnai Sar in the Bandipora area. He has also investigated the caves of Bandipora's Chota Amarnath and Bazar Hoi, Sopore's Yemberzalwari, Budgam's Sheikhul Aalam, and Kupwara's Kalaroos.

Make videos to help travellers

Danish uses a GoPro camera to record his adventures and uploads them to his YouTube channel to help other travellers. "Ibn Battuta of Bandipora" investigated these lakes repeatedly and discovered a variety of trekking paths for upcoming travellers, geo-referenced and logging every route. "I do record the trails and treks besides posting them on YouTube for future travellers," he said.
He said, “I wish people would reserve their Sundays for such travels and work for other days of the week." He added, “If people can set out for such treks on Sundays, it will reduce their stress levels and help them stay in shape mentally and physically".

Danish admires Dr Shariq Masood, a well-known doctor at SKIMS and an avid traveller like himself, and encourages others to do the same. He claims that the doctor has never worked on a Sunday in the last two decades because he travels on that day.

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