PESHAWAR: In the hot summers when people in most parts of the country sweat, finding oneself amid forested mountains and freshwater springs is a feeling that becomes nostalgia afterwards.
Bishigram Union Council in Swat district has the same environment: the high altitude, forested mountains and freshwater springs.
As one travels from Madyan bazaar towards Bishigram, the weather turns colder and pleasant. Bishigram is an emerging tourist spot of the province. The Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) has set up camping pods there along with children’s play area, proper tented kitchens and washrooms. These facilities serve as source of relief and amusement for visitors.
Not only visitors from other areas visit the TCKP’s camping pods, but locals from the surrounding villages also come to the place for taking selfies and enjoying the weather, particularly in the afternoon when it gets cloudy.
“The weather gets cloudy and sometimes it also rains every day in the afternoon,” said Pashmin Khan, a watchman-cum-guard of the venue. Besides him, there are three other guards as wellwho not only take care of the tourist facility but also help the tourists with cooking and other services.
Abdul Rehman along with several friends was seen taking selfies one day in the afternoon. “I live in Matta tehsil but came here with friends after knowing about the camping pods set up here,” he said.
Zahid Khan, in-charge of the camping pods, said that they charge the visitors and tourists Rs2,500 for a camping pod with two beds and 4,000 for a camping pod with four beds.
Muhammad Usman Naseem, in-charge properties wing in the TCKP, told The News that there were two schemes, each comprising five sub-schemes of camping pods’ establishment.
“Under one scheme, camping pods have been set up in four locations of Sharan (Mansehra), Tandyani (Abbottabad), Yakh Tangi (Shangla) and Bishigram (Swat) while work one more is underway in Sheikh Badin. Under the second scheme, TCKP will soon import camping pods through the UNDP, though all the resources being spend on the project are TCKP’s own funds,” he added.
Bishigram Union Council in Swat borders Miandam valley on one side and Kalam on the other. One of its corners touches Kohistan district of Hazara division.
The locals speak Kohistani language and are peaceful. They live a tough life, walking and working in the difficult, mountainous terrain.