Keran: New found border tourism destination in Kashmir

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 06-07-2024
Tourists on the banks of the Kishanganga river
Tourists on the banks of the Kishanganga river


Irfan Lone/Keran (Kupwara)

More than 60 thousand tourists visited Keran, a small and picturesque village located right on the Line of Control in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district which was once a prohibited place.

This is encouraging as it has opened new opportunities for the locals – most people of the Khan clan whose ancestors had founded the village about 1,000 years ago. Today the portion of the village across the majestic river Kishanganga is with Pakistan and part of the occupied Kashmir.

Keran is among a few spots along the LOC where the Pakistani-occupied Kashmir area can be seen closely. If one wishes one could even speak with the locals living in the Pakistan side of Keran.

After Kupwara was nominated as one of the 112 aspirational districts of India for rapid and focused development, the local administration promoted Keran as a destination for border tourism,. There has been no end to the rush of young tourists to Keran since that time.  People not only come from different areas of J&K but also from other parts of India.

Though there are no big hotels to stay at Keran, people enjoy living in tents pitched on the banks of Kishanganga facing towards the other side of the LOC where people also call the area Neelum Valley.

Keran village

Global Travel comopany Tripadvisor describes Keran as a beautiful border area with the Kishanganga flowing through In introducing the village as, “Keran is home to many beauties like streams, springs, rivers, mountains, dense forests including walnut grove and a variety of wildlife.”

Keran village is located about 50 km from Kupwara and some 117 km from the capital Srinagar. Trip Advisor says, “Keran enjoys a majestic view. Those who love nature will feel they are in heaven”Keran Payeen (lower) is as close to the other side of Keran at a distance of hardly 50 Feet  The Indian Keran has a population is 3770 and  400 houses.

Tourists wave their hands towards the tourists from the other side of Kashmir, defining the exciting moment of human love and bonding. The change in this part of the border is being facilitated by the district administration in collaboration with security agencies.

Many travel bloggers and social media users have posted their videos of the experience of staying in the tents at Keran on social media.

Many locals have started constructing additional rooms to offer as Homestays to the tourists. However, young tourists prefer to live in canopy tents that can be taken on rent from locals.

Keran village

The authorities have strickly prohibited the pitching of tents on farmland and efforts are afoot to implement guidelines towards zero carbon footing.

Sajan Bhat, owner of a homestay in Keran said, "For the last two years, I am living a good life, which was difficult to imagine. In this area only work available was of labourers for the Border Roads Organisation or as porters for the Indian Army. The increasing number of tourists has helped us to earn in an alternative way."

People like Sajan Bhat, whose families had migrated to other areas after the 1990s due to threats from terrorists have returned home to live a decent life. A good network of roads built by BRO has  changed the image of Keran as a remote area.

The district administration has recently launched the portal for e-permission pass, which is a mandatory for tourists.

A local resident Peer Azhar, who works as a tour guide said, “Finally I can fulfill my dream of getting my only daughter admitted to the best school and bearing the expenses of her education.”