Basohli has always remained in limelight on the national and international fora owing to its glorious historical past, rich cultural heritage, unique monuments, miniature painting and for the natural beauty gifted by the bountiful nature.
Geographically Basohli is situated in the lap of the Shivalik ranges encircling the entire area. There are a number of natural cliffs in the proximity of the town. The old temples, the ruins of the world-famous Basohli palaces, Basohli Chiterkala, pashmina shawls and scenic and panoramic views are the main attractions.
The gulf created by RSD lake, which once separated the local population like the wall of Berlin, has been bridged by the Atal setu, as a result of which the separated souls have reunited again. The bridge over the river Ravi has not only provided the connectivity with other states but has also added to the beauty and glory of Basohli and its proximity due to the formation of lagoons by backwaters.
The tourist potential of Basohli remained undeveloped and veiled from the tourist world due to the financial constraints of the state, terrorism and ethnic discrimination by the Kashmir centric governments in the past.
The tourism of the entire state in general and that of Jammu region got a fillip the day people friendly coalition government took over the reins of the ailing state in its hands. The equitable distribution of the state and the central funds, irrespective of the regional considerations, rejuvenated the tourism of Basohli.
The formation of the previous Lakhanpur Sarthal development authority together with the newly framed Basohli Bani Development Authority has boosted and accelerated the process of tourism development in Basohli area. The tourism development works are being executed on the war footing at Basohli in order to attract maximum number of tourists visiting Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir.
The newly built bridge Atal Setu, over river Ravi at Basohli, resembles with the Vidya Sagar Setu over river Hoogly in Kolkata and the one Golden Gates bridge of California USA where all the three are the suspension bridges with the difference that the Atal Setu is built over 88 sq. kmt. RSD lake and the later is built over one mile wide and three miles long channel between San Francisco bay and the pecific ocean USA. Like the Golden Gates, Atal Setu is also counted among the wonders of design and technology in the world. Owing to its unique structure location and the big water reservoir River like the Tames of London Atal Setu is attracting a good number of tourists from Punjab Himachal Pardeshand Chandigarh as a result of which the Setu has become a tourist structure in itself. The students from different schools and colleges, from engineering colleges have been thronging Basohli in order to have firsthand knowledge and information about the unique bridge.
During the morning and the evening hours, hundreds of locals and the tourists from the neighboring states gather on the bridge. The tourists enjoy the cool and fresh breeze coming from below the crystal clear reservoir of RSD. The moving motor boats below the bridge presents very attractive sight which one continues gazing at continuously till they pass from below the Setu. The celluloid and the TV world are showing keen interest in shooting songs for their films and the serials. Many betrothed couples from Punjab and Himachal Pardesh shoot their pre wedding events in the motor boats and over the Atal Setu. Due to less vehicular traffic over the bridge many tourist parties dance at the tune of the DJs and have their lunches and teas over the bridge. The LED lights studded along the entire heights of the pylons illuminate the whole surroundings during the evening and night hours.
The Basohli Bani development Authority, a nodal agency for the tourism development in the area, has constructed the jetties from where the tourists enjoy the motor boat rides and trips. A good number of the tourists can be seen rowing in the RSD lake with the life jackets for the safety. IN the near future one more water sport Para sailing is going to be introduced in the lake. During a meeting with the union surface transport ministry the 30 kmt. Long stretch of water is declared as water highway number 54 where the water transport will be utilized for carrying the cargo and the passengers.
The moment the tourists put their step on the threshold of Basohli, the gateway of Jammu and Kashmir, the whole tourist world ranging from the Shivaliks to the junior or sub Himalayas is unveiled. The entire region is rich in multidimensional tourist potential including, historic, aesthetic, meditational and religious. Basohli town as well as the entire tehsil has as many tourist places and the spots as can capture the attention of the tourists.
The new and the old historical temples like Mahan Dera, Shiv temple, Fort shrine of Mata Chanchlo,Sheetla and Mahakali temples, world famous Basohli miniature paintings, pashmina shawls, the wonder of the east Basohli palaces and the lake beach of Purthoo, which resembles with one in Goa, are the main attractions for the tourists available at Basohli.
A good number of the tourists encamp at the beautiful beach and enjoy the rattling of the water waves and those of the ripples striking the shores. The water all around the lake and especially at the beach is blue, crystal clear which gives an invitation to the tourists.
Apart from water tourism at Basohli, fort shrine of Mata Chanchlo Devi is a beautiful tourist spot for local and those coming from outside. The location of the fort, its height in comparison to its surrounding adds to its beauty and makes it one of the most charming, beautiful and worth visiting tourist spot in the Jammu region. From the view point at the fort shrine the tourists can have bird’s eye view of the whole area below spreading up to dozens of miles in all directions. One can have full view of the 88 sq.kmt vast stretch of Ranjeet Sagar lake water at one glance. The steamers and the boats, transporting passengers and other material from either sides of the lake, present a beautiful and charismatic view to the visitors.
The night view due the reflection of the lights in the lake waters resembles with the view of Dal Lake as seen from the Shanker Acharya temple in Srinagar which mesmerizes the on lookers who can’t help appreciating the beauty of the spot. The illuminated mountains present the view as if the nature has studded them with jewels.
The historical Neel Kanth temple of lord Shiv located in the middle of the town houses one Shiv lingam which is shaped out from a diamond and has got great importance for the natives of the old duggar state. Rehan Mahadera are the places which have been fully developed for the sake of the tourists.
Sunan Ghat, Dhar Mahanpur, though, located at lower altitude of Shivalicks exhibit temperate type of climate throughout the season. These places are very charming and attractive and only at hand shaking distance from Basohli. The forests of the area are grown with the trees of Cheel, which yield maximum resin, a liquid emanating from the cheel tree, used in the manufacture of turpentine oil, polishes and paints. Snan Ghat and Dhar Mahanpur are famous for the production of milk and milk productions that is why these places are called the Pales of Milk.
The tourism of Basohli is yet in its infancy which has to take long strides in order to cater to the needs of the tourists. Tourism is never complete, even the most developed countries can not meet the increasing requirements. For the promotion of the tourism in RSD and Basohli much needs to be done on the part of Jammu and Kashmir government committed for making tourism an industry in the state like;
- Making one more jetty near and around the Atal Setu.
- Lower down the fair per trip.
- Provide maximum safety for those doing boat ride.
- Food points, public amenities be provided.
- Fishing hooks be given on hire, for few hours, to those fond of fishing.
- The famous Basohli palace ruins be maintained and declared national monument.
- Gandola service from the town to the fort shrine be constructed so that a good number of the visitors can enjoy the ride and have the lake view from the gondola.
It is very encouraging that the state government has taken the right step in the right direction and the days are not far when Basohli will emerge as the ideal tourist destination. Basohli people invite the tourist world to come, see and suggest the ways so that the tourism gains hights in the days to come.