Athwatu with its idyllic setting along the Madhumati, is set to capture the hearts and minds of all visitors to the region. The approach to Athwatu, through several fruit orchards, picturesque villages and forests provides an ample opportunity for those in search of Kashmir’s much acclaimed beauty. Additionally, for those seeking adventure, Athwatu has acclaimed fishing beats and numerous hiking routes.
Within Athwatu and on the surrounding mountain slopes, a number of pastoral communities have been living traditionally. Most of these families still retain their pastoral links; as such they would provide visitors with an excellent opportunity to experience their rich culture in an area yet devoid of adverse effects of development vis-à-vis pollution, haphazard construction, loss of traditional way of living etc.
Recreating Athwatu as a tourist destination will provide visitors with an enriching cultural experience while also helping the host community to benefit economically from such an activity. It is also hoped that the tourism requirement of a resort will help in upgrading the basic civic and infrastructure amenities in the area, notwithstanding in a manner compatible with the existing cultural and ecological environment of the area.
The objective for an overall sustainable development of Athwatu, as a tourist destination, the traditional tourism needs in terms of accommodation, accessibility, road network, services need to be combined with the preservation of existing eco-system. As such the proposed tourism activities in the area are based on the following basic and underlying guidelines:
To ensure these objectives, it is proposed to create guest accommodation in form of a small cottage which will merge with the surrounding landscape, near the erstwhile tourist guest houses. Additionally it is proposed to create basic civic amenities which will also function as wayside facilities for tourists to the area in from of toilets, restaurants.
Further it is proposed to develop the shrine of Bibi Sang Ariffa at Buthoo on the route of Athwatu. The shrine which comprises three small buildings is located in a cluster of conifer forest. These shrines are an important part of the social life of the local community while also drawing devotees from other parts of the valley.
It is also proposed as part of the project to upgrade the Bandipora-Athwatu road, which will help in providing better access for visitors to the area.