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Popular Sports in Jammu and Kashmir other than Winter Sports

Winter sports always feature on any list of the best things to do in Kashmir. They are among the most popular winter tourism activities here; however, there are some other sports that Kashmiris are fond of, such as football and cricket, among others. Here is an insight into the most popular sports in Jammu and Kashmir, other than winter sports!

You will be amazed to know that Jammu and Kashmir has about 19 stadiums, 23 sports training centres, 3 indoor sports complexes, and over 40 playing fields maintained by the government. Some notable sportspeople such as Olympian Gul Dev and sharp shooter Chain Singh were born in Kashmir. In recent years, J&K has witnessed a remarkable improvement in its sports environment and more and more youngsters are getting drawn to sports and even taking up this field as a career.

To encourage the sports culture here, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has introduced many awards that inspire sportspeople as well as coaches and sports associations. Started in 2015, Kashmir has its own sports magazine called Kashmir Sports Watch, which has over 10,000 subscribers.

As the weather conditions in Jammu and Kashmir are conducive to winter sports and snow adventure, these activities are immensely popular among locals and tourists alike. However, apart from winter sports, cricket, golf, and football are quite popular and so are marathons. The rivers in this region allow for some water sports, and the hilly terrain allows for mountain activities like trekking and hiking.

Football: Jammu and Kashmir is home to 19 international football players. Mehrajuddin Wadoo, native to Srinagar, plays in the Indian Super League and has been a part of India’s National Football Team. Football has been played in J&K since 1964 and there are about 500 football clubs here. A recent effort to encourage this sport in Kashmir is the ‘football team for every village in the valley’ initiative taken by the government in 2017. 

Cricket: The Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association is a member of BCCI and the Jammu and Kashmir team takes part in tournaments such as Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Duleep Trophy Tournament. Some IPL players like Parvez Rasool and Rasikh Salam come from Kashmir. Jasia Akhtar is the first woman from J&K to be selected for the India women’s national cricket team.

Golf: There are two golf courses in Srinagar, Kashmir Golf Club and the Royal Spring Golf Course. The Gulmarg Golf Club is among the highest golf courses in the world. Seven golf tournaments are going to be held in the near future, which will have a participation of over 100 players from India and abroad. J&K is emerging as the golfing capital of India.

Marathons: The Ladakh Marathon, the Great Tibetan Marathon, and the Kashmir International Half Marathon are organized in Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakh Marathon is among the world’s highest marathons.

Water Sports: The large expanse of the lakes Dal, Nagin, and Manasbal are the best places for water skiing in Jammu and Kashmir. At these lakes, one can find motor launches, water skis, and trained instructors. At the Nagin Lake, there is an Institute of Water Sports run by the government. Locals and tourists enjoy water sports in these lakes of Kashmir, mainly during the summers. Ladakh and Pahalgam are some of the best places for river rafting.

Mountain Sports: Jammu and Kashmir is a mountaineering paradise, owing to the mighty Himalayas. Kashmir, Zanskar, Kishtwar and Ladakh are the four main mountaineering zones in J&K. The Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports, located in Pahalgam, is quite famous. The towering Himalayan ranges and the relatively smaller hills in Kashmir provide several options for trekking, mountaineering and hiking, among other mountain sports.

These were some of the most popular sports in Jammu and Kashmir, other than winter sports. With consistent enhancement in the sports infrastructure, the future of sports in J&K is promising. Many youngsters of Kashmir are emerging as international sports icons. Sports facilities, especially water activities and winter sports, are also giving a great boost to Kashmir tourism and in turn helping to improve the economy of this state.

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