Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, May 21
The Bhagsunag waterfall, a prime tourist attraction in McLeodganj tourist circuit, has dried up. The tourists eager to have a look of the waterfall they have seen in photographs are disappointed. Only a trickle of water is left in the fall. The waterfall is losing it beauty as water is being diverted for various water schemes.
There are three water schemes on the waterfall. While the IPH Department of Dharamsala siphons off about 10 lakh litre water from the waterfall every day, two water pipes of the Military Engineering Services transport about 15 to 20 lakh litre water from the waterfall.
Vikas Nehria, a resident of Bhagsu, said that earlier the waterfall used to have a good flow of water throughout the year. It attracted both domestic and foreign tourists who enjoyed the beauty of the waterfall. However, now the water in the fall has been reduced to a trickle both in winters or summers. This year the water flow in the waterfall is worse and tourists are returning disappointed, he said.
Rakesh Pathania, who runs a shop in Bhagsunag, said as the waterfall was a great tourist attraction the government should make efforts to save it. The government should look for alternative water sources for its schemes rather than depending on the waterfall for extracting water.
The Bhagsu waterfall is at its pristine best during monsoons. The water in the fall increases manifold as a result of persistent rain in the region that converts a thin stream coming out of it into mass of gushing water. The white waters rushing out of the waterfall and the mist generated from the 20-ft fall of delights the tourists. The tourists enjoy tiny water droplets pervading the air.
The attraction of the natural waterfall motivated even pot-bellied tourists from plains to trek uphill about 1 km to reach the waterfall. The panoramic view near the waterfall makes tourist forget the arduous trek they undertake to the scenic spot. The small huts brought up by locals near the waterfall add to the charm providing all kinds of snacks and drinks to tourists.
The trekkers in the area revealed that the height of popular waterfall of Bhagsunag is just 20 feet. However, if one climbs up the Baghsu waterfall at almost the end of it is another stream and another waterfall. The area is picturesque. However, since no track has been developed, trekking is dangerous. If a proper track is developed to upper waterfall it would add another feature to the tourist destination.
However, the Tourism Department has failed to exploit the potential for attracting tourists. As compared to Kempty waterfall located in Uttarakhand near Mussoorie, the Baghsunag waterfall is bigger and located in more panoramic surroundings. But the Kempty Falls attracts more tourists and is more popular due to better marketing and facilities created by the government.
However, the star attraction of McLeodganj tourist circuit is drying up due to natural and man-made causes.
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