SRINAGAR: The department of tourism Kashmir has kick started weekend festivals named ‘Valley Weekends’ to provide tourists local experience and make them enjoy vacations with a host of activities that are on offer on each Saturday and Sunday.
According to an official handout, the department on Saturday organised theatre show at natural locations of Mughal garden, Shalimar, during the day time which was followed by musical evening at SKICC where local emerging bands performed to enthrall the audience including the tourists.
Locals, tourists, members from travel trade and hospitality sector besides officials from department of tourism, J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages were present at both the functions.
Besides engaging the locals and the tourists with the entertainment, the department also included sports activities like mountain biking, canoeing, rowing on Sunday while continuing the theatre show at Shalimar Garden.
The ‘Valley Weekends’ are being organised to boost tourist flow in autumn, engage local youth and also entertain tourists who are in Valley for holidaying, the handout read.
Director Tourism Kashmir, Mahmood A Shah said that ‘Valley Weekends’ will help keep youth engaged and entertain tourists with the activities and make Kashmir a lively place for tourists.
“Tourists mostly come here for sightseeing and they don’t mince words to praise the beauty here. However, they are missing the activities and entertainment. Most of the tourists visit Mughal gardens and Dal Lake where we have organised musical and theatre events in addition to sports and adventure activities this weekend so that the visitors to these places enjoy not only beauty but our culture also,” said Director Tourism Kashmir.
These events are also aimed to send a positive message across the globe that Kashmir is a ‘safe and a tourist-friendly place’.
“The campaign will run through the winter season during which we will organise host of cultural, musical and theatre, poetry, painting events. The adventure lovers can enjoy fishing, snow marathons, skiing, cycling, and snow-shoe running,” he said.
The attention of the visitors will also be drawn to the local heritage and food.
Recently, the department organised heritage walk in downtown which will also continue in future besides there will be a food festival to promote local cuisine.
The festivals have been organised in autumn which usually is a lean tourist season in Kashmir.
“There is a general impression that autumn is a lean tourist season in Kashmir and no activity happens here. However, autumn is the most beautiful season when we have riot of colors which gives Kashmir an enchantingly beautiful look. These activities will not turn Kashmir a dead place in this lean season rather attract tourists to beautiful season of the year,” the director said.
The department is also gearing up for hectic winter carnival this winter at ski resort Gulmarg and also at Pahalgam, the handout added.