‘Valley Weekends’ aimed at providing entertainment to tourists: Dir Tourism
SRINAGAR: Amid chill, Valley’s noted singer Rashid Jahangir warmed up the atmosphere with his melodious voice in the middle of Dal Lake at Nehru Park attracting large gathering of locals as well as tourists.
As part of its tourism promotional pragramme under the campaign ‘Valley Weekends’, the department of tourism this week hosted a musical and cultural event at Nehru Park where various local singers, vocalists, guitarists sat atop a Donga at Nehru Park in Dal Lake and sung various Kashmiri numbers and Sufiyana songs and also fusion, mostly requested by the audience.
The Saturday’s musical event was organised by the Department of Tourism Kashmir in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages and JK Tourism Development Corporation.
The program started at 3 pm and continued till late evening attracting large gathering of people who appreciated the role of the department in making the tourist spot lively. Local traditional Kehwa with Shirmal was also served to the audience on the occasion that enjoyed watching the performances.
Speaking on the occasion Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah said the department started ‘Valley Weekend’ program to entertain tourists and engage locals with a host of activities.
“Tourists come here and enjoy the beauty but they miss entertainment. Such programs will entertain them and will also attract locals who can come along with families and keep their weekends busy,” said the tourism director.
The entry into the event was open for both locals and tourists. Special arrangements of shikara were kept to ferry the participants.
Director tourism Kashmir said there is lot of misconception among travellers outside the state that Kashmir is not safe “but these events will dilute such misconceptions”.
“Due to the negative publicity by certain section of media, tourist footfall has also decreased. Such events will counter that negative perception among travellers and positive news will also go across the globe that Kashmir is not a dead place. They will also come to know that people here are enjoying, participating in the events and everything is normal,” he said.
Earlier in the morning, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) also inaugurated Harrisa Festival at Nehru Park where Harisa with Kashmiri bread and Nun Chai was served to locals. Large number of food lovers turned up to taste the Harisa.
Secretary tourism Sarmad Hafeez said they want tourists to have a traditional experience by relishing Harrisa early morning.
“It is also part of Valley Weekends launched by our department. We hold events on weekends and promote local artists through such events. It is to create a buzz about Kashmir,” he added.
According to Sarmad, it is an invitation to people to visit Kashmir and on the first day, it saw huge response.
Deputy General Manager Rouf Shah said it will be a unique experience to have Harrisa by crossing the lake in a boat.
“It drives us down to our culture, which we have almost abandoned. It was a tradition in Kashmir to send Harisa to newly-wed brides by her parental home. It was loved and appreciated. Doing festival on the island was indeed an experience reminding us of our past which we have rather forgotten. We need to go down our memory lane to keep our traditions alive,” he said thanking secretary tourism and the team for reviving the culture.
Shah added, “The ethnic Kashmiri foods so far unknown have been incorporated and made to stand on menus by JKTDC.”
“Harisa is our traditional and age-old recipe which is liked by the locals mostly during winters. This provides an opportunity for locals and tourists who are staying in houseboats and hotels to taste the local recipe. This will not only promote tourism but also local food and culture,” the director said.
Secretary J&K Academy of Art and Cultural languages Dr Aziz Hajini, Deputy Directors from Tourism Peerzada Zahoor, Riyaz Beigh, Wasim Raja besides large gathering of travel trade fraternity were also present on the occasion.
The department is organising cyclethon on the newly developed trails of Shankracharya hills today.
On each Saturday and Sunday, the department of tourism organises cultural programs, musical events, skits, adventure sports activities to provide platform for the locals to engage in activities besides entertaining tourists at various destinations in the city.