Gulmarg: The people on the upper reaches on Monday morning woke up to a snowy surprise while as the plains received the much awaited rains, putting an end to the long dry spell across the Valley .
The snowfall, which started during Sunday night in parts of the Valley, came as a relief to the State as an unusual dry spell had brought the night temperatures in valley as low as minus 3.8 in Srinagar during the current month. The tourists visiting the Valley as well as the local residents cheered alike for the snow.
Turning the valley picturesque, snow fall brought cheers to the hoteliers across Kashmir. Tourist destinations like Gulmarg along with Pahalgam, Sonmarg are covered with thick blanket of snow. The road to Gulmarg is covered with at least one foot of snowfall, reports said.
Popular winter destination Gulmarg received more than one foot of snowfall, raising hopes of organizing skiing and winter camps while as Gurez and Tulail areas in north Kashmir also received heavy snow fall.
Director Tourism Mehmood Shah while talking to ‘Kashmir Vision’ said that the snowfall is likely to attract the tourists to the Valley, and we have accordingly planned events to bring in more and more tourists.
He said that ice-climbing event will be held at Pahalgam on December 31 besides regular activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice-hockey at ski-resort Gulmarg, have also been planned.
“Christmas Eve will be celebrated on 25 December in Gulmarg, the ‘Snow Carnival’ will be celebrated from 8th to 14th January in Gulmarg and besides the ice-climbing event, New year will also be celebrated in Pahalgam around March and April, ” Shah said.
Hailing the efforts put forth by the Tourism Department and the local people in clearing the negative perceptions that have always hampered the tourist flow to Kashmir, Shah said the recent ‘Valley Weekend’ events which have been going on have proved to be very helpful and such efforts will continue.”
Meanwhile, jubilant residents were seen posting selfies and messages on social networking sites celebrating the arrival of snowfall.
Tour operators and Hoteliers expressed their delight over the much awaited snowfall.
“A lot of foreign tourists from Australia, Switzerland, Germany, England are already staying in our hotel, however with the fresh bout of snowfall a rally of new queries from India as well as foreign countries are pouring in with each passing hour,” Rameez Ahmed, a jubilant hotelier from Gulmarg said.
The tourists who had already been in valley eagerly waiting for the snowfall, thronged Gulmarg as soon as they woke up hearing the news about the snowfall in Gulmarg.
“We were waiting for snow for last couple of weeks and now that we could see it, our joy knows no bounds,” said an ecstatic Anjali Sharma, a tourist from Maharashtra who had arrived early morning in Gulmarg from Srinagar.
“Snowfall has increased number of hotel bookings since early morning as soon as the news about the fresh snowfall reached outside, queries are pouring in, General Manager Hotel Hilltop,” Mohammad Altaf told ‘Kashmir Vision’.
“With the fresh bout of snowfall, the enthusiasm among the tourists is rising each moment and as the snow coat is getting thicker, more and more tourists are expected to pour in, Sanaullah, a snow-biker from Gulmarg said.