Pahalgam: Hundreds of the locals and tourists participated in the two day festival which began here on Saturday at picturesque Pahalgam. The festival is aimed to attract tourists to otherwise summer resort in winter months and also send a positive message across the globe that Kashmir is lively.
During the festival, the department made elaborate arrangements to entertain tourists and provide them a peek at the local culture and heritage. Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation, Agriculture, Horticulture, Floriculture, Handicrafts, Handlooms departments have also participated in the festival who established their stalls for the visitors showcasing their products.
The stalls were decorated with thatched roofs, giving an ethnic look.
Tourists also witnessed breathtaking locales of the different destinations through a photography exhibition by the armature photographers.
During the day, many cultural events were organsied at the Pahalgam Club which entertained the participants. The book reading session was also held which was appreciated by the locals.
Traditional Tonga ride is also available through Pahalgam market besides the department also decorated Renzipal village in Pahalgam for the visitors to take a cultural walk.
In order to promote the festival, the department also developed the website kashmirfestivals.com where in all the information was updated. The website also gave the information of the hotels offering discounts.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah said the department has been promoting Pahalgam as winter destination for past many years.
“We have installed ski lifts also here and organised ski courses for the locals last winter. Besides many other activities like ice climbing was also held here to promote this resort for winter months,” said Director Tourism Kashmir.
During the festival local hoteliers also participated and illuminated their hotels besides offering 50 per cent discount for the two days of the festival.
Director Tourism Kashmir said Pahalgam has good hotel accommodation which remains mostly empty during winter months unlike ski resort Gulmarg which remains fully packed.
“Pahalgam can cater to more tourists than Gulmarg but during winter months it receives low tourist footfall. We have been promoting this festival for over a month and local hoteliers have also pitched in with their promotional campaigns which has borne fruit. We have witnessed good participation of both locals and tourists. Tourists are enjoying the festival,” said Director Tourism.The department also showcased the festival activities live on its facebook page which also received good response.