BANDIPORA: To celebrate the best off-beat tourist destination of India, a Grand Gurez festival was organised by the Department of tourism in collaboration with District Administration Bandipora to enhance and promote tourism in the Gurez valley.
On the occasion, a Grand show of local Cuisines, Culture, customary handicrafts and sports of the Gurez valley was held.
A special feature of the festival was presentation of cultural items by various local groups particularly in Sheena, Dardi, Pahari, and other local dialects.
Performance by artists from JK Academy of Art, Culture and Languages was eye catching for the audience.
A number of stalls were set up by different departments including Animal and Sheep Husbandry, Handloom, Sericulture, Handicrafts, Tourism, ICDS, NRLM, KVK Gurez besides locals showcasing traditional and heritage items used in Gurez.
The festival was attended by Deputy Commissioner (DC) Bandipora, Dr. Owais Ahmed; Director Tourism G. N. Itoo; Commander 109 Brigade Dawar, Pranav Kumar; SSP Mohd Zahid; ADC Bandipora, Waseem Raja; Joint Director Planning, Imtiyaz Ahmad; Deputy Director Tourism for publicity Deeba Khalid, SDM Gurez and other concerned officers.
DDC members Gurez and Tulail, BDC members, civil society members also attended the festival.
Local people in thousands and tourists visited the stalls and evinced keen interest in the products on display.
In his welcome address, the Director Tourism said that Gurez recently became a National level best offbeat tourist destination with the efforts of the Tourism Department, District Administration Bandipora, and locals of Gurez.
He Appreciated the DC Bandipora for his contribution in the tourism sector and said that modern tourists prefer Offbeat destinations and urged the youth to participate with full potential in promotion of tourism and local culture of Gurez.
He said efforts are on the forefront to make Gurez an all weather Tourist Destination.
He stressed on maintaining the age-old tradition of cleanliness and sanitation of Gurez along with development of tourism related activities.
Speaking on the occasion, the DC Bandipora congratulated the people of Gurez for the best off-beat tourist destination award in India. He said youth are main stakeholders in tourism promotion in Gurez Valley. He said tourism not only provides enjoyment but also employment to youth.
Dr. Owais urged youth to come forward for tourism promotion and developmental works in the area. Gurez youth have performed exemplary work in promoting Hospitality in the Ecologically sensitive area of Gurez, he added.
He said developmental works in crores are going on in Gurez and district administration is committed to develop the area at par with other areas of UT.
Dr. Owais said that the 2.5 MW power project by NHPC will soon be made functional to provide uninterrupted power supply to Gurez.
On the occasion, a Horse polo match was played between two groups of local youth. Locals informed that Horse polo has been revived after more than 60 years in Gurez.
They appreciated the efforts of the Tourism Department and District Administration for organising such a grand festival and reviving the age-old tradition of Horse Polo in Gurez.
Dr. Owais said the aim of the festival was to emphasise adventure, river, eco tourism in addition to the culture and art of Gurez.
Under the initiative of Adventure tourism, DC along with Director Tourism flagged-off groups of students for kayaking, rafting, and trekking.
Apart from the adventure tourism activities, the all terrain vehicles (ATV) were for the first time introduced in Gurez which was lauded by locals.