The Department of Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir organised a daylong festival with an aim to provide an impetus to the tourism industry and restore the glory of old tourists spots.
The festival was held in Verinag.
State Tourism and Culture Minister Nasir Aslam Wani said that such festivals would boost the influx of tourists in Verinag and would also promote development.
"The main aim is to showcase the potential of tourism in Verinag and the cultural heritage of Verinag and Anantnag and to develop Verinag as a resort. The development authority has built several infrastructures and there is need to build more. The tourists who visit are either transit tourists or picnickers. We will try to make Verinag a resort where people should come and construct hotels, guest house and tourists should stay overnight," said Wani.
The Verinag Spring, built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir (1569-1627) holds great importance because of its beauty, and its waters which flow out from the bottom of a mountain spur.
This famous spring and its surrounding gardens were visited by thousands of domestic as well as international tourists before the onset of insurgency in Kashmir, but due to the turmoil in the state since the two decades, this historical garden lost its charm.
The historical garden also has an old temple with some ancient idols of Hindu goddesses.
A tour operator, Fayaz Bakshi, appreciated the initiative taken by the department and said that there was a need to popularise old tourist spots.
"These festivals are very important for us as these are old segments of tourism. Tourism will generate employment and we think that there is need to popularise the tourist spots and this is a fruitful step for the development of the area and for promoting tourism," said Bakshi.
People dressed in ethnic attires presented cultural programmes at the festival.
Kashmir was once dubbed the Switzerland of the east. It was once a Mecca for climbers, skiers, honeymooners and filmmakers drawn to the state's soaring peaks, fruit orchards and timber houseboats bobbing on Dal Lake in Srinagar.
Malik Riyaz said that the festival would make the tourists aware about the recent developments that have taken place in the valley.
"The tourists are attracted towards the state when such festivals are hosted at national level. There are many things in Kashmir which people are not aware about. When these festivals are organised the people get aware about the state," said Riyaz.
Planeloads of India's upwardly mobile middle classes have visited the picture postcard-perfect Kashmir Valley this summer, making it the busiest tourist season since the armed revolt began in 1989.
In wake of the decline in violence in India's Kashmir, one gets to see various development activities taking place in every sector. One such example is the opening of ATM in the border village and recently radio cabs were also introduced.
Recently India's junior telecom minister Sachin Pilot launched the video conferencing facility with the help of a landline phone in the state. It was launched under the aegis of the state run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). (ANI)