Jammu: Tourism sector—the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir economy—is set to be revived with Jammu and Kashmir Administration organising a three-month long festival from the month of October to showcase tourist destinations and rich culture of the Union Territory to attract tourists from across the country and worldwide.
Department of Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir, Union Territory, Jammu Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation and many other stakeholders have been roped in to make this festival a gala event and revive this sector that remained mostly affected from 2016 onwards after law and order problem broke out with the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Terrorist Burhan Wani followed by political development in 2018 when BJP pulled out of alliance with the PDP, in 2019 due to the abrogation of Article 370 and them in 2020-2021 due to the COVID pandemic.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on August 18 at an event at Katra in Reasi had said that the government is looking forward to organizing a 3-month long festival to popularize various tourist destinations.
“We are looking ahead to organize a 3-month long festival to popularize various tourist destinations”, said the Lt Governor.
“Three months from October to January, publicity, promotional events, cultural and folk programmes, will be shaping up the tourism sector,” said an official.
Expressing that the initiative is taken as a part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to mark glorious 75 years of Indian Independence starting from October mid till January 22, 2022 will be showcasing sufi music, shikara race, saffron fair, literary convention, food festival and many other mega events to be hosted at twin regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
“In October with Ruh-e-Sufi Festival the festival will commence and followed by Hafiz Nagma, Kalam-e-Khusro, Kalam-e-Baba Farid, Qawwali, Dervish Sufi Dance and Hagar Kathak,” the official said and added that literary conference on Sufism, exhibition of art related to calligraphy and Sufi tradition will also be established.
“House Boat Festival will be organised to welcome the New Year along with the Ruh-e-Sufi Festival. World Heritage Day and Saffron Festival will be held in November,” he said.
He said that special events will be organized on the occasion of Christmas in Srinagar and Gulmarg in December while New Year celebrations will also be held on December 31.
In Jammu Division, he added that Jammu festival, Navratri festival, water rafting competition in River Chenab, Mansar-Surinsar Festival, Patnitop Winter Carnival, and Lohri Festival will also be organized.
He further said that Aatam in Sonmarg and Winter Festival in Pahalgam, cultural fair at Khadniyar, Snow Festival at Gulmarg, Art Festival and Mata Vaishno Devi Sangeent Sammelan at Basohli in Kathua, are also among part of three-month long Tourism promotion festival.
Besides, he said that Kishtwar Saffron, Border Events at Suchetgarh and special focus on rural tourism will also be laid, adding, “special tourism activities will be organized in Bhaderwah-Sarthal-Bani, Tattapani-Chingus in Rajouri and Sudhmahadev-Mantalai-Dudu-Basantgarh circuit in Udhampur.”
There will be programs based on local handicrafts, food and art culture, he said asserting that efforts are being made to bring the tourism sector back on track for which the Culture Department has been directed to hold a massive publicity campaign regarding the proposed tourism festival.
“The Cultural Department has been told to identify all the heritage sites in the twin divisions and ensure their conservation, restoration, promotion vis-a-vis promotion of art culture of both the divisions, cultural mapping and event cataloguing,” he said.
“The upcoming three-month long tourism festival hopefully will be an effective step and and opportunity to bring the tourism sector of Jammu and Kashmir back on the track,” they revealed. (UNI)