Srinagar: In a first, a group of 70 people, mostly senior citizens, from different parts of India are in Kashmir to explore the “paradise on earth”.
It’s an unusual sight even for the flight crew, that a large group is heading to Kashmir which is an omen for a bumper tourist season ahead.
For the group of senior citizens, it is their first trip to “heaven on earth”. The records of the tourism department in Srinagar reveal a greater significance — this is the first large group of tourists to visit the Valley since the Covid 19 broke out.
“This is the first big group of tourists after Covid 19 broke out and it is a good sign. This is an indication that everything will soon be normal,” said Bindiya a tourist guide.
The group plans to stay in Srinagar for two nights, visit Dal Lake and take a ride on a Shikara (they want to see where the song ‘Taareef karun kya uski’ from Kashmir Ki Kali was shot), pray at Shankrachariya temple, visit Pahalgam , Gulmarg, Sonmarg for a day, and then return to houseboat.
Ratan Das, 81, is excited to see rose gardens in Kashmir. He said he had to fight with his children to come on this trip — a tale repeated by many in the group.
Houseboat Owner Yaqoob Danu said everyone was excited.
“I can also arrange some shawl sellers who will come in here and sell their wares.” he added.