The popular tourist spot Pahalgam reverberated with colourful activities including cultural programmes, display of art and craft, live painting and calligraphy both by amateurs and professionals, traditional music performances by renowned singers, Tonga rides, adventure sports activities, attracting good participation of locals and tourists for the 2-day Pahalgam Winter Carnival being organised by Directorate of Kashmir Tourism in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation, Pahalgam Development Authority, District Administration Anantnag, Pahalgam Hotel & Restaurant Owners Association and Pahalgam Hotel & Guest House Owners Society.
The festival, inaugurated by Director Tourism Kashmir Dr. GN Itoo in presence of CEO Pahalgam, Mushtaq Ahmad Simnani, Joint Director Tourism, Tabassum Kamili, SDM Pahalgam, Naseer Ahmad, Deputy Director Tourism Publicity Ideel Saleem, Deputy Director, Registration, Ahsan-ul-haq Chishtiis, Assistant Director Pahalgam Bilal Ahmad, is being conducted to revive the tourism sector which had been adversely affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to promote the popular resort for the winter season also.
The festival includes an exhibition of village crafts drawn from the adjoining village, the tapestry of cottage craft and handicrafts, cuisine, fruits, and other components of the village economy.
About 40 stalls displaying traditional art, craft, ethnic cuisine, street food, etc had been set up at the Pahalgam Club by various departments including Tourism, JKTDC, Handicrafts, Forest, Fisheries, Horticulture, Floriculture, Industries, Agriculture, J&K Women’s Development Corporation, School of Design, Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, Adventure Tour Operators of Pahalgam and other Private Entrepreneurs.
Youth in large numbers, who had registered for the festival, are showcasing their talent in singing, cultural activities, stand up comedy, painting, calligraphy, adventure sports, etc.
Hundreds of tourists who are enjoying the winter stay at Pahalgam also attended the event. The tourists were seen riding horses through the market enjoying the festive atmosphere within the Pahalgam market.
Speaking on the occasion, Director Tourism said the festival is a part of the department’s initiative to promote Pahalgam as a winter destination and also display rural flavour to visitors.
“Pahalgam is primarily a summer destination but we want to invite tourists to Pahalgam in the winter months also which looks so beautiful during snowfall. Though the Gulmarg ski resort is most sought after during winter months, this event will attract travelers from across the country to Pahalgam also during these months,” said Dr. Itoo
Later in the evening, musical concert and performances by famous singers like Noor Muhammad, Shazia Bashir, Abid Ali, Adil Manzoor, Shugufta and their groups, comedians like Anil Chingari and other artists enthralled the jam-packed audience with some popular numbers and acting skills.
Anchors and comperes also kept the audience glued through their skilful conduct of the programme.