A Festive Winter

Kashmir valley full of tourists on the eve of New Year celebrations
"And finally, if you are spiritually inclined, the numerous religious shrines will show you the way to peace and serenity."
"And finally, if you are spiritually inclined, the numerous religious shrines will show you the way to peace and serenity."Special arrangement

Around 1.62 crore tourists have visited Jammu and Kashmir already since January 2022, and it is the highest ever tourist inflow figure in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. And on the eve of new year celebrations of 2023, all the tourist places of the region are jam packed despite the bone chilling cold weather.

The Jammu and Kashmir tourism department is all set to host mega events on all the top tourist destinations across the region like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Patnitop to keep a celebrations atmosphere for all the tourists and locals on the New Year celebrations.

Winter in Kashmir valley shows a positive sign for all the tourism players to keep doors open of all the hotels and restaurants all across the valley be it in Gulmarg, Pahalgam or Sonamarg as all the three tourist destinations are receiving huge snowfall in harsh winter period in Kashmir valley, thus making a merry for tourists to enjoy snowfalls round the winter season.

Kashmir is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, and features in the travel wish list of almost all travelers. However, most parts of the valley remain closed during winters due to harsh cold weather and heavy snowfall, thereby making things difficult for travel.

Some of the popular tourist places like Karnah, Sonamarg, and Gurez usually remain closed for tourists due to low visibility, and snowfall. Now, after 70 years, all the three places will remain open for tourists in the winter months in a move to boost the region’s tourism sector.

Reportedly, the government, for the first time in 70 years, is planning to introduce adventure sports and other activities in those places only to increase footfall of tourists as the new proposed ski slopes will be developed in snow-bound areas with rather good connectivity.

One can never run out of places to explore in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The land is brimming with picturesque vistas, amazing flora, stunning architecture and there are quaint homestays and eco-friendly resorts that visitors can choose from.

Those with an adventurous bent of mind will find a plethora of activities waiting for them. And finally, if you are spiritually inclined, the numerous religious shrines will show you the way to peace and serenity.

Kashmir is an epitome of natural beauty, and it is renowned the world over for that. You can soak your senses on the many lakes, gardens and hill stations that attract thousands of tourists every year. Take perfect pictures and take home memories of a perfect holiday.

Faheem Qureshi, a young entrepreneur of Srinagar city soon after completing degree in Tourism had setup his own business venture “Stay Pattern Hospitality Services” in 2019, first of its kind in Kashmir valley for the promotion of tourism business for top leading hotels in Gulmarg, Pahlagam, Sonamarg and Srinagar city for all the four seasons.

Faheem seems to be very optimistic about the winter tourism and is expecting high international and domestic tourists in the winter season for Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg tourist resorts as huge snowfall is expected and can attract more and more tourists.

Stay Pattern Hospitality Services currently handles the marketing and promotional business of leading hotels of Kashmir valley including The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar, Shaw Inn, Gulmarg, Arco Hotels & Resorts, Sonamarg, Lake Avenue at Dal Lake and are planning to expand with seven more by the end of this year as tourists arrival are expected to be much more in winter.

Nayeem Nazir, owner of Wayn Tour and travels of Srinagar city is very keen to get maximum numbers of tourists during the winter season of this year as he is very much hopeful as top national tour operators from Delhi, Maharashtra, Pune, Surat, Gujarat, Jaipur, Bangalore had already visit Kashmir valley during many times in 2022 and due to the promotional activities of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department at local, national and international levels attracted maximum number of national and international tourists to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

Javaid Kralyari another tour and travel operator says that during Diwali festival, tourist flow was good as compared to other years in Autumn season in Kashmir and as winter has already  approached, excellent number of foreign and domestic tourists are expected in the Kashmir valley especially in Gulmarg where winter games are scheduled to happen for which booking has already started in the hotels. If the snowfall happens in full swing at Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg areas, it will attract more and more tourists and hotel booking will be full.

Jammu & Kashmir is known for its religious shrines as well. The state abounds with important pilgrimage sites for people of all religions, whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikhs or Buddhist. There are people who travel from far to pay homage, and others who visit to feast their eyes upon the beauty of some of these ancient structures.

The beautiful sanctuaries of Jammu and Kashmir reward the nature seeker with views of diverse topography as well as the rarest species of wildlife. The state has several national parks and sanctuaries, aimed at protecting some of these endangered species. Lucky visitors can catch a glimpse of the hangul (Kashmiri stag), leopard, wild cats, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan marmot, musk deer, and a species of wild goat. Himalayan birds, like pheasants, the golden eagle and the bearded vultures can also be spotted.

All the three top tourist destinations like Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg make perfect choice for every domestic or international tourist to visit Kashmir valley and cherish the winter cold and enjoy snowfalls and feel the real fragrance of “Paradise on Earth” here, here and here only in this world.

(The author is a regular columnist)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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