Extensive and serious measures for conservation, restoration and maintenance of Mughal Gardens have started taking practical shape now.
The beginning has been made with Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha on Saturday laying the foundation stone for this purpose at Shalimar Garden.
The development is a follow up action of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Jammu Kashmir Government and Mumbai based JSW Foundation for the conservation, restoration and maintenance of Mughal Gardens at Nishat and Shalimar.
As per the MoU the JSW Foundation shall extend technical and financial support. The J&K Government will provide assistance and funding for the project through support resources and other infrastructure.
The Mughal Gardens at Nishat and Shalimar in Srinagar have always been a great attraction for the tourists visiting Kashmir.
In past no serious effort was made for conservation and maintenance of the two historic gardens. However, after Lieutenant Governor laid the foundation stone, it is expected now that something very significant and productive is going to happen for the maintenance of the glory and grace of Mughal Gardens.
JSW Foundation and J&K government is collaborating with heritage and conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah for the project. In his speech LG Sinha on Saturday said that gardens are living reflection of cultural heritage and added that UT Government, in collaboration with JSW Foundation, is making consistent efforts to restore the glorious heritage of J&K, which will further give a fillip to tourism in the region.
He said Floriculture Department is making dedicated efforts to preserve the historical-cultural heritage of eight Mughal Gardens.
The dossier of the Mughal Gardens was already sent for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Site last year and it has boosted the influx of tourists and locals to these gardens, LG added.
Kashmir witnessed extraordinary rush of tourists this year. As per media reports quoting tourism department officials almost all the major hotels and houseboats have advance booking for next two months also.
According to figures in media, seven lakh tourists have visited Kashmir in the first four months. The figures are very encouraging since the tourism sector was worst hit for last several decades because of the situation.
Whatever little improvement was witnessed during last few years was again badly affected by COVID-19. But, 2022 now breaking some old records, it is expected that coming years too will be more fruitful for tourism.