Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department today said the two-day ‘Pahalgam Festival’ later this month would be an important event to attract tourists to the south Kashmir resort.
“The festival will start on 17 February and it will showcase our ethnic cuisine, street food, and handicrafts, it will have village walks, forest walks and tonga (chariot) rides to promote the culture and heritage of Kashmir,” Director Tourism, Kashmir, Mehmood Shah said here.
He said that Pahalgam is generally a summer destination, but the department has started highlighting the potential of winter tourism at the health resort.
The department has started ice-climbing which was previously unheard of in the area and is working on highlighting aspects of winter tourism, Shah said.
“The place has a number of hotels and it is the budget hotels which bear the brunt of any situation. So, this festival is primarily to promote budget tourism,” he said.
The festival would also have a segment on shadow art which would be conducted for the first time in Kashmir, the director said, adding that the department had roped in people from Kolkata.
“The stories for the segment will be local. We have gone into an aggressive campaign to promote this festival and attract tourists. We have gone on an overdrive on social media and we will have a festival-specific website for it,” Shah said
“This year there was a dearth of snow, but now we are expecting snowfall in a few days and hope to attract tourists, especially foreigners, who are waiting for it to snow,” he said.
The snowfall would also add to the importance of the Pahalgam Festival. Private stakeholders have developed customised packages for the festival, the director said.