After a 30-year interval, the circus will return to the Valley. A Ludhiana-based circus troupe, New Apollo Circus, is all set to tour Kashmir for nearly three months beginning end-May.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has granted it permission and also assured adequate security arrangements. The district police too have given a go-ahead to the troupe.
"Till the mid-1980s, before armed insurgency began, circuses were common in Kashmir," says the managing director of New Apollo Circus, Bipan Jindal.
In Srinagar, the circus will be staged on the grounds of the Bemina Boys Hostel, 3km from Lal Chowk, the site of many terror attacks. The group will also perform at Chadoora village in Budgam district, which used to be a hotbed of terror activities.
Jindal, who last staged a circus in Srinagar in 1985, is hopeful that coming at the time of peak tourist season, his circus with all its rides and magic shows will pull decent crowds.
But it's not just tourists.
As Naheed Burza a BA student from Lal Bazaar, Srinagar, points out, "One entire generation of Kashmiris is strangers to the circus. This is great news for us."