J&K govt organises 3-day festival in Gurez Valley to promote tourism
In a bid to boost tourism in Gurez Valley in Bandipora district, the Tourism department of the union territory has organised a three-day festival.
Gurez Festival, which aims to highlight the heritage and culture of the area, commenced on Friday. It has been organised in collaboration with the local administration.
During the festival, several cultural and traditional programmes will be performed by different clubs of Gurez.
A special feature of the festival is the presentation of cultural items by various local groups particularly in Sheena, Dardi, Pahari, and other local dialects.
A number of stalls have also been set up by different departments including animal and sheep husbandry, handloom, sericulture and handicrafts.
Many local people and tourists visited the stalls and evinced keen interest in the products on display.
Dr G N Itoo, Director of Tourism in Kashmir told ANI that the objective is to promote tourism in unknown or lesser-known destinations.
Stating that Gurez is at par with other tourist destinations and has huge potential, Dr Itoo said, "Gurez not only has scenic beauty but the local culture including music and dance is also attractive. In terms of adventure, fishing, rafting, trekking and even for nature walks this is a good destination. The tourists are bound to take away a unique experience from here."
Gurez is considered one of the best tourist spots in the union territory, but due to lack of exposure, it does not get enough visitors.
The valley is located about 170 km from Srinagar, but the route to Gurez always remains closed for five to six months during winter starting from December due to heavy snowfall in the area.
The residents of the area lauded authorities for organising the festival and said that it is bound to increase the influx of tourists.
Farooq Kaloo said, "Because of this festival, tourists can be attracted benefitting hotels and others in the tourism business. We thank the tourism department and local bodies. Such festivals should be held here more often."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism had been affected, however, the festival will give it a boost, said Mohd Ilyas, a resident of the Gurez valley.
Another local, Ejaz Lone stressed that Gurez has a variety of landscapes, which are unexplored.
"In the last few years, the inflow of tourists was low. However, tourists have started coming here. In a day about 400-500 tourists come here. Till now, Gurez was not explored," he said.