Kashmir beckons tourists this summer

J&K chief minister also holds its tourism portfolio. As an ardent believer in what tourism can do for the livelihood of his people, Mufti Sayeed is personally leading a marketing campaign that has seen the CM promote in Jammu, Srinagar, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and in Delhi. He has met with Bollywood, did a courtesy call on thespian Dilip Kumar, SRK called on him, and met with industry captains in other cities. His meetings within the state were to assess the ground reality and to understand their needs to take tourism forward.

DSC_7111To an Indian audience, the beauty of the Kashmir Valley does not need to be told. We have all grown up hearing and living stories based on the myriad experiences – of the shikara rides, the scenic golf course, the houseboats on Nagin Lake, the exquisite shopping for local handicrafts – the list is endless! Over the years, the tourism sentiment was somewhat subdued, but the essential beauty and spirit has remained untarnished.

Tourism remains critical to the economy and livelihoods of the common people in Kashmir. As tourism was picking up last year, after some years of uncertainty, the flash floods wreaked havoc in the valley, disrupting the lives of thousands, apart from losses to life and property. During the last few months, as the new government, the coalition of PDP and BJP, two bitter foes having come together, both have tourism on their common agenda. Between the state chief minister and the nation’s prime minister, we have two stalwarts who have fielded tourism first in their previous incarnations – PM Modi in his earlier role as CM of Gujarat, and CM Mufti in his earlier innings as chief minister of the state.

Lalit SrinagarPresently, airlines are going full, booking in advance will help get the best airfares. Last minute booking will always prove expensive. And the same for hotels, too. Two luxury hotels – Vivanta by Taj and the Lalit Grand Palace – are the best bet for those who can afford. Medium range hotels are offering good deals, and so are hotels outside the valley. There is plenty of activity – sentiment and hope runs high and the local community knows best to make your trip memorable and fun. Kashmir’s heritage lives in its music, handicrafts, its cuisine and in its people.  It’s all waiting to be explored, again!

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