Music, laser show, cultural programmes all lined up for Jaishne Chalia-i-Kalan at famed ski resort of Gulmarg

Gulmarg is one of the top attractions for tourists in Kashmir

Forget floods, it is time to party in the paradise!Leaving behind the pain and trauma of the devastating floods, Kashmir is gearing up to celebrate the New Year in style. More than 2,000 tourists are reaching the famed ski resort of Gulmarg to celebrate the New Year in Kashmir.Music, live DJ show, cultural programmes, digital firecracker show, laser show, cycling et al are planned for the New Year revelries in Gulmarg. The New Year event is a part of three-day Jashn-e Chillai Kalan (the 40 days harshest period of winter in Kashmir starting December 21), which took off in Srinagar on December 29.”All the hotels in Gulmarg are packed for the New Year. We are expecting 2,000 tourists in Gulmarg on the New Year,” Talat Parvez, director of tourism, Kashmir, told dna.This is the first major tourism-related activity after the devastating floods wreaked havoc in Kashmir in September this year. Official figures reveal that around 12.5 lakh families were affected due to flood fury that claimed 281 lives –196 in Jammu province and 85 in the Kashmir Valley. Kashmir Inc, has pegged the losses at over Rs one lakh crore.”A beginning has been made and we have been getting 20,000 tourists per month. In December, we are expecting 30,000 arrivals,” said Talat.Tourism sector had suffered huge financial losses in the floods. Most of the hotels in Srinagar suffered extensive damages due to the September floods. Coupled with the massive cancellations of bookings, the tourism sector was one of the worst hit by the devastating floods.Floods notwithstanding, the tourist inflow has crossed 11 lakh in Kashmir. Official figures reveal that around 12 lakh tourists visited the Kashmir Valley in 2013 compared to 13.11 lakh tourists in 2012.”Our aim (of celebrating New Year) is to boost tourism in Kashmir. We want that lean season too is celebrated in Kashmir. It is never a lean season in Kashmir. Every season is good time to visit Kashmir. We are welcoming the New Year for the better tourist growth next year,” said Talat.Tourism department has gone whole hog in attracting more tourists in 2015. “We are planning a snow festival in Gulmarg as soon as snow falls. Tentatively it will be held from January 21 to 30. Plus more competitive events are planned in February. We are also planning to hold second season of Heli-skiing event in March 2015,” said the tourism director.

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Despite floods, New Year parties back in paradise