Amidst extreme cold weather, hundreds of tourists and locals celebrated New Year at the world famous ski resort of Gulamarg in north Kashmir.
Winter sports demonstrations were also held with authorities throwing open various winter sports events.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) S. M. Sahai and Director Tourism Talat Parveez were present on the occasion.
In an effort to make the New Year moments memorable for the tourists and visitors, Department of Tourism had made arrangements to conduct various games and cracker shows. Along with tourists from across the world, large number locals from across the State were also present to celebrate and enjoy the New Year celebrations
Events started from 10:30 in the morning till late in the evening. Zorbing demonstration, Sledge Race, Snow Cycling, Snow Marathon, Snow Rugby, Cross Country Event, Free Style Skiing, Skating demonstration, Night Skiing and Cracker Show were the main attractions of the event.
Organisers told KNS that the Mashaal Night Skiing was first time held in the ski resort Gulamarg which were appreciated by the tourists and locals. In this event, skiing players demonstrated skills while holding Mashaals in their hands making beautiful scenes on white snow in the darkness of the night.
The tourist resort at an altitude of 8,000 feet, 50 km north of summer capital Srinagar, had virtually been sold out with most of the hotels registering cent per cent bookings and the Tourism Department had gone an extra mile to make the beginning of the New Year a memorable one for the visitors.
Often described as the 'heartland of winter sports in India', Gulmarg played host to a number of activities to welcome 2013 much to the delight of holidayers from across the globe. Most of the tourists were already camping in one of best ski destinations of the world. Various school children also were the part of the event and presented various cultural programmes.
Sabiya Nabi, Khushbo Jan, Aishya Farooq, Muskaan, Madeeha Talat, Saira Dorani demonstrated skills in ice skating.
Various local musical bands were also the part of New Year celebration. Cultural programmes were also presented on the occasion. The IGP and Director Tourism distributed awards winners with cash and mementos.
To welcome 2013 crackers were fired at 12 mid night.
Speaking on the event, Director Tourism Talat Parveez said, “Department had begin the preparations for this event last one month. We’re happy to see the rush of tourists here”. He said that Gulmarg was only known for skiing but now through various other events and games tourists from across the world are getting to know that this place is fit and enjoyable in all seasons for various events and games.
“Last year the State witnessed 13.50 lac tourists and now we’re optimistic about this year for good number of tourists visiting State”, said Parveez.
Assiatant Director Tourism Ilyas Ahamd, Tariq Ahamd and various officials were present on the occasion.