Kashmir

Kashmir

The state of Jammu and Kashmir, where the snowy vale of Kashmir and the harsh but beautiful Himalayan land of Ladakh coexist with the Hindu pilgrimage sites in Jammu and Katra, has some big plans for December 2017. The J&K tourism department is organizing major events for Christmas and New Year, including a winter snow carnival. If you haven’t decided your winter vacation or New Year’s Eve destination, this might be it. ALSO READ: This Kashmir Ski Trip Video Will Make You Want to Hit the Snow NOW!

The events are being planned in Pahalgam and Gulmarg, two major tourist centers in Kashmir, especially during the snowy winter months. Both of them are popular skiing destinations, even drawing in international travelers looking for an experience different from a typical European Alpine ski trip. Despite political volatility, the people of Kashmir are immediately friendly and warm, and the culture of predominantly Muslim Kashmir is different from anything else you’ll find in any other snowy winter destination.

And that’s something that J&K is keen to promote, especially after a decline in tourist numbers. J&K tourism plans to run special campaigns in tier 2 cities in India and other countries in southeast and south Asia. It recently produced a new promotional film on the Kashmir valley to play across all major regional and New Delhi-based news channels. For 2018, J&K plans to focus on cities like Indore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Raipur and Nagpur. Peerzada Zahoor, the deputy director of publicity at the state department, said that it has also started weekend entertainment and cultural programs. NOW READ: This New Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Ad Will Melt Your Heart!

Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir has seen some big challenges in the past year and a half, ever since Hizb ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by Indian armed forces in 2016. Political unrest following the killing resulted in big hit in tourism, with travelers dropping from around 11 lakh for the first half of 2016 to just one lakh for the second half. Zahoor hopes that 2018 will be a good year for the valley. These new cultural programs, events and activities, which include social media engagements, drone videos of destinations and celebrity bytes, should help J&K see a revival.