Shimlas annual Ice-Skating Carnival draws thousands of tourists

January 1st, 2008 - 5:16 pm ICT by admin  

Shimla, Jan.1 (ANI): Thousands of winter sports lovers in Shimla had a gala time recently, as they converged to attend the day-long annual Ice-Skating Carnival hosted by the Ice-skating Club of Shimla.
I don’t think that tourists can find a similar place elsewhere in India. Particularly, this ice rink attracts tourists. This rink is Shimla’s heritage. I have enjoyed ice-skating at this rink quite a number of times. This year I have come here after a long time and enjoying every bit of the place,” said Vipin, a tourist.
“Such a scenario is rare. We have enjoyed fancy dress show by children, ice-skating and ice hockey demonstration. Such a rink is not usual. This carnival is colourful and worth seeing,” said Gautam Banerjee, a tourist.
Described to be the Queen of Hills by many, Shimla is a popular tourist destination in the country for its only natural ice-skating rink.
Stated to be Asia’s oldest open ice-skating rink, Shimla offers excellent opportunities for ice-skating enthusiasts. And, it is a regular venue of the day-long annual Ice-skating Carnival.
According to Devesh Banga of the Ice-Skating Club, owing to the carnival Shimla has earned the distinction of being one of the finest locations for ice-related recreational pursuits like skiing, ice-skating and ice hockey.
“A large number of tourists have come for the carnival. For them the festival was a unique experience, as we demonstrated all our specialties like ice-skating, ice hockey, speed hockey, fancy dress show, chain tag and dances,” said Devesh Banga of Ice-Skating Club, Shimla.
Although Gulmarg and Leh in Kashmir also boast of being venues for winter sports, the natural rink, Shimla provides an extraordinary opportunity for winter sports lovers to hone their skills on ice skates.
“Shimla is the only place to have such a rink although indoor ice skating rinks are there at a few places. If we want to make Shimla a tourist hub, we should promote winter sports,” said Suresh Bhardwaj, the newly-elected legislator of Himachal Pradesh Assembly.
Prominent events in the Ice-Skating Carnival have been fancy dress competition, ice hockey and dance performances. Indeed, all these lend vibrant life to Shimla.
Though the first week of December heralds the ‘curtain-raiser’ for the winter sports in Shimla which last till February but the maximum inflow of tourists is witnessed during the last four days of December as it coincides with the New Year celebrations and Ice-Skating Carnival.
It 2006, around 22,000 tourists had visited Shimla between December 28 and 31. (ANI)

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