Winter carnival begins in snow-covered Gulmarg (Lead)

February 3rd, 2009 - 7:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Gulmarg (Jammu and Kashmir), Feb 3 (IANS) Fresh morning snowfall provided an idyllic background for the two-day snow carnival that started in this tourist resort of Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday.More than 2,000 tourists, including around 200 foreigners, are in the resort to enjoy the beauty and witness the various sporting events being held during the festival.

“We have many events like ice skating, ice hockey, snow rugby, snow cycling, snow bike racing and martial arts on the schedule during the two-day festival,” said Shabir Ahmad, an official of the tourism department.

“The aim is to attract more and more participants for winter sports and also the tourists for whom Gulmarg has always been a dream winter destination,” Ahmad said.

“With more than two feet deep snow already on the ground, the morning snowfall has given a magic touch to our vacation here”, said Sunil Kumar, 45, who had come here with his family for the winter carnival.

Many cultural programmes are being held as sidelights to entertain the visitors.

Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora declared the festival open.

He said Gulmarg was already in the focus of winter sports lovers and more facilities and infrastructure would be provided in the future to attract both tourists and sport lovers.

The participants for the two-day events are local sports persons.

“The snow carnival is something we have been looking forward to for many days. I am sure the festival would be a grand success,” another tourism official said.

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