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  • Program aimed at providing entertainment avenues, encouraging local talent

SRINAGAR:  The Department of Tourism Kashmir resumed its Valley Weekend programme here at Zabarwan Park on Sunday with a mesmerizing performance by local singers. The Valley Weekend programme is aimed at entertaining tourists, engaging locals in music, cultural and sports activities besides providing a platform to the local artists and athletes to showcase their talent.

The Department in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art Culture and Languages will organize these programmes every weekend as part of its tourism promotional programmes. Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah said the Department started ‘Valley Weekend’ program to entertain tourists and engage locals with a host of activities every weekend.

"Tourists come here and enjoy the beauty but they miss entertainment. Such programs will entertain them and will also attract locals who can come along with families and keep their weekends busy," said Director Tourism Kashmir. The entry to the events is free and open to all. Director Tourism Kashmir said that there are lot of misconceptions among travelers regarding Kashmir and such activities will counter such misconceptions. On Sunday, the Department would also organize first ever ‘Srinagar Adventure Race’ which would include swimming, cycling, hiking and running.

Scores of local athletes have already registered with adventure race which would be flagged off at Nigeen Sports Center at 5:30am where participants would swim 200 meters in Nigeen Waters before mounting on Mountain Bikes who will ride to Zabarwan Park via Foreshore road and Nishat and then finally climb to Shankaracharya Hill from where they would run back to Zabarwan Park to finish the 27 km adventure race.

Director tourism said they have kept Sundays for sports activities to provide a platform for the Valley youth to showcase their talent in sports and improve their performances. “We organized swimming classes, mountain biking events in the past and many of youth were trained in these sports activities. Most of them are also participating in this adventure race. We have provided them with every facility to learn these adventure sports activities,” said Shah.

Notably, the Department of tourism has established a cycle hire shop at Zabarwan Park, where both tourists and locals alike take bikes on rent at nominal charges and enjoy the local beauty. “During competitions, we don’t charge any rent from the participants for using mountain bikes. We have also organized free swimming classes at Nigeen Club where the facilities and equipment are available for locals to use,” he said.