Sonamargs Winter Breakthrough: New Year celebration marks tourism milestone – greaterkashmir

Ganderbal, Jan 1: In a significant development for Kashmir’s winter tourism, the renowned health resort of Sonamarg in Ganderbal district played host to a special New Year celebration for the first time. Traditionally closed during winters due to challenging road conditions caused by heavy snowfall and avalanches, Sonamarg has witnessed a transformation in recent years.

Authorities have undertaken substantial efforts to enhance infrastructure, ensuring regular electricity and water supply, making strides to keep this picturesque tourist destination accessible for an extended period during the winter season.

With significant strides in the construction of the Z-Morh tunnel near Sonamarg, the crown jewel of Kashmir’s tourist destinations has defied its traditional winter closure. The administration has orchestrated meticulous arrangements, utilizing the Z-Morh escape tunnel for winter connectivity. Directives have been issued to the tunnel construction agency, ensuring the implementation of comprehensive safety measures.

With the new year celebration at Sonamarg, tourists were happy to explore the new winter tourist destination of Kashmir.

“Celebrating New Year in Sonamarg was truly enchanting—the snow-covered landscape, the festive atmosphere, and the warmth of the locals made it an unforgettable experience. Sonamarg’s first New Year celebration marked the start of a cherished tradition for me,” Rajeev Patel, a tourist from Gujarat.

Notably, a series of meetings involving the district administration, Sonamarg Development Authority, and key stakeholders, including hoteliers and traders, have transpired recently. During these sessions, authorities conducted thorough reviews of the preparations to sustain Sonamarg’s accessibility throughout the winter season.

On Sunday, the Tourism Department,  Sonamarg Development Authority, district administration Ganderbal with the support of local hoteliers and other stakeholders organised the first ever event to celebrate the new year . A large number of tourists, locals thronged Sonamarg to witness the event which included music, and other cultural activities.

This world famous tourist destination, Sonamarg adorned in the splendor of snow-capped peaks with sub-zero temperatures, bid farewell to 2023 and welcomed 2024 with unprecedented fervor during the first-ever Two-Day New Year Festival, which concluded on Monday. The entire locale transformed into a festive spectacle with vibrant illuminations, hosting a series of functions to entertain both tourists and local visitors. ” The two-day New Year Festival, organised by the District Administration in collaboration with the Tourism Department, aimed to not only celebrate the scenic beauty of Sonamarg but also position it as a premier winter destination” officials said. Both locals and tourists applauded the district administration for their effective promotion and publicity efforts, contributing to Sonamarg’s rising stature as a winter retreat.

Locals as well as the stakeholders including Hoteliers, people associated with tourism said that they are happy and thankful to the administration for keeping Sonamarg open during winter’s and organising a new year Festival that will promote Sonamarg on winter tourist destination map.

In a major boost to adventure tourism in Sonamarg, the Tourism Department and SDA in collaboration with the youth services and sports department held the first ever Ice skating event here. Officials said that aiming to attract more tourists and provide recreational opportunities for local youngsters, first time they have started ice skating this winter in the tourist resort Sonamarg. ” Considering the location and temperature, we decided to initiate ice skating. After consultations with stakeholders, we have taken this step with an initial focus on training the local youngsters,” officials of the Sonamarg Development Authority said.

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