Fleeing the rising summer heat elsewhere in the country, tourists are thronging picturesque Kashmir to enjoy the snow-clad mountains and bright sunshine in the region.
Tourists say Kashmir was far more beautiful than they had thought it to be.
“I had imagined the beauty of Kashmir from my childhood … This place is certainly more beautiful than I imagined,” Kolkata resident Balarata Patra said in Sonmarg, 85 km from Srinagar.
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Patra said while she was enjoying her time in Kashmir, known as the Switzerland of the east, she wonders how she will cope with the weather when she returns home.
“It is so pleasant here… I have been sending photographs of snow to my friends in Kolkata and all they wish is that I could send some snow to them to beat the heat,” she quipped.
Snow scooter and sledge rides have become great attractions to visitors.
“I have captured the beauty and beautiful moments of Kashmir. These will stay with me,” Patra added.
Nikita, who is from Bengaluru, was all praise for Kashmir. “It is so beautiful… I think I should be visiting every six months.”
She said she had heard from friends that every season in Kashmir has a different charm. “I want to experience all the seasons of Kashmir.”
Vishakha, Nikita’s sister, feels April is the best time to visit Kashmir as one can enjoy the snow as well as warm sunshine.
“There was no snow in Doodhpathri but the greenery there is amazing. I love snow and I enjoyed a lot in Sonamarg and Gulmarg,” she said.
Jammu and Kashmir witnessed record tourist arrivals last year. The numbers have been good this year as well.
“Tourists are coming in good numbers, and our season has just begun,” said an official of the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department. “We hope to match the last year’s figures, if not exceed them.”
(With agency inputs)