With live music, local cuisine, four-day winter festival starts in J-K's Poonch
The event in Poonch, a district on the India-Pakistan border, has been organised by youngsters and villagers with the support of the army and the tourism department-Jammu.
From live music to kiosks serving indigenous cuisine, a four-day festival in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch has become the gathering point of locals and tourists this winter.
The 'Frozen Fiesta', which started late Saturday night, has back-to-back performances by bands from across the country as well as several programmes to showcase the cultural richness of the region.
"The motto of this festival is to bring Poonch on the country's tourism map by highlighting its tourist destinations, culture, cuisine and local produce. The festival is a move to convey the change from 'terrorism to tourism'," social worker Iftikhar Ahmad said.
The event in Poonch--a district on the India-Pakistan border--has been organised by youngsters and villagers with the support of the army and the tourism department-Jammu, a first of its kind collaboration in the Union Territory.
Tourists have started arriving in Poonch for the festival, said an elated Ahmad, who is a lawyer by profession, adding that they can enjoy local dishes at stalls set up by villagers.
"We thank the army for always coming to the rescue of the people of Poonch. First, it saved the region from Pakistani invaders and now, it is helping us to make the district a tourist destination," he said.
On Christmas eve, a 'DJ Night' was organised and with a large number of youngsters in attendance, the programme went on for several hours as DJ Anupama from Rajasthan's Jaipur and Mumbai-based DJ Tribe played a list of popular tracks.
"The festival will move to different locations to provide an opportunity to locals there to witness live performances of reputed bands of the country," one of the event's organisers said and thanked the army and the Jammu tourism department for supporting the festival.
Thirty-year-old Minakshi, a resident of Delhi, said, "Some days back, I heard about a youth festival being organised in Poonch and decided to be part of it."
She said that "we are in Pir Ki Gali and Noori over the next two days to enjoy the beauty of this place".
Pir Ki Gali is a snow-bound area along the Mughal Road that connects the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri with south Kashmir's Shopian district.
She said that after reaching here, "I felt that I have missed a lot by not exploring such a beautiful part of our country earlier".
"I am coming back along with my friends in the summer next year for trekking as I heard that there are many beautiful destinations like the Seven Springs," Minakshi said.
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