Kashmir’s tourism industry is expected to witness a boom, as many tourists have begun to arrive in the Valley.
In Srinagar, domestic and foreign tourists are enjoying their time in traditional Shikaras, a gondola-type of boat common to Kashmir.
Houseboat owners are busy mending and beautifying their houseboats ahead of summer, which is when lots of tourists arrive.
Almost all houseboat owners are ready to welcome the tourists on their boats that have been carpeted and embellished at par with star-rated hotels.
There is also a rush of tourists at the historical Mughal Gardens of the city-the Nishat and Shalimar Gardens.
First timers are delighted and have no hesitation in describing Kashmir as a ‘Paradise on Earth.’
“I came here with my friends and their families…Kashmir is really a nice place to visit, I have been to several places in India…I had visited many regions in India right from the north-eastern, to southern and central India but we find Kashmir as unique…we find it (Kashmir) more attractive and that is what we witnessed in pictures,” said A.S Dutta, a West Bengal-based tourist.
Foreign tourist Russel said: “I find it a very interesting place, the place is really beautiful, the people are really nice, they are very polite and helpful. Currently, we are at the garden. I visited so many places but this is the best one I have ever seen.”
Houseboat owners are expecting a profitable business season.
“The start of the season is good. The booking is totally packed. I feel that if things will remain unchanged that after 10-15 days you will not find any room in houseboats…I thank God for the good start but I think for a good season the peace is must. Though there is peace in the region and I pray God that the peace would continue,” said Tariq Ahmed, a houseboat owner.
From the Mughal era, Kashmir has been a retreat for people seeking respite from the summer heat.
Kashmir is regarded as a top Asian tourist destination, particularly for honeymoon couples, holidaying crowds, nature lovers, outdoor adventure enthusiasts like skiers and trekkers