City View Restaurant reopens after 21 years in Kashmir

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Srinagar, July 22 (ANI): Twenty one years since it was razed by militants, the City View Restaurant in Srinagar, has literally risen from the ashes.

The restaurant, perched atop a hillock, provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.

The restaurant, an upmarket place for dining out, was thrown open to public amidst a gala function once again after a long time on Monday (July 20).

State Tourism Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Nawang Rigzin Jora inaugurated the renovated restaurant at a ceremony in which food connoisseurs, enthusiastic local residents and officials of the Tourism Department, participated.

People visiting the City View Restaurant not only can relish an array of delicacies but also enjoy serene and enchanting pristine beauty of Kashmir valley.

Many popular haunts, similar to this restaurant, had been destroyed militants in early 90s.

The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department is now taking initiatives to renovate such places and lend a boost to the tourism in the State.

The reopening of City View Restaurant comes close on the heels of the opening of the Nigeen Club, also located in Srinagar.

"Now we are trying to rebuild them (restaurants and other popular places) wherever such things have happened. We are trying to restore, rebuild and revive them... you have seen the Nigeen Club we have done a wonderful job in the club. Here is also the second place. And in the course of due time we will take up all the infrastructure which have been damaged during the militancy period," said Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister for Tourism of Jammu and Kashmir.

Now with its revival, the City View Restaurant is hoping to regain its earlier heyday by luring good old gourmets who relished the fare here, local dining out enthusiasts and tourists alike.

"This is a matter of immense happiness for us that after 21 years we have got a restaurant from where we can see the entire valley... we can see the Dal Lake, Dargah, University and the mosque in downtown. Look, the atmosphere is so good. The air is blowing above the valley. This is away from the noise of city. It indeed feels very good out here. More such tourist places should be opened so that more people can come here. If I had a choice I'll come here everyday," says an Ishrat, a resident of Srinagar.

With the renovation and reopening of places such as the Nigeen Club and the City View Restaurant, officials are hopeful that the number of tourists will hit the mark of 700,000 this year. Last year around 500,000 tourists visited the valley.

Once described as the 'Paradise on Earth', the Kashmir valley had turned into a haven for militants during the early 1990s.

But with peace and normalcy steadily returning in the Jammu and Kashmir region, holiday and adventure tourism activities like white-water-rafting, skiing, ice-skating and boat riding are gradually making a comeback.

Work is now underway to improve the long-neglected infrastructure related to tourism. The State government is also investing in two new star rated hotels and two new golf courses. By Afzal Bhat(ANI)

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