15 day Ladakh festival begins

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Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir), Sep 3 (ANI): To attract more tourists, a 15 day long festival commenced in the polo ground of Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region on Tuesday.

Union Tourism and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja, while inaugurating the festival, said that this event would help showcase the rich culture, heritage and lifestyle of Ladakh, as the modern-day tourist is travelling to experience the local culture and heritage and not just for sightseeing.

"Earlier the foreign tourists outnumbered the local tourists, but now even the local domestic tourists have discovered Leh and have outnumbered the foreign tourists. This goes to show that how much our country has to offer, we have so much to offer to each other," Selja said.

Hoping that Ladakh will soon attract the tourists, Selja said that more proposals like this should be welcomed by the Tourism Ministry to promote Ladakh.

The Tourism Ministry had sanctioned huge amount in the year 2005-07 for development of Ladakh region and a project was also sanctioned for the development of tourist facilities in and around Ladakh.

The colorful Ladakh festival, which emerging as an important event in the tourism calendar of the country, will soon attract the tourists from all over the globe.

"We are trying our best to increase the percentage of tourist inflow in Ladakh every year. We are happy that we have succeeded to a large extent. We hope that more and more tourists come to visit this place in the coming years" said Tourism Minister of State Nasir Ashraf Wani.

Wani added that the tourists there have to act as our brand ambassadors, as we hope that back in their country they will tell their people about the beauty of Ladakh.

"The idea was to extend the tourist season. I am glad that the ministry came up with this idea of starting a festival. After a lapse of twelve years we have now managed to lengthen our tourist season," said Jammu and Kashmir tourism minister, Nawang Rigzen Jora.

The inaugural event was marked by some spectacular performances of different cultural groups, which were well applauded by the audience. The foreign tourists and some distinguished guests present at the event also joined the mass dance, main attraction of the show.

The Ladakh festival which will last till September 15,2009 has many attractions, which include polo match, music concerts, mask dance, cycle expedition, archery, river rafting and folk songs. (ANI)

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