To celebrate the recently awarded best off-beat tourist destination of India and to enhance and promote tourism to this virgin valley, a Grand Gurez festival was organised here by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with District Administration Bandipora and J&K Academy of Art Culture & Languages today.
The major attraction of the day-long festival was a Horse Polo match which was played between two teams of local youth. Elders in the area said that it was after around six decades that they have seen a Polo match being played in Gurez again. They appreciated the initiative of the Tourism Department and District Administration for organising and reviving the age-old tradition of Horse Polo in Gurez.
Another special feature of the festival was holding many adventure and water sports activities like Rafting, kayaking, cycling, mountain Biking, trekking besides a spectacular show of All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) for the first time in Gurez.
Performances by artists from JK Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in many dying and shrinking dialects like Sheena, Dardi, Pahari besides other local languages was an eye-catcher for the locals and tourists equally.
Speaking on the occasion, Director Tourism, Dr. G N Itoo said that the Tourism Department has been promoting Gurez through a sustained and coordinated mechanism for the last two years which yielded results recently in the destination being awarded as the best offbeat tourist spot in the country by a national publication. He hailed the support and coordination by the District administration and local population in making this happen. He urged the youth to participate with full potential in promotion of tourism and local culture of Gurez.
Dr. Itoo said possibilities would be explored to make Gurez an all weather Tourist destination. He stressed on maintaining the age-old tradition of cleanliness and sanitation of Gurez along with development of tourism related activities.