CEC Feroz Khan inaugurates 2 day Ladakh Zanskar Festival Artists from Zanskar, HP mesmerize audiences with scintillating cultural performances, stalls on local arts and crafts, archery exhibition matches, horse race, yak ride remain major attractions
KARGIL, SEPTEMBER 16, 2021: As a part of the series of events being organized by the UT Administration Ladakh in connection with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Chairman and Chief Executive Councilor, LAHDC, Kargil Feroz Ahmad Khan in presence of the Executive Councilor for Tourism Er Phunsok Tashi, Secretary Tourism and Culture Ladakh Kacho Mehboob Ali Khan and Deputy Commissioner and CEO, LAHDC, Kargil Santosh Sukhadeve inaugurated 2 day Ladakh Zanskar Festival at Padum here on Wednesday.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Tsering Motup, Superintending Engineer PWD Kargil Er Ved Prakash, Councillors, Deputy Secretary Culture Nazir Hussain, Assistant Director Tourism Aga Syed Toha, district and sub divisional officers, Sarpanchs, Panchs, senior citizens besides a large number of local people and tourists were present on the occasion.
In his address, CEC Feroz Ahmad Khan congratulated the Department of Tourism and Culture UT Ladakh, District Administration Kargil and the Ladakh Academy of Art, Culture and Languages (LAACL) Kargil for successfully conducting the Ladakh Zanskar Festival at a grand scale. He also extended his gratitude to the local and guest artists from Lahaul and Spiti for showcasing and introducing their rich culture and tradition to the people of Zanskar.
While highlighting the legacy of rich culture and tradition of Zanskar CEC Khan said LAHDC Kargil with proactive support of the UT Administration Ladakh is fully committed to develop a sustainable eco-friendly tourism related infrastructure in Zanskar. He also said that separate funds have been provisioned in order to execute various tourism related developmental works at a larger scale.
The CEC expressed optimism that in coming days Zanskar will be the epicenter of tourists in Ladakh and urged local inhabitants to keep their cultural legacy intact, adding he said that apart from the natural unique landscape of the place, tourists are also more interested to know the local art, culture and traditions.
Hailing the efforts of the NHIDCL in the speedy construction of Kargil-Zanskar Road NH-301, Khan said that major road development work has already been initiated and the road construction work is going on in full swing and the road connectivity with Kargil, Himachal Pradesh and Leh will boost the influx of tourists in Zanskar which will enhance the local economy and generate various employment avenues for locals and un- employed youth.
The CEC also hailed the departments and the local self help groups for installing various stalls to display their products, artifacts, traditional food items and other allied products and stated that many people from outside will get enlightened about the local tradition and culture.
Speaking on the occasion, Executive Councillor for Tourism and Zanskar Affairs Er Phunsok Tashi while appreciating the initiative of the UT Administration Ladakh for organizing the 2 day cultural festival said that the step on one hand will enlighten the local population about various aspects of the traditional folklore and way of life which has a distinction of its own and on the other hand provide an opportunity to tourists, travellers and researchers to understand the essence of Zanskar from close quarters.
EC Tashi also urged the UT Administration to schedule the Ladakh Zanskar Festival as an annual event on fixed dates from next year so that tourists and other interested people can plan their itinerary in advance.
Secretary Tourism and Culture Ladakh Mehboob Ali Khan in his address said that the 2 day festival has been organized by the UT Administration Ladakh in connection with the series of events being held in connection with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
Briefly revisiting the rich history of Zanskar, the Secretary said that the unique identity of Zanskar holds an important position in today’s globalized world which has immense potential to attract tourists from all over the world. He also said that the UT Administration has been taking pragmatic steps to promote tourism in Zanskar valley, and in future local people will witness the change. He said that apart from the natural attraction in terms of landscape, Zanskar has huge potential to attract tourists in various other aspects including adventure tourism, winter sports, trekking, cultural and spiritual tourism.
The Secretary said that the UT Administration is committed to make modern facilities including roads, health, education, telecommunication available to people in rural and far off areas at their door steps. He said that one of the major emphasis of the LG Ladakh is on road connectivity by strengthening the road network in the UT, adding he said that work on the construction of Kargil Zanskar Road NH-301 is going on in full swing which is expected to be completed by next year.
Secretary Tourism and Culture further said that by organizing cultural festivals like Ladakh Zanskar Festival, effort is being made to enhance the window of tourism from 3 to 4 months to 12 months a year, adding he said that the Zanskar Winter Festival will be organized on a large scale this winter. He urged the tourism industry people of Zanskar to plan things well in advance so that at least minimum required facilities can be made available to tourists visiting the area during the festival period.
Secretary Mehboob Ali Khan also requested the local representatives, tour operators, guide, hoteliers and other stakeholders to form an association in order to furnish inputs for development of sustainable tourism policy in Zanskar. He further said that scheduled helicopter services will be operated from Leh, Srinagar and Jammu with the twin objective to facilitate the local population on subsidized rates besides to promote winter tourism in Kargil District including Zanskar.
Earlier, Deputy Commissioner and CEO, LAHDC, Kargil Santosh Sukhadeve in his welcome address expressed gratitude to all dignitaries, artists and people of Zanskar for their enthusiastic participation in the festival. He expressed optimism that holding of this event as a part of the 75 years of India’s independence will prove a mirror to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Zanskar and will also help in its further preservation and promotion by enlightening people of its importance in the present times.
Meanwhile, on the 1st day of the festival today, around 200 artists from Padum and other parts of Zanskar Valley besides artists of North Zone Cultural Centre Patiala from Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh mesmerized the dignitaries and a huge gathering of local people with their traditional music and dance forms and other performances on the traditional marriage system, religious rituals and other related aspects.
Deputy Secretary Culture Kargil Nazir Hussain delivered the vote of thanks at the end.
As a part of the parallel activities traditional archery exhibition matches, traditional horse race and yak riding were also organized on the occasion.
Various departments and banks had also put up their stalls to enlighten the general population and the aspiring entrepreneurs about different government schemes while other stalls included those on the local handicrafts and handloom, agricultural products, Zanskari Doksa life style.
Later, the CEC Kargil along with the Deputy Commissioner and district officers also led a white water rafting activity in Stod River which started from Sheila and culminated near Pibiting Bridge.
During the musical evening, music bands from Leh and Kargil and folk artists presented different performances which were highly applauded by the audience.