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Draped in a white snow cover, Gulmarg welcomes New Year with Fireworks
Snow-bound Gulmarg, considered to be one of the best ski-resorts in the world has marked its comeback on the winter tourism map as hundreds of local, domestic and international tourists welcome the New Year amidst a spectacular display of fireworks, music and dance.

A SPECTACULAR display of fireworks welcomed the New Year as hundreds of locals and tourists, braving the freezing temperatures reached Gulmarg that was covered in a white blanket of snow. The ski-resort in the North Kashmir, famous for its raw beauty, breath-taking slopes is considered one of the best ski-resorts in the world and New Year’s event marked its re-entry into the map as a popular tourist destination.

Though the snowfall has been scanty till this time but still the revellers are making a beeline to the tourist spot, located 52 km from summer capital Srinagar. While the hoteliers were making sure that all heating arrangements are in place to fight the chill, tourists left their cosy hotel rooms as the clock struck 12 and welcomed the New Year with hooting, music and dance.

Firework display was organised by the State Tourism Department who are trying their level best to popularise the tourism map of the state that has seen more than half a million tourists past summer. This year, the department is also offering snowboarding and ice-skating to attract the tourists in the season, considered to be little lean due to bone-chilling cold.

Mayank Sharma, a Journalism student has come all the way from Gujarat. Though spine-chilling cold is giving him a tough time but he is enjoying every moment here. "This is a dream come true. I feel being in heaven enjoying with my friends. I have just come to Kashmir and I am enjoying the scenic beauty here," Mayank told Merinews.

Hoteliers, who had to face a rough time in winters are equally excited at the festive season here and expect more tourists to throng the place after the first week of January, as Met department has predicted heavy snowfall on 4th and 5th January. Zameer Ashai, a hotel manager told Merinews thathis hotel is abuzz with activity. “This is an ideal beginning of the New Year. During last couple of decades, nobody would turn up at the place during winters but after the Tourism department added new attractions in the form of ice-skating, snow-boarding, ski-championships and last but not the least, Gondola (lift) ride to Kondori, people have been turning up, without bothering about the cold,” said Zameer.

Though most of the people had turned up for the New Year celebrations, but hoteliers hope that a good beginning will at least lead to a steady stream of tourists, making their way to the resort. Much to the rejoice of local businessmen, tourists who welcomed New Year in Gulmarg have only praise to shower on the place.

"We had come here from Delhi for the first time this year to welcome 2012. We have been to many places in Europe for the same celebrations, but our Gulmarg visit will always stand out because of the amazing beauty of the place," said Prakash Kumar, 27, who belongs to Greater Noida told

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