The Jammu Festival, aimed at showcasing the rich culture, heritage and traditions of the city, began with a scintillating recital on the santoor, enthralling many visitors.

The six-day long festival was inaugurated by Governor N.N. Vohra and Tourism Minister Gulam Ahmed Mir at the General Zorawar Singh Auditorium of Jammu University on Wednesday.

Addressing a gathering, Governor Vohra complimented Mr. Mir for taking the initiative and reviving the Jammu Festival after a gap of six years. He hoped the people of Jammu would enjoy the five-day programme and the festival would be a memorable experience for them.

A melodious confluence of the tabla and the santoor, played by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, filled the air, mesmerising the 1,000-strong audience.

Mr. Mir said the objective of the festival was to attract a large number of tourists to Jammu and Kashmir and present the rich art, culture and the scenic beauty of the State.

He said about 1.05 crore pilgrims visited the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in Katra annually. Even if half of them could be attracted to stay on and visit Patnitop, Mansar-Sruinsar, Rajouri-Poonch, Bani-Basohli, Baderwah and other scenic spots, the State’s economy would receive a big boost.

The Minister appealed to the private sector to participate in infrastructure building in the tourism sector.