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‘Snow wedding’ brings good tidings for tourism industry in Kashmir Valley

Australian couple has married in Gulmarg world famous ski resort.

Australian couple has married in Gulmarg world famous ski resort.   | Photo Credit: PHOTO THE HINDU

Guests came on skis to Gulmarg’s historic church

The wedding of an Australian couple at snow-filled Gulmarg has lifted the spirits of the flagging tourism industry in Kashmir, where tourists’ footfall has recently seen an unprecedented decline. The pictures of the couple went viral on the Internet on Saturday, putting the spotlight back on the destination, just 55 km from Srinagar.

Tim Robertson and Kate Hamilton described their wedding as “nothing less than a fairy tale”, after the pictures shot at the snow-bound 100-year-old St. Mary’s Church on Thursday were widely shared by local residents.

The couple chose to wear Indian attire on the day of the wedding. However, they had to settle for snow boots to reach the church. Most guests arrived on skis and kept warm with the kangri, a pot of hot embers. The temperature in Gulmarg has been minus 10° Celsius at night. “A local gifted me a scarf on the occasion. It was very touching,” said Ms. Hamilton.

Local cuisine

Kashmiri music and local cuisine were highlights of the wedding. Mr. Robertson said they had been planning a “white wedding” in the mountains. “I am glad we decided to have it in Gulmarg. The place has spectacular mountains and the warmest people,” he said.

‘Snow wedding’ brings good tidings for tourism industry in Kashmir Valley

Former Chief Minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah also wished the couple, while sharing the wedding pictures on social media. “A destination wedding with a difference. Nice to see some of the wedding party on skis. 30 years since the last one, Gulmarg’s historic church plays host to another wedding,” he tweeted.

Nazir Ahmad, a tour operator, said the viral pictures of the wedding had come as a shot in the arm for the tourism industry, which has suffered due to militancy in the Valley. “From 13 lakh tourists in 2012, the footfall has dropped by an alarming 35%,” said a tourism official.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:22:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/snow-wedding-brings-good-tidings-for-tourism-industry-in-kashmir-valley/article26163365.ece

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