At a time when restive Kashmir is struggling to revive tourism, video clipping of an unknown tourist expressing his love for the picturesque Dal Lake is breaking the internet.
The one-minute video believed to be captured recently, finds the tourist anchoring his amateur presentation inside famous Dal lake in the summer capital of Srinagar. The tourist starts with traditional Islamic greetings: Assalamu Alaykum.
He explains how he is enjoying the boat ride in a “beautiful canoe” and subsequently introduces the boatman Aadil as “a very smart guy.” The tourist says he preferred canoe over a traditional Shikara (which has a rooftop) because he wanted to enjoy an unhindered view of the valley.
He goes on to demonstrate that his small boat is adequately equipped. “Wow! I am out for boating. See, I am carrying a pillow and blanket along so that in case I feel cold I can cover myself.”
The tourist says the boat ride is so enjoyable that has hired the canoe for one full month. After his farewell words “Tata viewers, Bye!”, he concludes the clip with a surprising gesture. “Dal Lake! I kiss you: Muaah!”
Interestingly, the video clip has gone viral at a time when Kashmir’s tourism industry has suffered another jolt in the form of a fresh spell of street protests in the valley.
After the unrest of 2016, though the situation had improved to some extent, the tourism industry has been witnessing an unusual slump, with little or no footfall of visitors.
This is despite the fact that the state government has spent over three crore rupees on holding roadshows outside the state, while Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who also holds the portfolio of a Tourism Minister has been personally going places for such promotional activities.
But when other means have failed to give desired results, the tourism industry now pins hope on such “natural gestures.” “See the beauty of this video is that it’s natural and love of this man for Kashmir is equally natural. Such acts can definitely attract others to the valley because otherwise negative publicity mainly by electronic media has been proving detrimental. Otherwise, when this visitor is enjoying every moment in Kashmir, others can as well,” said Shahid (name changed), a Srinagar-based travel agent.