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January 16, 2010

Mughal built Verinag spring to be restored in Kashmir

     Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir state has plans to give a facelift to a heritage water spring in the Kashmir Valley. Verinag spring, built by Mughal emperor Jahangir (1569-1627) holds great importance because of its beauty, and its blue waters which flow out from the bottom of a mountain spur. Earlier this month, the Jammu and Kashmir government declared 2010 as 'Visit Kashmir' year, to attract domestic and foreign tourists to the state. Officials say that the restoration work is necessary as the spring is a heritage site. This famous spring and its surrounding gardens were visited by thousands of domestic as well as international tourists before the onset of insurgency in Kashmir , but due to the turmoil in the state since the two decades, this historical garden lost its charm. The historical garden also has an old temple with some ancient idols of Hindu goddesses. "It's a heritage site and we are going to take up its restoration work soon because Verinag is a far-flung area, and people here need to be made aware of its importance,” said Khalid Mehmood , an engineer. “Here, we have the world-famous resort also, and that's why the place requires immediate development,” he added. The government has also constituted a Verinag Development Authority for the purpose of revival of the site, and major restoration work is being carried out by the authority. The authority has taken up construction of a tourist centre, budgeted accommodation, hutments, clubs, development of parking lots and construction of bus stands. With the state government showing keen interest in developing historical and new tourist destinations on modern lines, this centuries-old site of Kashmir is being developed as well. Locals have welcomed the move. "This spring belonging to the Mughal era was lying ignored for the past 350 years. Now as the state government has considered it for revival, people can see the heritage value of this spring," said Shabir Shah, a local resident. About 80 kilometres away from, Srinagar , the Verinag spring is considered the original source of River Jhelum.
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