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April 9, 2010

Tourists throng Kashmir's Pahalgam region

     Srinagar: Tourists are arriving in large numbers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pahalgam region to beat the heat. Hotel and guesthouse-owners, pony-owners and even small-time shopkeepers are hoping that they can do brisk business this year. 'I really thank God for this. Five-ten years ago, tourists used to come from 15th April. But this year tourists have come early. They have started coming from March 1. As you can see, there are a lot of tourists on this ground and the markets," said Reyaz Ahmad, a pony-owner. "I have come here for the first time. It's very nice. The weather is very pleasant. There's no tension about terrorists and there's full security. I am really enjoying," said Sunita, a tourist from Bangalore. The cool weather and natural beauty of Kashmir have long been its chief attractions for tourists all over India. Over time, tourists have started returning to the state as the threat of militancy grows less. The state government is planning to develop Pahalgam as a centre for mountaineering, camping, trekking, rafting and fishing. A wild life sanctuary and a racecourse are also on the cards.
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