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J&K Blossoms: Le Figaro Chronicles the Enchanting Transformation of Kashmir

January 6, 2024
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In a striking turn of events, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) experienced an unprecedented surge in tourism in 2023, welcoming a record-breaking 2 crore tourists. This surge, the highest in 77 years, is indicative of the positive transformation within the Union Territory over the past four years, resulting in increased employment opportunities and a thriving hotel industry. The cinematic allure of the region attracted over 100 film shoots in the last year alone, shining a spotlight on its captivating landscapes.

Recently, the renowned French newspaper, Le Figaro, presented a grand report on the evolving charm of Kashmir, describing it as a “Forgotten paradise” timidly opening up to foreign travelers after decades of conflict. The piece, by Bérénice Debras, portrays Srinagar as a haven of peace in the foothills of the Himalayas.

The narrative unfolds at 5:30 in the morning on Dal Lake, where the day breaks in a veil of mist. The boat gracefully glides across the tranquil waters, surrounded by a serene silence. Time seemingly holds its breath, and birds whisper softly. The floating market comes to life as vegetable sellers engage in negotiations from one boat to another. The century-old tradition remains unchanged, with the aroma of traditional Kashmiri khawa wafting from a mobile samovar, providing an authentic experience.

A charismatic character, Mr. Wonderful Flowerman, takes center stage in the Le Figaro report. Draped in a pink sweater and a multicolored shirt, he embodies the essence of a Bollywood character. Negotiations for a bouquet at a ‘golden price’ lead to a unique condition – a visit to Mr. Wonderful Flowerman’s father’s floating gardens where the plants are cultivated. The journey to an islet on Nigeen Lake unveils the patriarch’s lament for the end of the season, accompanied by a glimpse into his daughters’ papier-mâché box painting in a rickety wooden cabin.

As the Le Figaro report concludes, it beautifully captures J&K’s journey from a conflict-ridden past to a blossoming present. The once-forgotten paradise is portrayed as reclaiming its position on the world stage, signifying a renewed era of enchantment and allure.

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