Kaghan Festival points to immense tourism potential of Hazara

NARAN VALLEY: The Kaghan Festival organised by the Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the KP Sports Board from June 24-26 was a major initiative for promoting tourism in the Kaghan and Naran valleys that have immense potential and attract a large number of tourists and nature lovers in summer every year.

The festival attracted thousands of tourists who enjoyed the cool breeze of Naran valley alongside the gushing waters of river Kunhar.

The tourists praised the TCKP for organising a festival full of entertainment. However, they said the government needed to provide the area with electricity, which is a necessity of the modern age. Naran valley has the necessary infrastructure for receiving electricity supply and one is amazed to see electricity poles even on hilltops. However, the tourists can avail electricity if the hotel where they are staying possesses a power generator.

The management of hotels in Naran valley switch on the electricity generators in the evening and one can have power supply till 1 am. Afterwards, the area plunges into darkness.

“We have to charge our mobile phones before 1 am. Afterwards, we cannot do so as the power generator at our hotel is switched off,” stated a visitor, Diyar Khan while pointing to the electricity problem. He also mentioned the lack of internet facility as a shortcoming.

The festival had various stalls offering traditional and local items such as shoes, ornaments, embroidery and basketry, dresses, etc. The event also included various games and competitions wherein the winners were awarded cash prizes and souvenirs.

A female singer entertained the audience with her songs. Some locals demanded that the next festival should have local singers as the event should depict the culture of the province, particularly that of Kaghan valley.

At the concluding ceremony, Provincial Sports Minister Syed Aqil Shah announced Rs2 billion for setting up a chairlift up to the Lake Saiful Malook. He said all other problems of the area would also be solved with an aim to attract tourists.

The winners in the various games played during the festival were awarded prizes at the end. They included Mohammad Rashad from Naran who won the marathon race, Mohammad Munir of Sohach village who was second and Mohammad Jamil of Damdamal who stood third.

In the tug-of-war, the match was a tie between the teams of Khyber Union of Journalists and KP Olympic Association and both teams were awarded Rs4000 each. Also, the Government High School (GHS), Naran beat the Government High School, Dadar in another contest of the tug-of-war.

In the stone-throwing contest, one Barkatullah recorded a distance of 58 feet and 7 inches to stand first while Said Khan got the runner-up trophy and cash prize by throwing it 50 feet. The GHS Dadar won the trophy while the GHS Showal remained the runner-up in volleyball event.

Liaqat won the title in cycling, Mir Wali remained second and Habib Khan third. In the rock-climbing contest for boys, Adnan Aslam, Shayan Korani and Aamir Jadoon clinched the first, second and third positions, while in the rock climbing among girls, Tehrim Khan Panni, Saira and Sana Ahmad won the prizes. Two children under 10 years of age, Abdullah and Mirza, were also awarded cash prizes in the rock-climbing event.

Shamsuddin was awarded Rs20,000 for his skills in motorcycle display and Akhtar Munir of Chalas, Raja Zulfiqar of Mansehra and Shehzad of Naran won prizes in the archery contest.

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