It seems that Kashmir is nowadays a prime destination on the tourism map as itâ€™s not just the Bollywood stars but international cricketers too are air-dashing to the Valley to enjoy the snow laden slopes.
If it was Ranbir Kapoor last month seen shooting in the famous tourist resort Pahalgam, the Oscar winning Music Director AR Rahman has too chosen the serene but chilly environs of the ski-resort in south Kashmir for composing his number for the movie Rockstar in which Kapoor is playing the lead role.
In Gulmarg the atmosphere was no less electrifying. Famous cricketer turned coach Jhonty Rhodes arrived on a week-long visit to the resort in north Kashmir to test his snow boarding skills and enjoy winter sports.
â€œHe (AR Rahman) is on 2-day visit to Valley. He visited Pahalgam early during the day for composition of his song. And later returned to Srinagar where he is putting up in a houseboat in Nigeen Lake,â€ sources said.
Talking to media persons at Pahalgam, Rahman was reported as saying, â€œKashmir is a paradise and a boon to Bollywood.”
On his arrival, Rhodes, the former South African cricketer, on Sunday drove to the Royal Springs Golf Course in the city. Sources said he relished Kashmiri Wazwan, particularly Kababs and later drove uphill to Parimahal where he stayed for sometime.
â€œBefore leaving for Gulmarg yesterday he had an interaction with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah,â€ sources said.
Jhonty is on week-long visit to enjoy snow-boarding and other winter sports in the slopes of Gulmarg.
â€œThey (Rahman and Rhodes) are global figures. Their presence in Kashmir is good news and will definitely send good signals and attract more and more tourists to the valley,â€ said Director Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah.
The celebrities, he said, have come to Kashmir on their own. â€œBut the department will be extending all the assistance and facilities for making their stay comfortable,â€ Shah said.
While Bollywood celebrities have been frequently visiting the Valley–once a favourite destination for film shooting–the international cricketers have too started to choose Kashmir as a holidaying destination.
Last year Rhodesâ€™ former team-mate and the present coach of Indian cricket team, Gary Kristen, had also visited Gulmarg.