As part of its pilgrim tourism promotional programs, the department of tourism Kashmir last night organized Zool Festival at Ashmuqam shrine of Sufi saint Baba Zaina-ud-din Wali in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Minister of State for Hajj and Auqaf, Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi was present on the occasion.
The Zool Festival is a regular feature of the tourism department which portrays state’s rich culture and heritage. This event is aimed to promote religious tourism.
Pertinent to mention that the Annual Urs of Sheikh Zain-ud-din Wali (RA), marks the beginning of agricultural activities of the farmers in Anantnag district. Devotees from far off areas thronged the shrine to pay obeisance at the revered shrine.
This shrine is located on a hillock, which stands 86 km away from Srinagar en route to Pahalgam. The shrine hosts Zool festival every year in the month of April, in respect to Shiekh Zaina-ud-din Wali. The procession involves holding torch lights locally called ‘leshi’ in a peculiar way, which depicts public seeking blessings of the saint.
The festival is traditionally held after evening prayers (Magrib Namaz) when torchlight procession is the main highlight of the festival. This festival is popularly known as ‘Zool’ festival and numerous numbers of devotees visit the shrine to celebrate it in a grand way.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah, ADC Anantnag Muhammad Younis Malik, Deputy Director Tourism Publicity Peerzada Zahoor were also present in the festival.
Syed Farooq Ahmed Andrabi appreciated the efforts of the department of tourism in organizing religious festival for the promotion of pilgrim tourism.
The Minister offered special prayers at the shrine and prayed for the peace and prosperity of the state. The management of the shrine also performed Dastar Bandi of the Minister and hailed his role for the development of shrine and its surroundings.
Director Tourism Kashmri said Zool Festival depicts rich cultural values in Kashmir. He said former Chief Minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had given special focus on pilgrimage tourism.
“We have printed special brochure for pilgrim tourism products we have to offer. We are distributing them outside the state in road shows and travel marts to attract pilgrims to State for various festivals,” said Mahmood Shah.
Earlier, the Minister took stock of the progress of various developmental works in the area.
Later the Minister interacted with people of the area and after giving a patient hearing to the various demands and grievances presented by the people, the Minister assured them that effective measures will be taken to redress their grievances at an earliest.