In order to provide a unique experience to the tourists, new Fiber Glass Igloo restaurants imported from Austria have come up in the middle of the snow-covered mountains of Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Six Fiber Glass Igloo “domes”, measuring 12 Sqft each, conceptualised of Finland, have been erected at the famous ski resort of Gulmarg-three near the hotel and three at the first phase of Gondola Cable car project on the snow slopes for the tourist’s enjoyment, Waseem Shah the owner of Kolahoi group of hotels told UNI.
Gulmarg, which is surrounded by snow-covered mountains presenting a fabulous view of nature, tourists were seen enjoying their feast sitting in the Igloo in minus degree temperature while heating arrangements were also available.
“I had been to Finland over three years ago where I saw number of such glass Igloo resorts made for the tourists for their stay with the facility of northern lights”, Waseem Shah said and added “I make up my mind that we could also do similar in Gulmarg Kashmir and this year we put up six such Igloos here and tourist are very excited about them”.
He said every year he aims to offer something novel to the tourists as in the past he built Asia’s largest snow Igloo followed by world’s largest snow igloo which was a hit concept for the promotion of tourism in Kashmir valley.
“Our motive is that Kashmir should be recognized on the world map in the tourism sector and could compete with other foreign countries that are very forward in this field and providing such facilities for the tourists.”
“Yes, the Igloo has all facilities in it, ” Waseem Shah said, adding that there are two options in this igloo, including a bigger one in which sleeping facilities are provided during night with an attached washroom.
He said, however, the big Igloo needs a space of 20 Sq Ft and the concept is still in his mind for that the modalities with the authorities are yet to be finalised.
“We are taking up this concept with the authorities, if they allow us we can provide night stay facilities with an attached washroom for the tourists which will become a resort altogether”, he said and added “We have already submitted the proposal to the secretary tourism and hopefully it would be finalised very soon”.
He said the Igloo “Dome” material is available in few foreign countries but the best quality is in Austria from where it has been imported.
He said the experts visited here to see the atmospheric topography of the area including wind speed, sunlight and temperature. After that fiberglass was procured which was suitable for this area.
He said the cost of the igloo is about seven to eight Lakh each including all import duties.
He said “the tourists.. what they will get in Finland they are enjoying here in Gulmarg with quality services and food at cheaper rates”.
Waseem Shah said in London there is a 100 pound entry fee for entering into such an Igloo. But the Kolahoi group of hotels are charging Rs 1000 for one Igloo where at least eight people can enjoy the sitting for 45 minutes.
Waseem also urged the authorities to promote the entrepreneurs so that the youth of the Kashmir valley who have exceptional talent could get employment.
Asked why the foreign tourism is not getting a boost in Kashmir, Waseem Shah said the Gulmarg skiing facilities are technologically far behind the countries where skiing is being done. “The facilities tourists get in Austria are not available here in Kashmir” he said.
He said in Austria the skiing starts in December itself and they are making snow slopes artificially which is not possible here. “Unless we have good facilities here in Gulmarg foreign tourists and ski lovers will elude the place”, he added.
He said last year “I made a proposal to the government of making a full village of snow Igloo to promote tourism here”. it was turned down on the pretext that the land comes into the control of various state agencies that makes the process very itchy”.
He said there should be a single window where a person could get facility.