Three days Silk Route Festival concluded at Sand dune Leisure Park Sumoor, Nubra on 24th June. Thupstan Tsewang, Member of Parliament was the Chief Guest and other guest of Honours included Tsetan Namgyal, MLA Nubra and P.Namgyal Former Union Minister.
The festival was organised by Samstan Otsal Tsogspa in collaboration with Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation to complement the newly discovered Sand Dune and Camel Safari in Sumoor. This festival was started in 2013 and this is the second consecutive year of this Festival.
Welcoming the guest Dr. Sonam Wangchuk, Founder and Secy. of Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation said, “Recognizing the potential of Sumoor (the model village of Nubra) village in playing central role in economic development through cultural tourism, the villagers started an annual village festival two years back and named it as ‘Silk Route Festival’.”
Thupstan Chhewang congratulated Samstan Otsal Tsogspa and Himalayan Culture Heritage Foundation to start the festival with a vision to promote the cultural heritage in the area and expressed hope that they will also work to strengthen the identity of Ladakh through its cultural preservation. He said, “It is very important for a village to organise such festival which is related to Tourism as, it helps the villagers and the Youth to boost the economy. It’s only been two years and in future we can hope to make it better. Keeping in view the silk route they have named it as Silk Route Festival. Earlier it was known as Sand Dune Festival. We all should help in making this festival better.”
He further added, “Soon a time will come for the people of Nubra ‘Farka’ that the permission will be granted to visit the Siachen Base. At that time these festivals are very important, firstly it will entertain them and secondly all the villagers will get time to enjoy together and later it can also be included in the Tourism Itenery as a grand Festival.”
“On the other part of the Nubra they have the permission to visit till Turtuk and on this side we only have the permit to go till Panamik and it is a long pending demand. There is no reason in not granting inner line permit till Siachen Base and Sasoma. We all know that this festival is organised on the name of Silk Route Festival. In olden days we have trade relations with Ladakh and it is the gateway of Central Asia. We have trade relations with them and there is no reason to open this Route. I will assure all the help that I can and I will put this demand at the centre level. And I hope soon we will get the permit for the visitors to visit the Siachen Base,” said the newly elected MP.
Thupstan Chhewang announced his full support for over all development of Nubra region especially in the tourism sector. He was submitted a copy of representation by the MLA (Nubra) Tsetan Namgyal regarding opening of new areas to tourists in (Yarma-Gonbo, Tyakshi, Thang & Pachathang) Nubra valley of Leh District for which MP, Thupstan Chhewang promised to take up the matter to the higher level with his best caliber.
The Silk Route Festival offered a unique tourism product through provision of the Ladakhi village cultural and traditional lifestyle in aspects of accommodation and hospitality, entertainment, arts and crafts.
P. Namgyal congratulated all the villagers and the people and said, “I hope this will continue in the coming years and in future we will make it better and in a grand way.”
The MLA, Nubra Tsetan Namgyal while speaking on the occasion expressed thanks to guests for participating in the festival and said that through this festival they intend to publicize the Sumoor sand dune as a tourist destination.He said, “Silk route Festival should progress with each year. It should open till the Siachen Base for domestic as well as international Tourist. We should strive hard until the camel of Tiriputa La will get down till otherwise it will not be successful. For that I have asked the higher authorities of J&K, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah and all the paper work has already been done. Soon Yarma Gonbo will open to Siachen base for the tourist."He requested Member of Parliament, Thupstan Tsewang to follow up this demand.
The villagers also utilised the occasion to promote traditional food by putting up stalls to sensitize visitors relating to indigenous local foods. The stalls were designed to emulate a typical village household where the visitors could sit on the floor and enjoy the food items in a traditional way.
Traditional dances, folk songs and folk music added to the aura. The dances were performed in groups. The beauty of the dances is raised by the colourful costumes, gold, silver, brass and precious stone ornaments etc.
To spread awareness particularly among the younger generation and to review the centuries old famous sports of Ladakh, the traditional Archery was also organised.
The three-day-long extravaganza was in keeping with the essence of the Ladakh festival; marked by feasts, dances, games and music, all in full measure while taking measures not to disturb the ecological sensitivity of the region. And on the last day a heritage walk was also organised as a part of the Festival and the visitors were shown the remnants of Sumoor Fort and many more.
Councilor Tegar Rigzin Wangdus and President Bhartiya Janata Party ,Tsering Dorjey Lakrook were also present during the Festival.