Shopian (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], December 22 (ANI): The Indian Army has organised the grand Chillai Kalan music festival at the Batpora Sports Stadium in the Shopian district of South Kashmir, aimed at promoting Kashmiri culture, handicraft and cuisine.
The event witnessed a huge crowd of over 3,000 locals from Pulwama, Budgam and Shopian.
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the snow-clad peaks of Pir Panjal, Srinagar-based Chinar Band filled the atmosphere with its melodious and energetic performances, treating the crowd with a mix of music, comedy and stand-up performances.
Visitors enjoyed multiple Kashmiri cuisines, handicraft stalls and a grand raffle draw. A 'Wall of Kindness' was also set up at the site to collect alms for the needy.
"This is a great opportunity for the people to interact with the Indian Army as Shopian often gets a bad reputation for having militancy issues. People are very glad to be here and are excited that they are able to have a good relationship with army personnel," said Manzoor Ahmad, a local resident who visited the festival held on Monday.
While addressing the media, Major General Rashim Bali (GOC Victor Force) appealed to the youth to continue to strive for an educated Kashmiri Society and contribute in bringing about development and peace to this 'Jannat of Allah'.
"The winds of change can be felt in South Kashmir and it was heartening to see a cultural festival organized in the heart of Shopian. The youth of Kashmir are the future and they need to be nurtured into responsible citizens of the society," he said.
Several local artists also performed musical numbers, compelling the audience to get on their feet and dance.
"The songs the artists were singing made us feel very happy. I hope people from all the other districts and villages can also maintain such a friendly and cheerful environment," said Shabir Bhat, another visitor. (ANI)