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Float Kashmir houseboats on Nile: Sinha

Jammu, Monday, February 25, 2008:

The governor of Indian administered Kashmir Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha Sunday asked a group of Egyptian artists here to become Kashmir ambassadors and take the Kashmir houseboats to float on the waters of the world famous Nile River.

The Egyptian artists were performing at the Indo-Egyptian Sufi music performance held at Jammu University, a varsity in the region's winter capital Sunday.

"As a mark of affection, we have presented them houseboats. We wish them to float these in Nile," he said after presenting them houseboat replicas as souvenirs.

The houseboats are a major attraction for the tourists visiting Kashmir and most of the foreign tourists love spending holidays in the wooden houseboats which float on the waters of world famous Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake.

The houseboat numbers are dwindling as the region's government has imposed a ban on the construction of further houseboats.

Commenting on the performances of the Indian and Egyptian artists, Sinha said that the performance was a unique blend of Nile and Tawi, the two rivers in Egypt and Kashmir.

Mesmerised with the performance of the Egyptian group, the governor said, "Last year they set Jhelum a prominent river in Kashmir on fire by their performance. This time Tawi the river in region's winter capital Jammu is on fire."

River Jhelum is the main river in Kashmir Valley, with its origin in Verinag in southern Kashmir, and flows through summer capital Srinagar to Pakistan.

The region's chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad who was also present on the occasion said that Egypt and India are forged in a common bond of Sufism.

Azad recalled the rich bond of Sufism that forged the ancient civilizations of India and Egypt together from times immemorial.

The Sufi music performance was given by Al Tannura Traditional Dance Group from Egypt and Dev Dildar and party.

"They say that music and love knows no language. That is why the audience was left spellbound without knowing the language of the guest artists. The rhythm of the music made them give a standing ovation to the group twice," Azad said.

Azad's wife Shamim, a noted Kashmiri singer who was also present on the occasion was thrilled watching the Egyptian performers.



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