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June 10, 2012

Polo tournament organised in Kashmir to promote sports, tourism

     Drass (J-K): Underlining the importance of sports in promoting tourism and economy in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah inaugurated the Lalit Polo Tournament in Drass area of Kargil district near the India-Pakistan border on Saturday. Abdullah said that sports was a means to attract players of national and international fame, promote tourism, which would give an impetus to the economic activities and result in the development of the potential of the existing population. "Drass is famous for two reasons. One is the Kargil war and secondly it is said that it is the second coldest place, where people reside. Its beauty is mesmerising and the game of polo is famous in this area. With this tournament we want to showcase an upgraded picture of Drass to the world, where polo matches are being organised from last four years. Teams from Mongolia and Manipur have arrived for the match and exhibition matches were also organised. So, we are trying to attract more tourists to this part of the province," said Abdullah. Total 24 teams participated in the tournament and the players appreciated the efforts that were made to organise the tournament. Abdullah added that soon air services would be introduced in this area, for making it accessible for the tourists. "With the arrival of tourists, people in this area will get the opportunity to open hotels, restaurants and guest houses. The only negative point for this place is that air services have begun in Ladakh and Leh but not in Kargil. Government of India is working for a programme for expanding the Kargil airport, till then we will try that small aircrafts ply to this area to revive tourism," said Abdullah. Drass is a small place, with a population of less than 17,000. The game of polo here dates back to the 17th century. Polo had royal patronage in the past and it was played on important occasions. In the past, the polo matches were part and parcel of the social life of the people and every major village had a polo ground known as Shagharan.
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