Night markets bring cheer to locals in J&K

Jammu and KashmirWritten By: Ieshan Bashir WaniUpdated: Dec 25, 2018, 04:17 PM IST

Night markets in Kashmir. Photograph:(WION)

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'We open our shops at 4:30 PM and when we have good customer flow, we shut them at 12 to 1 mid-night,' says Sheraz Ahmad, a local shopkeeper.

In Jammu and Kashmir(J&K), night markets are bringing life back which was once scarred due to violence. Now, these markets open after the sunset and close mid-night bringing cheer on the faces of tourists and locals in the Valley.

At the world famous Dal lake, houseboats present a mesmerising look with the sunset, tourists come out to enjoy the scenic beauty and buy souvenirs and other traditional items in the bone-chilling cold. These shops are set up on the footpaths and often till midnight they find customers. 

"We open our shops at 4:30 pm and when we have good customer flow, we shut them at 12 to 1 mid-night," says Sheraz Ahmad, a local shopkeeper. 

Popular food stalls of barbeques and other mouth-watering food also open at night despite the freezing temperatures.

People come out to taste the food along with their families which now seems unimaginable after the terrorism broke out in the Valley in the 1990s. These markets help tourists in recreation as there are no other activities in the Valley after dark.  

"We feel good to come out here at night. In Kolkata, we don't have these kinds of markets. Despite cold, these markets are open. They give us the opportunity to go out at night because night activities are very few here," said Subra Nastar, a tourist from West Bengal. 

But people here blame the government for failing to provide electricity which could help in boosting night activities. Unscheduled and scheduled electricity cuts hamper not only these night shopkeepers but also tourism which plays an important role in the Valley.

"We have been asking that there should be night activities in Srinagar. We have very few cafes here at night. We used to have sound and light show at Mughal garden but it has been shut. We have been seeking all this from the government from a very long time," says a tourist Hamid Wangnoo. 

With the improvement in the security situation in the Valley, the hope is that there would be more to do in the state after sunset.