Srinagar, Oct 13: Carp fish cooked with radish and collard is one of the most cherished delicacies in Kashmir mostly prepared in winter months.
This was one of the main attractions at the 3-day Pahalagm festival that began at the tourist resort on Thursday. The other dishes which people and the tourists indulged in include grilled trout of river Lidder topped with mouthwatering walnut chutney and makai roti with vegetables like collard or turnip, mushkkalari (kalari) sandwich, apple walnut salad and the famous mutton barbecues. All the food delicses were prepared by local chefs at the thatched roof wooden food stalls erected at the lawns of the Pahalgam Club overlooking flowing River Lidder bringing many food aficionados of the locality together.
The festival in Pahalgam is being organized by J&K Tourism Development Corporation to attract tourists in the offseason and also promote local culture and local food.
Tourism Department, Pahalgam Hotels and Restaurant Owners Association (PHAROA), Pahalgam Development Authority and J&K Cultural Academy provided active support to the festival.,
The festival got good response as the tourists from many places converged to this shepherd Valley who savored on the food during the day and the culture programs in the evenings.
Scores of the travelers visited from other states to participate in the festival and also enjoy golf at the breathtakingly beautiful course at the tourist resort.
Minister for public works Naeem Akhtar, Minister for Education Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, Vice Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) also joined in the festival and enjoyed both food and cultural programs. Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also inaugurated the golf tournament on Friday morning in which both local and the golfers from outside the state participated.
MD JKTDC Sarmad Hafeez said the festival has been organized in the fall season to send an invitation to travellers across the country and outside the country to visit Pahalgam in winter months.
“Pahalgam is primarily a summer destination however such events would attract the tourists in fall and winter months also. This event is an invitation to traveler across country and outside the country to visit the Valley and Pahalgam in winter months also,” said Sarmad.
During the festival, the Pahalgam hoteliers have also announced 50% off on the hotel accommodation which also attracted both locals and tourists to this resort.
Sarmad Hafeez said various local food preparations have been the major attraction of the festival at Pahalgam.
Products of the Valley’s famed crafts like papier-mâché, wood carving, willow works, embroidered namda, chain stitch items besides horticulture produce like apple, pear, dry fruits and honey were also showcased during the festival.
The festival also features painting and photography exhibition of the Valley’s beautiful landscape. Scores of the beautifully captured photographs various destinations showcasing breathtaking landscape and buildings depicting vernacular architecture were on display.
Notably, JKTDC had organized Ethnic Food Festival last month also at Zaiqa Restaurant at Chesmashah which received overwhelming response from locals and the tourist also.
The corporation also plans to organize more such festival at other destinations like in Gulmarg and also outside the state.
“Our food is very famous and is also tasty. We want to showcase our local food outside the state. We will be organized food festival at Hyderabad and Lucknow.”
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah said Kashmir is an all weather destination and such festivals help us promote Kashmir in off season also.
President Pahalgam Hotels and Restaurant Owners Association (PHAROA) said the event was organized after to improve tourist flow to Pahalgam.
“We have made demanding organizing of any festival in Pahalgam for over a year. We are happy that the event has been organized which will send a positive message across that things are happ