The ongoing Pahalgam Food Festival which began on Thursday has attracted tourists as well as locals. The event aims to promote local culture and food during the off-season.
The event is being organized by Jammu Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) in collaboration with JK Tourism.
The event is being attended by the officials of the Tourism Department, representatives of the Pahalgam Hotels and Restaurant Owners Association (PHAROA), Pahalgam Development Authority and J&K Cultural Academy.
“The festival got a good response as the tourists from many places converged to this shepherd Valley who savored on the food during the day and culture programs in the evenings,” said a tourism official.
Scores of travelers visited from other states to participate in the festival and also enjoyed golf at the breathtakingly beautiful course at the tourist resort.
Carp fish cooked with radish and collard, one of the most cherished delicacies in Kashmir mostly prepared in winter months, is being presented in the food festival.
The other dishes which people and the tourists are relishing are 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 is being prepared by local chefs at the thatched roof wooden food stalls erected at the lawns of the Pahalgam Club overlooking the river Lidder bringing many food aficionados of the locality together.
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 the food and cultural programs.
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 travelers across the country and outside the country to visit Pahalgam in winter months.”
He added, “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 travelers across the country and outside the country to visit the Valley and Pahalgam in winter months also,” said Sarmad.
On the occasion, Pahalgam hoteliers have also announced 50% off on hotel accommodations which to attract both locals and tourists.
Hafeez also mentioned that 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, and chain stitch items besides horticulture produce like apple, pear, dry fruits and honey are also being showcased at the festival.
The festival also features painting and photography exhibition of the Valley’s beautiful landscape.
Earlier, JKTDC had organized Ethnic Food Festival last month at the Zaiqa Restaurant at Chesmashah which received overwhelming response from locals and the tourists alike.
The Corporation also plans to organize such festivals at other destinations as well as in places 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 organizing a 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.