The ongoing 3-day Pahalgam Festival that began at the tourist resort on Thursday witnessed a huge participation from tourists as well as locals. The festival is organized by J&K Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) to attract tourists in the offseason and also promote local culture and local food.MD JKTDC Sarmad Hafeez said, “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.”Sarmad Hafeez said local food preparations have been the major attraction of the festival at Pahalgam. Number of food varieties was prepared by local chefs at the lawns of the Pahalgam Club overlooking flowing River Lidder bringing many food aficionados of the locality together. The prepared foods include Carp fish cooked with radish and collard which is one of the most cherished delicacies in Kashmir mostly prepared in winter months. The other prepared dishes include grilled trout of river Lidder topped with mouthwatering mutton barbecues.Products of the Valley’s famed handicrafts like papier-mâché, wood carving, willow works, embroidered namda, and 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. Photographs including landscape and buildings depicting local architecture were put on display.During the festival cultural programs were held at Pahalgam Club. Local artists performed various cultural programs and skits which mesmerized the audiences. The audience was also enthralled by the melodious voice of Valley’s famous singer Rashid Jehangir and Shazia Bashir who sung famous Kashmiri numbers.JKTDC also plans to organize more such festivals at other tourist destinations like 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 organize food festival at Hyderabad and Lucknow,” Sarmad Hafeez said.Tourism Department, Pahalgam Hotels and Restaurant Owners Association (PHAROA), Pahalgam Development Authority and J&K Cultural Academy provided active support to the festival. Meanwhile, the Pahalgam hoteliers have announced 50% off on the hotel accommodation which also attracted both locals and tourists to this resort.