Once upon a time it was called paradise on earth. Here's why you should read that sentence without the first 7 words.
The Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation, together with the A P Tourism Development Corporation, is organising Wazawan, the cultural and food festival of Kashmir, from 20th to 25th February, at the People's Plaza grounds. The festival is being organised to promote Kashmir, once called paradise on earth, as a tourist destination. Due to a fear of terrorist attacks, the flow of tourists to Kashmir from South India has fallen steeply. The organisers intend to propogate the message that violence and disturbances in the valley are a thing of the past.
The 6-day fest will feature an array of mouth-watering dishes of Kashmir, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, and cultural evenings. Wazawan is derived from the Urdu words "Waaz" meaning chef and "Waan" meaning king - and so it means a feast for the kings. Nowadays it is usually served at weddings and parties. Dance forms such as Rouf, Hafiza, Hikat, Bacha Nagma and Bhand Pather will be performed during the evenings.
The stalls set up at the venue will serve a range of traditional food, like Rista (meat balls) made of finely pounded mutton and cooked in a gravy; Seekh Kebabs; Tabak Maaz, which is flat pieces of meat cut from the ribs and fried till they acquire a crisp crackling texture; Roghan Gosht, which owes its rich red color to the generous use of Kashmiri chillies; and Yakhni, a cream-colored preparation of delicate flavor made with curd as a base.
Gushtaba, the last item usually served in a traditional wazawan, consists of meatballs moulded from pounded mutton cooked in a thick gravy of fresh curd base. Dum Aloo, Chaman, Rajmah Shalgam and Schuk Wangun are the commonly served vegetarian dishes. To end the meal, Kehwa, the Kashmiri green tea flavored with almonds and saffron, is served.
The food is available a la carte from 12:00pm till 10:00pm, and the cultural events start at 7:00pm. For further details, please contact the Department of Tourism at 2345-6717/2345-0991.