Hokh Syun Festivai

Hokh Syun Festival: Kashmir’s Traditional Sun- Dried Veggies Festival

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when somebody mentions winters and Kashmir? The imposing mountain peaks, partially frozen pine trees, snow and the rich cuisine.

Hokh Syun Festivai

Kashmir is renowned for its pristine beauty, rich heritage, culture and delectable cuisine. Winters in Kashmir means it is time for snow, and the winter delicacies known as Hokh Syun, which literally translates to sun-dried vegetables. This February, visit Kashmir to witness not just the magic of snow but also to devour your taste buds at the Kashmir’s traditional Sun- dried veggies festival- the Hokh Syun Festival.

What is Hokh Syun

 

Hokh Syun Festival

 

When the winter approaches, can mouth-watering Kashmiri delicacies be left behind? And by winter delicacies, I mean the sun- dried vegetables from the last season. Earlier, due to lack of connectivity and poor storage facilities during winters; sun-dried vegetables became a saviour method for locals to fight the beautiful yet harsh winters of Kashmir. Even though the fresh vegetables are now easily available in the valley, unlike olden
times, people still use sun-dried vegetables in households. It was a good idea then, and so it is now!
On the onset of winters, when the snow would block the connectivity; vegetables like potatoes, radish, turnip, lotus stem (locally known as nadru) and collard greens (locally known as haak) were stored much in advance so that they can be used during harsh winters. Right from gourds,
chillies, brinjals, water chestnut, to tomatoes; everything was sun-dried during summers to be stored and used during winters. As mentioned above, these dried vegetables are thus known as

Hokh Syun.

 

Hokh Syun Festival

 

Popularizing Hokh Syun

Hokh Syun Festival

 

The Hokh Syun Festival is a celebration of winter delicacies and the age-old Kashmiri customs and traditions. To celebrate this old Kashmiri custom, a local, Asif Burza, came up with the idea to bring back Hokh Syun to the valley and promote it in the form of a festival.

Hokh Syun Festival

It is true that when something traditional becomes outdated, it reaches a higher pedestal and becomes exotic. Asif Buzra grabbed the opportunity and made an exotic delicacy out of mere means of survival that was Hokh Syun.
It took Buzra an entire year to find people in the valley who could provide him with quality sun- dried vegetables. Finally he found the stocks in the same old city markets of Zaina Kandal and MaharajGunj in downtown Srinagar where he collaborated with 15 vendors who now provide him with the best quality of dried vegetables. With support from the Kashmir’s oldest food consultant, Omaish Mattoo; who has done a number of Kashmiri sun-dried vegetable festivals outside the valley; Asif Buzra began Hokh Syun festival in his two big hotels.

Hokh Syun Festival

Hokh Syun Festival

 

Hokh Syun Festival is celebrated every year in the entire month of February, efficiently taking place at the Asif Buzra’s hotels: the Fortune Resort Heevan in Srinagar and WelcomHotel Pine and Peak in Pahalgam. During the festival, food lovers can try a unique way of making delicacies
out of sun-dried vegetables. OLD IS GOLD, which is perfectly true for the taste that these dried vegetables offer due to being
naturally preserved and dried in sun. If you are a foodie and can travel lengths for food, this festival is a heaven for you. Be assured,
here you will find lip-smacking delicacies that you won’t find anywhere else. Come celebrate the rich Kashmiri culture, our traditions and the age-old customs with delicious food this February and gorge on delicacies made with Ruwangan Hachi (Dried Tomatoes), Bote Cher Mutton (Mutton and dried Apricots), Gair Goji (Dried water chestnuts), Warmiuth Dail (Special Kashmiri Pulses), Al Hachi (Dried Bottle Gourd), and much more. Come one, Come all!

Here is all the information that you need:
Hokh Syun Festival 2019
Where: Kashmir at Fortune Resort Heevan, Srinagar and WelcomHotel Pine and Peak,
Pahalgam
When: Entire Month of February
Contact: 9419484652 / 01942464100 for reservations
How to Reach: 15 km from Srinagar Airport. There are local taxi services available from the
airport to other parts of Kashmir.

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5 Luxurious Houseboats of Kashmir

The beauty Kashmir is inexplicable in words. It is one of the most astounding experiences one can have. There are many elements that make it worth visiting but one of the most promising is Houseboats! Imagine yourself there, on of those evening and the sun is setting down, wind is blowing your hair, the Great Himalayas in front you. Perfect, isn’t it?

There are many lakes in the city but the Dal Lake is the most prominent lined with houseboats. These houseboats are made up of the finest cedar wood and usually have two to four bedrooms. They also provide all the amenities like 24 Hours Room Services, Doctor Call Services, Laundry Services​to make sure you have a comfortable stay.

Let’s see some of the best houseboats in Kashmir:

De-Laila Group of Houseboats

 

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It is located in the city center on Boulevard Road. This houseboat treats you the traditional way. Antique wood carving, Massive crystal chandeliers and intricate designs on curtains add to the beauty of it. Its interior has the fascinated work of objet d’art and motifs. Not just this, the food is excellent and the service is totally satisfactory. A stay here could give you the feel of royals staying in a palace.

New Golden Flower Heritage Houseboat

 

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This houseboat is on the banks of Nigeen Lake, Hazratbal Road. It has gained its popularity for its aesthetic beauty. Rooms are quite spacious and have centrally operated heating system. It is loaded with all the modern facilities. Beautiful Paintings depicting the history of Kashmir are hanged on the walls. It has a mini library and an exclusive dining area that makes it one of the best houseboats in Kashmir.

New Jacquline Houseboats

 

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It is located opposite to the Nigeen Club towards the western end of Nigeen Lake. Waking up to the fancy interior of this place is totally dreamy. So come this summer, the subdued environs around the houseboats are much tempting that they invite you for a laid back retreat. This is definitely the stay you have been looking all this while.  

Naaz Kashmir

 

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It is one of the most luxurious experiences in Kashmir of a houseboat. It offers a wide range of recreational facilities, top notch service and Kashmiri food. The ancient design interiors and modern furnishing are complementary to each other. The colors are fused nicely that it looks all beautiful. Even the view from the deck is so mesmerizing. So hop on the boat and experience a cozy stay here!

Royal Dandoo Palace Group of Houseboats

 

Kashmir House

 

It is located at a distance of 2km from the Lal Chowk city and is one of the most popular Kashmir boat houses. The wood-paneled houses, handicrafts, and a cozy fireplace make the houseboat a prominent option in the Dal Lake. It also has dining, and pantry and dedicated crew to serve the travelers in the most efficient manner. It all makes up for an elegant stay in Dal Lake by catering unmatchable experience.

These are some of the best houseboats you can consider when travelling to Kashmir. Because a trip to Kashmir is incomplete without experiencing the charm of staying in a houseboat.

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4 New Cafes in Kashmir

Kashmir is surely one of the best places to visit when it comes to travel for scenic beauty. There has been a tremendous growth in tourism over the years. . It is the perfect package for nature lovers and adventure freaks and the Food. Lately, young entrepreneurs of the valley in the summer capital of Kashmir, Srinagar have set up some new cafés with innovative ideas. Let’s explore some of the cafes that have been added to the list.

Winterfell Cafe

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Winterfell cafe is a theme based cafe across the dal lake, inspired by a very popular American TV series, that is ‘Game of Thrones’. The cafe has been decorated with the posters from the show and there is a sword throne as a centerpiece. Not just the ambience but also the food is worth the hype.. Their menu has variety of coffee, tea and sandwich. They organize lots of events like Live music performances, book readings, talks for women and youngsters.

Kamran and Umar, partner cum cousin who owns the cafe, said,” Our Sunday music evenings are particularly appreciated and the place is brimming with people. We have 12 tables but often we are packed beyond capacity. We aim to organize more sessions that will attract more youngsters.”

Me and U cafe

 

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This cafe is at Bemina area of Srinagar and is owned by Mehvish Zarger. She is the first ever female cafe owner. The decor of the cafe is subtle and decent. The main aim of the cafe is to provide the food lovers a place where they will enjoy good, hygienic and affordable food menu and also where they can spend quality social time. The café has a retro look which gives it a legit edge.

Downtown Café

 

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It was started by two brothers Suhail and Nadeem Bhat. It is located in Gojwara and can cater a gathering of around 90 people. During its inaugural event, they started a promotional offer where free food was served for 2 days continuously. Seven dishes were served to 700 people approximately that manage to make it a instant hit. Downtown cafe is a multi cuisine restaurant that offers various delicacies including the authentic Kashmiri Wazwan — the trendiest serving among others on the menu.

Coffea Arabica

 

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It is located on M.A Road, Srinagar. This place is quite popular among school and college going youngsters as well as for businessmen for their official meetings. This place has variety of cuisines to offer like Chinese, Mediterranean, Continental cuisines, Oriental, etc. Moreover, the well designed and a maintained interior creates an aura where one can spend hours relaxing here with unmatched service.

It is heartwarming to know that Kashmir has become home to such lovely cafes where people get to experience mouth watering food and Kashmiri hospitality.

Come and experience the inexperienced.

Traditional Music Instruments of Jammu and Kashmir

Traditional Music Instruments of Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmir is known for its enormous beauty, with landscape so colossal that the mountains are almost kissing the sky and the land that is always pregnant with fruits and flowers. Kashmiri music is definitely the rhythm of oneness with universe.

 

The valley has been blessed with great musicians, like the Santoor players Bhajan Sopori, Alla Rakha and Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, and continues to produce many more talented like Aabha Hanjura and Aadil Gurezi. With changing times, there is one thing that has remained constant among the musicians from the past and the musicians today, it is their love for traditional music instruments.

 

Let us revisit some of the musical treasuries of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Rabab

Traditional Music Instruments of Jammu and Kashmir, Rabab, Rubab, Santoor, Tumbaknari. Saz-e-Kashmir

One of the oldest and most integral part of Kashmiri music, Rabab originated from central Afghanistan and was adapted into Kashmiri music centuries ago. Although Rabab or Rubab has undergone many constructional changes over a period of time, it remains the most likeable melody of the valley as it is believed that Kashmiri folk music is incomplete without Rabab.

“Rabab is that music or the tune which collects all tunes from instruments and creates its own music. That is why Rabab should be played at every party,” said Sonaullah Reshi, Kashmiri folk singer.

Kashmiri Rababs can be identified with a bulging body, an indented waist, four to six strings and side pegs; usually made by the walnut wood of Kashmiri or the usual almond or mulberry wood.

 

Santoor

Traditional Music Instruments of Jammu and Kashmir, Rabab, Rubab, Santoor, Tumbaknari. Saz-e-Kashmir
Indian Santoor is a traditional comrade of Kashmiri Folk music that in Sanskrit texts is referred to as Shata Tantri Vna (The 100 stringer Vina). Santoor is mostly paired with the Sufiana style of music which is an intrinsic part of Kashmiriyat. It can be seen even today in various musical events in the valley. A Santoor can be distinguished just by looking at it. It is in  trapezoid-shape and made up of walnut wood that has of walnut and has 25 bridges. Each bridge has 4 strings, making for a total of 100 strings.

The music of a Santoor is the reminiscence of the rich cultural history, told through melody.

Tumbaknari

Traditional Music Instruments of Jammu and Kashmir, Rabab, Rubab, Santoor, Tumbaknari. Saz-e-Kashmir

Tumbaknari holds a distinct attribute to it. Unlike other regions using Tumbaknari that make it from woods, Kashmiri Tumbaknari is made up of baked clay to maintain its originality. Its rhythm is so harmonious that it transcends the soul of the listeners to the depths of lakes till the lofty heights of mountains. And adding to its charm, it is also played by the women folk in the valley as a part of amusement and relaxation.

Tumbaknari comes to life after undergoing various phases of shaping and reshaping by the potter and ones into shape, the belly like structure can be put into anybody’s lap to produce melodious music to ease the mind.

 

Saz-e-Kashmir

Traditional Music Instruments of Jammu and Kashmir, Rabab, Rubab, Santoor, Tumbaknari. Saz-e-Kashmir

Saz-e-Kashmir is an instrument that has been devised in Kashmir and plays an essential part in the cultural and folk music of the valley. One can easily identify this beautiful instrument due to its association with the traditional violin. It has a pot shaped belly with three strings attached to it and is played with a bow and kept in lap while playing.

 

Music is the soul of heavenly valley of Kashmir. And the traditional instruments accompany the melodies to accelerate to an celestial state.

Although, the present day artistes have also taken to western instruments as per the change of time, the old heritage remains intact in their melodies. Jammu and Kashmir’s recent Sufi and Folk star, Aabha Hanjura, serves as an apt example of an individual that is association with traditional music and instruments of the valley. May the musical heritage of Jammu and Kashmir continue to grow through our youth and lure the hearts of people.