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.
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
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
Popularizing Hokh Syun
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.
It is true that when something traditional becomes outdated, it reaches a higher pedestal and becomes exotic.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 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,
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.