Sangla (Kinnaur) Himachal Pradesh, May 15 : Popularity of the traditional Kinnauri cuisine of Himachal gained a new high, when it attracted a lot of tourists and residents during the recently held tourism festival.
A variety of most popular local items served during the two-day festival won admiration of hundreds of the visiting domestic and international tourists.
Tourists cherished the opportunity to relish a variety of popular dishes like Sha, Gima, Ghaso-Hod, Hotop, Bras-Hod and Thise-Polle, the main food items made of Ogal and Phapra (buck wheat) and Ghutli (Apricot Nuts) in the festival.
Organised jointly by the Palampur-based Agriculture University and Sangla Valley Sustainable Development Society at Sangla in Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh, the special event was a major attraction for all.
The festival named "Household Tourism" was held to highlight authentic tribal culture of Himachal Pradesh and link it to the tourism sector.
Organisers were motivated about such a theme conceptualised by FiBL, a Switzerland-based Research Institute in Organic Agriculture.
Meanwhile, a large number of international tourists who were eager to taste the exclusive Kinnauri cuisine had a great time relishing the local cuisine for the first time. But the most relished item was a dessert of apricots.
Cooked by tribal men and women folk in open-air kitchens, the dishes became a hit among hundreds of visitors.
Residents claim that the richness of the organic food of their area is good for health and help in maintaining the cholesterol level and normalizing the blood pressure.
"To prepare soup of apricot nuts, at first, we pluck the apricots from the tress, dry and wash them . Later they are broken and the nut is used for preparing the soup. It has lots of benefits, as it benefits eyesight, keeps the body strong and helps in getting relief from joint pains. We make Chilta from Phapra, which maintains the cholesterol level in our body, blood-pressure doesn't rise and sugar remains controlled. We use all these dishes as our food during our religious fasts also," said Dichen Dolma, a local woman.
"The Chilta of Ogal that we are preparing is our local food. The main food items are Phapra and Ogal. We eat Ogal in our fast also," said Ganga Mani, another local woman.
Tourists were enchanted by natural surroundings and with the residents' hospitality.
"We are travelling here in Kinnaur. It's very-very beautiful, lovely mountains and views, interesting culture. We went to Buddhist and Hindu temples today, they were very-very interesting and beautiful. The food is really good and the people are hospitable and very nice," said Mikhhal and Dhapna, an Israeli tourist. By Hemant Chauhan