Saffron festival in Kashmir

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Pampore (J-K), Nov 6 (ANI): A day long saffron festival was recently organized to promote tourism at Pampore in Srinagar.

Traditional dances and cultural programmes were also held at the center of the saffron fields.

Kashmir is one of the very few places in the world that produces quality saffron which is much superior to the Iranian saffron. Saffron and saffron fields have always been major attraction for the tourists in the Kashmir Valley.

"This can be very beneficial for the Valley because saffron plucking is very famous, worldwide, but it has never been promoted here. The tourists can be invited to participate in the saffron plucking along with the farmers. By doing this the farmers will also earn huge amounts of revenue and the tourists will also learn the art of saffron plucking," said Amit Vanchoo, a resident.

Saffron growers in Kashmir valley are a happy lot as this year's yield has been better than last year's and they will be able to earn more.

One of the main aims of this fair is to showcase the vast saffron fields to woo tourists.

"We want to invite more tourists by organizing this festival. The saffron blooms in the month of October and November, so we thought that a lot of tourists would be interested to see saffron in full bloom," said Rigzin Zora, Minister of Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir.

In India, saffron cultivation is undertaken only in the Kashmir valley. In 2006, the government fixed the price of quality saffron at rupees 1000 for 10 grams.

Saffron is one of the world's most expensive herbal produce. Its delicate flowers are harvested only in October-November. The flowers begin to grow after the first rains and start blooming usually mid-October when the temperature is just right.

Kashmir's cool climate and rich soil with excellent drainage and organic content make the location an ideal thriving ground for this spice but a lapse in any one of the conditions can spoil the entire crop. (ANI)

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