BY DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY
KOLKATA, 31 OCTOBER 2022
Jammu and Kashmir Tourism is celebrating the essence of Autumn and the highlight of this celebration is harvesting of Saffron.
As part of the promotional campaign the Saffron Festival 2022 is being held on 1st November 2022 at Karewas of Pampore (Son Kund) at 10.30 AM.
Saffron harvest brings Jammu and Kashmir’s Pampore in Pulwama district, known as the Spice Town in October – November to life in this season of autumn. It is located about 13 kilometres away from the capital city of Srinagar. About ninety percent of saffron ( kesar) of Kashmir is cultivated in Pampore. Bloom of the mesmerising violet saffron flowers, which creates purple waves, attracts tourists to the valley. For over one hundred years saffron has been cultivated in Pampore.
Several thousands of people arrive from all over the globe and India during these twin autumn festivals to the Kashmir Valley.
Saffron is the costliest spice in the world and Pampore is known as the Saffron Capital of India. The tourists will have an amazing experience of how the golden spice is cultivated in the fields here.
The town of Pampore celebrates the Saffron Festival every year . This flamboyant festival has a noble reason attached to it. The colourful fest is enjoyed for three days. This festival is organised to help the saffron cultivators to market their yield. It also aims at supporting the farmers to produce saffron in huge quantities.
Every member of the houses are engaged in plucking the violet crocus flowers from the fields and keeping them in wicker baskets. In the houses the members sort the crimson coloured saffrons from the violet hued flowers.
About 4500 numbers of flowers produce just one ounce of the world’s costliest spice – Saffron. The Kashmir saffron has bagged the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag in 2020 for its rich aroma, colour and medicinal values.
In most of the Mughal, Parsian, Arab, Indian etc cuisines saffrons are used and is used since centuries for making the most delicious plates like biryani , kheer, firni, pulao, gulab jamun, kulfi, kesar peda etc.
During this festival celebration in Kashmir every year a film show is organised. It depicts the sowing and harvesting of saffron. And its medicinal value and plucking of its flowers. A cultural show follows.
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”. The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are collected and dried for use mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food. Although some doubts remain on its origin, it is believed that saffron originated in Iran. However, Greece and Mesopotamia have also been suggested as the possible region of origin of this plant. Saffron crocus slowly propagated throughout much of Eurasia and was later brought to parts of North Africa, North America, and Oceania.
In November, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism will be hosting two festivals – firstly the one day Saffron Festival and then the Houseboat Festival to boost tourism. Shikara or houseboat at Dal Lake is Kashmir’s version of Venetian Gondola ride and attracts people from all over the globe.
This year already a record number of domestic tourists have visited Jammu and Kashmir.
SAFFRON FESTIVAL ALSO HELD IN SPAIN :
Incidentally another Saffron Festival has been organised in Spain – Fiesta de la Rosa del Azafrán (Saffron Festival) 2022.
The small town of Consuegra, near Toledo in Spain , celebrates every year at the end October the Fiesta de la Rosa del Azafrán – (Saffron festival). Three days of the weekend are dedicated to the unique spice – the Saffron.
The expansive spice is derived from the flowers that grow in Consuegra’s region. The traditional fiesta begins at the end of October when the picking season begins. The food affair that takes place on the town’s alleys, suggests various kinds of delicacies.
Cooking contests with Saffron are held. The residents wear traditional clothes and enjoy the aromatic events that are accompanied by lovely melodies performed by local choirs.
This is a unique autumn event in Spain.