Winter Wonderland | Bhadarwah’s snowy retreats transform local economy, empower women

Bhadarwah, Jan 9: In the heart of the Bhadarwah region, snow-covered landscapes have become more than just picturesque views; they are now the driving force behind a burgeoning tourist influx.

The snow destinations in Bhadarwah are not only boosting the local economy but are also acting as a catalyst for empowering many women in the area. The delectable local cuisine served to tourists is gaining immense popularity, providing womenfolk with a unique opportunity to showcase their culinary skills and contribute to the region’s growing tourism sector.

The snow-draped meadows of Guldanda along the Bhadarwah-Pathankot highway have emerged as a magnet for tourists, thanks to the ‘Vibrant Bhadarwah Festival.’ This event has witnessed an unprecedented surge in tourist footfall, breathing new life into the local economy. The gastronomic delights of the region, including the Geographical Indication tagged Rajma, ‘Sarsoon ka Sag and Makki ki Roti’ (cornbread with mustard greens), Knol Khol pickle, and Shatloi (local noodles), are captivating the taste buds of visitors. These local delicacies are not only providing a unique culinary experience but are also contributing significantly to the popularity of Bhadarwah as a must-visit destination.

CEO of Bhadarwah Development Authority, Bal Krishan said that atleast 20 women have installed their food stalls at Guldanda, Qilla and New Bus stand and serve ethnic Bhadarwahi food to the tourists.

“For us, this is a new phenomenon and one of the major highlights of the ‘Vibrant Bhadarwah Festival’ as for the first time females have come out in such large numbers to showcase their culinary skills commercially and therefore boosting the women entrepreneurship in otherwise conservative society of hilly Chenab rejoin,” said Bal Krishan, CEO BDA.

Womenfolk whose culinary skills are not only being admired by one and all but are also doing brisk business. The newfound success and recognition are giving them a lot of confidence to further strengthen their newly entered venture.”Never thought that I would start earning at this age by cooking  ‘Sarsoon ka sag and Makki ki Roti’ but my grandson not only insisted but encouraged me to open a stall at Guldanda Meadow and surprisingly it became an instant hit with the tourists,” said Shakuntla Devi (67) of village Bheja.

“This newfound success is giving me a lot of confidence and self-respect besides the appreciation of visitors who love the local spicy vegetables has given me a new high of otherwise dull village life,” said a 67-year-old granny with a smile.

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