Heritage enthusiasts were in for a delectable treat on Sunday, with a heritage walk in the state capital covering some of the iconic eateries of Dehradun, which have been the favourite haunts of residents for decades.
The heritage walk was led by expert Lokesh Ohri and the walk was conducted under the aegis of Been There Doon That, a local heritage group. Around 100 people assembled at the Clock Tower and walked down to Paltan Bazar before starting their ‘tastathon’ at the famous Kumar Sweets, a famed sweetshop located in the heart of the city.
The group made 12 stoppages at various food eateries, including the Chaatwali Gali (considered the equivalent to Old Delhi’s Parathewali Gali), some old sweet shops and bakeries and popular street-side points like Chetan puriwala and Negi paanwala.
The heritage walkers not only learnt about the historical past of the shops, but also about the history behind the ingredients used in the dishes. For instance, at Kumar Sweets, Ohri told enthusiasts about the history of kulfi – how it originated in Persia as a frozen dessert before being brought to India by the Mughals. He also referred to excerpts of the Ain-e-Akbari, the 16th century document recording administration of emperor Akbar’s empire, which narrates how around 18 kg ice was brought to the Mughal courts from the Himalayas for kulfi.
Ohri said that the walk was aimed at developing a deep understanding of the city’s historical legacy through food — the best way to connect with people across all age groups.
“Many of these shops go back three generations or more. For instance, Chetan puriwala is over 100 years old. Despite being surrounded by heritage, few residents know about the history of food. The endeavour aimed at generating awareness about the city’s food heritage,” Ohri told HT. “It will also help train a small army of conservationists who shall further take up the cause of heritage protection.