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Uttarakhand turns to culinary tourism to check migration

Aiming to give a boost to culinary tourism in Uttarakhand, the government will soon launch a scheme under which all “delicious ethnic pahari cuisines” will be popularised among tourists visiting the Himalayan state

dehradun Updated: May 12, 2018 22:00 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Garhwali thali.(Laxman Rawat/HT Photo)

Aiming to give a boost to culinary tourism in Uttarakhand, the government will soon launch a scheme under which all “delicious ethnic pahari cuisines” will be popularised among tourists visiting the Himalayan state.

“We have a unique gastronomy culture in the state, which reflects from a number of tasty and nutritious local dishes but hardly anybody outside the state knows about them,” said tourism minister Satpal Maharaj.

“We will soon introduce a scheme, under which ethnic cuisines will be popularised among tourists to give boost to culinary tourism in the state,” he said. “The scheme will also give boost to the locals’ income helping us to check distress migration from the hills.”

Maharaj said the state government is promoting culinary tourism because it has a USP in the delicious Kumaoni and Garhwali cuisines, which are also good for health.

He said Bhang ki Chutney, Ras, Bhatt ki Chulkani or Thatwani, you name any Kumaoni dish and it has a tongue tickling taste and can also be categorised as super food. Same is the case with Garhwali recipes, be it Phaanu, Chainsoo, Arsa, Dhabna roti (bread stuffed with cooked pulses), or, Mandve ka Halwa (sweet prepared from finger millet).

“All these (Kumaoni and Garhwali) dishes being tasty and rich in iron and protein contents will be our USP in promoting culinary tourism in the state,” said Maharaj.

As part of the initiative all kinds of ethnic Kumaoni and Garhwali cuisines will be first publicised among tourists through newspapers and electronic media.

“Through this publicity blitzkrieg they will get to know about the distinctive tastes and the nutritious value of the local cuisines prepared and savoured in both the regions,” he said, adding that the step will be followed by a two-pronged strategy.

“As part of that plan, we will first select qualified chefs and cooks who are experts in preparing Kumaoni and Garwali dishes.

“All these duly selected professionals will be leased out plots on routes to various tourist spots, so they can open restaurants, prepare pahari dishes and offer them to visiting tourists,” the minister said, adding that such restaurants will also be set up on way to the Chardham.

“Besides, it would be made mandatory for all state-run guesthouses to also serve the local delicacies to tourists,” Maharaj said.

“The plots for restaurants would be leased out to only those professionals who would be good at cooking local dishes and would also maintain high standard of hygiene in keeping with visitors’ expectations,” he said.

Plans “are also afoot to promote local cuisines as a brand” on the lines of McDonald’s and Patanjali, he said.

“Once the local dishes get promoted, high-end and foreign tourists would also relish them fetching the local hoteliers and restaurateurs good returns,” the minister said.

“At a later stage the communities too would be trained in preparing the local cuisines, so they can serve them to tourists staying on their premises under the home stay scheme.”

Maharaj said the promotion of local cuisines will also help boost the hill farmers’ income. “Their income will get a boost because the farm produce that will be used in preparing ethnic cuisines will be purchased from them.”

Those associated with the hospitality industry welcomed the move to promote culinary tourism in the state.

“If the visitors develop a liking for the local cuisines, then naturally the influx of tourists into the state will increase,” said Ajay Vaishya, who owns a hotel in Mussoorie.

Pankaj Aggrawal, who runs a sweetmeat shop in the popular hill station, appreciated the idea to promote culinary tourism. “It will ensure a 100% increase in the influx of tourists,” he said.

First Published: May 12, 2018 22:00 IST

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