JAMMU AND KASHMIR: The demand for dried vegetables increased in Jammu and Kashmir as the minimum temperatures across the Valley were recorded below the freezing point.
The residents witnessed intense cold wave as 40-day long Chillai Kalan, believed to be the harshest winter period, began in the state.
The demand and sale for dried vegetables increase as people in the valley relish dry vegetables, smoked fish and wild herbs to survive during the extreme winter.
On Sunday, people thronged local markets to purchase vegetables like bottle gourd, brinjal, beetroot, pumpkin, tomatoes, turnips, and dates among others.
“The demand is high for dried vegetables, especially during winters. The vegetables including dry fish, dry pumpkin, and beetroot are sold in huge numbers. Being dry, they taste delicious. Also, when the roads get closed in the season, these vegetables are in great demand because of their dry nature and we do not get fresh vegetables that time,” said a customer, Ghulam Mohideen.
The dry fish called “haggard” in Kashmiri language arrives in the market during winter and stays till the month of March-April.
As heavy snowfall snaps connectivity with the outside world, residents of the valley store washed and dried vegetables to hold them in good stead during winter. They last for four to six months.
“Demand for vegetables is always high. The demand increases with the onset of winter. Roads get closed during winter so people from distant areas come here to purchase traditional vegetables. This is a very old market,” said another customer, Adil Ahmad.
However, the demand for dried vegetables is not the same as it used to be decades back as then the winters in Kashmir would be extremely harsh.
Kashmir was once dubbed the Switzerland of the east. It was once a Mecca for climbers, skiers, honeymooners and filmmakers drawn to the state's soaring peaks, fruit orchards and timber houseboats bobbing on Dal Lake in Srinagar.
Located in the tropics, most of India witnesses very hot summers and largely temperate winters.
Snowfall is a boon for northern states in high altitudes as the tourist inflow increases during this period which is a boost for the tourism industry. However, traffic movement is often affected in these states due to several feet of snow blocking roads.