Pahalgam records brisk business amid G20 Summit

LG Manoj Sinha Interacting with residents, tourists and shopkeepers at the main market of Pahalgam on Sunday 21 May 2023.
LG Manoj Sinha Interacting with residents, tourists and shopkeepers at the main market of Pahalgam on Sunday 21 May 2023.Twitter/ @OfficeOfLGJandK

Pahalgam: The famed tourist resort Pahalgam has seen an increase in business as a result of the G20 tourism working group meeting to be held in Kashmir from May 22.

In the awe-inspiring hills of Chandanwari, Yogindar Kumar has set a stall and sells bhel puri chaat to the tourists, visiting the area. As the weather significantly improved over the last few days, Kumar’s stall was visited by hundreds of chaat lovers and gave them, particularly those from Mumbai and Delhi, a ‘feel-at-home’ feeling.

Puffed rice, slices of mango and chilli are some of the ingredients of the bhel puri, which Kumar offers to his customers in newspaper cones.

Kumar, a resident of Bihar’s Bhagalpur district has been selling bhel puri at Pahalgam for last many years to earn a living.

“I am now completely familiar with the terrain and sometimes I also guide tourists “, said Kumar.

Every year Kumar shows up there in  April and returns in the first week of  October.

“I earn Rs 800 to Rs Rs 900 per day”, said Kumar.

Due to inclement weather, this year Kumar’s small business went through a bit of a sticky patch but as the buzz around the G20 summit grew in Kashmir so did the number of tourists visiting this tourist destination.

“The perennial rains over the last few months hit my business”, said Kumar.

He, however, quickly added that with the G20 meeting to be held in Kashmir, the tourist’s footprints significantly increased and over the last few days he witnessed brisk sales.

Junaid Ahmad, who runs a café in the area said that the bad weather discouraged tourists and sightseers, particularly locals, to visit the area.

 “But since last week we see a good number of visitors and the season is inching towards its peak”, he said.

Suraj Kumar, a pani puri vendor also said that their sales suffered due to continuous rains.

Every year dozens of vendors both local and non-locals visit Pahalgam to earn their living.

Besides setting up food stalls, they sell imitation jewellery, rubber shoes and other items.

“This tourist destination feeds thousands of workers “, said Khurshid Ahmad, a photographer.  He said that the business picked up over the last few days and they were looking forward to a good tourist season.

On Sunday, tourists both local and non-local visited Pahalgam in droves and could be seen capturing the breathtaking beauty of  Chandanwari, Betab Valley and Aru Valley.

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