by Insha Shirazi
SRINAGAR: Popular Bollywood actress Saumya Tandon is currently enjoying a visit to the breathtaking landscapes of Kashmir, where she has been captivated by the region’s natural beauty and the warm hospitality of its people. Known for her notable roles in films such as “Jab We Met” and “Welcome to Punjab,” as well as her presence in the Hindi sitcom “Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain,” Tandon has also made a mark as a host on several well-known TV programs, including “Dance India Dance,” “Bournvita Quiz Contest,” and “Entertainment Ki Raat.”
She also co-hosted the 2011 game show “Zor Ka Jhatka: Total Wipeout” alongside Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
Expressing her admiration for Kashmir, Tandon emphasized the unparalleled beauty of the region, comparing it to the well-marketed charm of Europe. She commended Kashmir’s raw and unspoiled beauty, stating that it is a unique gem that is hard to find elsewhere in the world. Originally visiting the valley for a brief shoot, the actress was so enthralled by the experience that she decided to extend her stay.
Notably, she fulfilled a long-standing desire by taking a ride in a Shikara, a traditional open wooden boat, on the iconic Dal Lake. Sharing her joy on Instagram, she posted a picture of herself wearing an embroidered pink suit, sitting in a beautifully adorned Shikara embellished with a variety of Kashmiri flowers. Her caption reflected her delight in returning to Kashmir once again.
In a video shared on Instagram, Tandon expressed her deep affection for Kashmir, declaring her intention to visit every season due to its magical allure. She reminisced about how visiting Kashmir used to be a dream, but it has now become a reality filled with warmth and friendliness. Praising the hospitality of the locals, she mentioned the wonderful people she had met and the friendships she had formed.
The actress, who had been absent from Kashmir for two years, remarked on the preparations for the upcoming G20 Tourism Working Group conference in Srinagar, expressing her delight at witnessing the growth of local businesses and the flourishing tourism industry. She was particularly impressed by the women entrepreneurs who were reviving traditional Kashmiri arts and crafts while providing employment opportunities for local women. Tandon didn’t miss the chance to indulge herself in the local market, acquiring some priceless Kashmiri souvenirs.
The actress believes that hosting the G20 summit in Srinagar holds significant potential for the region. She expressed her optimism that the conference would attract investment and boosts tourism, especially film tourism. Tandon hoped that the summit would help showcase Kashmir’s peaceful environment to the world and open doors to employment and prosperity for the local population.
Despite being a vegetarian, Tandon savored the unique flavors of Kashmiri cuisine during her visit and was pleasantly surprised by the distinct preparation of vegetarian dishes in the region. She particularly enjoyed dishes like Yakhni (a yogurt-based curry), Sag (greens), and Nadru (lotus stem). The actress was also fascinated by the novel ways in which cheese is prepared in Kashmir. Enthralled by the delectable food, she expressed her intention to carry the recipes back home.
During her exploration of Srinagar, Tandon found herself drawn to the downtown market, which she described as the true heritage of Kashmir. She emphasized the importance of experiencing this bustling marketplace, where one can witness artisans weaving shawls and purchase exquisite rugs, shawls, and spices. Tandon acknowledged that tourists often overlook downtown due to misconceptions about its safety. However, she asserted that a trip to Kashmir would be incomplete without exploring this vibrant and authentic part of the city.
Saumya Tandon’s visit to Kashmir has been a testament to the region’s natural beauty, the warmth of its people, and the untapped potential for tourism and economic growth. As she immerses herself in the culture, traditions, and flavors of the valley, the actress hopes to inspire others to embrace the true essence of Kashmir and discover the hidden treasures that make it a must-visit destination.