In shivering cold Kargil celebrates Mamani food festival

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Umar Khurshid

Srinagar: Mamani, the seasonal food festival was celebrated in Kargil region of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Thousands of people from all over Kargil district participated to celebrate the day which is considered as one of the main events to revive the culture.

A Ladakhi food being exhibited during Mamani festival

During the occasion, people of Kargil prepares traditional dishes like Thukpa, Popot (Grain Soup), Hrtsrap Khur (Yeast Bread), Markhor, Azoq (Skinn & Kabchey) (Puri), Poli (Pane Cakes of Buck Wheat), Curd, Suggoo (Kash or Pachae) etc, with all the dishes they gather at a specific place (Changrah).

The chief guest of the occasion, Chief Executive Councillor LAHDC Kargil, Kacho Ahmad Ali wished the people of Ladakh and said that foods used in a region and produced in a region are based on its topographical and geographical needs. “Humans need those foods to survive in that particular region so we should avoid using foods like, rice, Wazwan etc to stay healthy,” he said.

Varieties of Ladakhi food

Kacho on the recommendation of the organisers has announced to change the nomenclature of Old TRC Stand as Tha Tha Khani Changrah as well as the name of La Chowk Kargil as Kalon Rahim Khan Chowk.

He also appreciated the organisers particularly Airtel for helping in the promotion of culture and tradition along with connecting people.

The festival was organised by Shotopa Traders and Airtel 4G in collaboration with LAHDC Kargil, Stawa and Zee Electronics.

The stalls were decorated with various traditional dishes such as Thukpa, Popot (grain soup), Hrtsrap khur (leavened bread), mar-khur, Azoq (deep fried bread), Poli (buckwheat pancakes), curd, Suggoo (kash or pachae) etc along with some traditional utensils and handicrafts.

Chief guest Kacho Ahmed Ali while talking about the importance of traditional Ladakhi foods

On this occasion, Dr Mehdi Akhone, senior Scientist KVK Kargil also gave a brief description of the nutritional values of traditional Ladakhi foods.

The festival of Mamani marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring and is celebrated on 21st of January every year.

According to the oral history, there was a tradition of a Small Mamani Called (Maqsoomi Mamani) which was celebrated on the same day at the dawn, by lighting a fire in the courtyard of every household which has been revoked by the society with the change in time.

There is another tradition related to this festival which still exists. A gift of every dish is sent to the house of those woman members who were married to other places.

people celebrating Mamani at a specific place in Kargil called ‘Changrah’

The history of the celebration of this festival in Ladakh is narrated before Buddhism reached Ladakh. At that time, people used to worship Spirits called Lha and in that time the tradition was that whatever dish, one prepares at his home, they had to bring out a quantity of each item on this day in the name of the Dead Spirit.

With the passage of time, there are a lot of new things introduced to the list of foods as nowadays people bring Rice, Briyani, Phoulwadi Snacks etc.

There is also a tradition related to this festival that children visit door to door and collect money from the owners and later in the evening they organize a gathering called Issun and celebrate the day which still exists in Changchik hamlet of Kargil.

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