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Women of Doodhpathri: From Kitchens to Tourist Hotspots with Makai Chot and Noon Chai

Srinagar, July 06: Rubeena Banu, 35, makes crispy fried Makai Chot (maize flour tortillas) with Noon Chai (salted tea) at a stall in Doodhpathri, a famous tourist destination in Badgam district. Her stall is one of 50 in the area, 43 of which are run by women, some co-managed with their husbands. Tourist vehicles frequently […]

Srinagar, July 06: Rubeena Banu, 35, makes crispy fried Makai Chot (maize flour tortillas) with Noon Chai (salted tea) at a stall in Doodhpathri, a famous tourist destination in Badgam district. Her stall is one of 50 in the area, 43 of which are run by women, some co-managed with their husbands.

Tourist vehicles frequently stop at these modest food stalls run by women. Popular delicacies include Makai Chot, Saag (collard greens), Anchar (pickle), and Noon Chai.
What makes this place special is that women are at the forefront of these food stalls, in a region where men are usually the hosts. Shakeela Begam, one of the stall operators, has been serving fresh local delicacies to tourists for over five years.

A few meters from Shakeela’s stall is another stall operated by Afroza Banu and her husband Ghulam Mohiud Din, who have been running it for the past seven years. They support their 12-member family with the business.

Afroza says the female stall operators ensure that fresh food is cooked for tourists craving warm meals in the cold temperatures. She notes that it offers tourists a unique experience compared to typical restaurants and cafes.

Afroza inspired other women to start working in the tea stalls. Thirty-five-year-old Mugli Begum’s husband, Muhammad Ayoub, encouraged her to run the tea stall with him after seeing Afroza’s success. “I was skeptical at first, but my husband, citing Afroza as an example, encouraged me,” said Naseema.

The food stall operators appreciate the boost in tourist footfall, bringing them opportunities, though they still lack many facilities. Most women running the Doodhpathri food stalls come from farming households that cultivate maize, aiming to create a self-sustaining business.

Tags:

Badgam districtDoodhpathriMakai ChotNoon ChaiTDGThe Daily GuardianTourist Hotspots