Handicrafts

Ladakh to host Apricot Blossom Festival from April 13

Srinagar, March 31: The Union Territory of Ladakh is set to hold Apricot Blossom Festival in Leh and Kargil districts from April 13, during which visitors can witness the mesmerizing blossoming of apricot trees and the presentation of its products.

The head of the tourism department said the department will organize Apricot Blossom Ladakh festival under the theme “Chuli Mentok 2022” from April 13 to 22.

The official said that in Leh, one can enjoy the festival at Domkhar Dho on April 13, Achinathang on April 14, Skuru on April 21 and Tertsey on April 22. On the other hand, Kargil will host the event in Garkhone on April 14, Sanjak on April 16 and Karkichu on April 19.

As part of the festival, visitors can witness the fascinating blossoming of apricot trees and enjoy cultural programs, exhibitions of local crafts, display and sale of apricot tree products.

The festival is poised to be a visual treat for travelers as beautiful apricot blossoms will mesmerize visitors during this time.

Apricot is popularly known as Chuli in Ladakh.

Kargil is located equidistant between Srinagar and Leh, the gateway to Ladakh, is famous for its apricot production which is mainly transported to Kashmir through the Zojila pass.

Apricots known for their sweet taste are first harvested, dried and then transported out of the region and are also sold in the main market of Kargil known as Lal Chowk.

Muhammad Ali, an apricot farmer from Gargardo village in Kargil has long been associated with apricot production and business.

“Apricots have the potential to go to international markets. Apricots must be exported to external markets. The more it is exported, the more it will benefit farmers,” he said.

Apricots are the main fruit trees in Kargil, widely cultivated and highly perishable during the short summer season. Therefore, fresh fruit should be transported soon after harvest.

The previous year was a historic year for Ladakh as fresh apricots from the Kargil district were sent to the international market in Dubai for the first time in 35 years. This decision was widely welcomed by farmers associated with the production of apricots.

Apricot is the first and only product of Ladakh. Apricots are found in Kargil, Leh, however, the best quality is produced in Kargil. There are 40 varieties of apricots in the Ladakh region.

Harvesting is done by manually harvesting the apricots from the trees in August. However, due to the introduction of harvesting, picking fruits by net has become easy but laborious.

Kargil district has 129 villages of which only 64 villages are fruit-growing. Of the 64, there are 10 to 15 villages producing a significant amount of apricot.

Places rich in apricot production in Kargil include Gargardo, Darchiks, Chulichan, Batalik, Garkone, Shilikchay, Hardass, Karkitcho, Chanigund.

In India, people have been consuming it for decades. Part of the local culture, apricots are served as desserts, especially at traditional festivals and receptions. Many people in Ladakh send apricots as gifts to friends and family members inside and outside the region.