Muzafrabad is a beautiful city with great hospitable and beautiful people. I feel lucky to have travelled with staff of NGO Idara e Taleem o Agahi, Riffat and Sadia, to Muzafrabad. Riffat like me is a U.S State dept alumnui and since our last meeting I have done almost three reports with them.
The road to Muzafrabad is with sharp turns so if you are like me who gets sick while travelling to hilly areas than you must take some good medicine so the nausea doesnt spoil your trip. It took us about three and a half hours to reach Muzafrabad. Our first destination was Pilot High School. This school was established in 1924 during Dogra rule, which makes it the oldest school of Azad Kashmir. President of AJK Raja Zulqarnain has been a student at the same school. Idarae Taleem o Agahi wanted us to cover a small ceremony organized at the school to highlight a project in which young girls of a nearby village have made lovely household products using plastic bags. Plastic bags, as many people are aware, are harmful for natural environment. They have been banned in many countries but in pakistan they are commonly used. The young girls undersupervision of their teacher Tahir Alam have worked hard by collecting plastic bags from their homes and from their neighbours. The girls literally cut the plastic bags and from each bag they can get 9 yards of plasic thread and by weaving that thread they make up things like school bags, table mats and other decorative items. It was great to give coverage to this wonderful and unique project. The girls were excited and were telling me that if they get more support they could easily make more money by selling these products and their work would also help clean the environment.
Once I was done with this , I went to Muzafrabad main bazar, and it was a fantastic experience. I love food and I had heard that Kashmiri food is delicious so I wanted to make a small news report on street food of Muzafrabad. I started with a small restaurant called, Pakistan Hotel, The place was selling a famous kashmiri dish called , Gushtamba. This particular dish is made with beef meatballs and it has a white curry. Its served with boiled rice. So after talking with the cook I talked with some local people who were enjoying eating this dish. One of the person at the restaurant actually said that he comes to this place all the way from Rawalpindi once a month to have this dish. After this we headed to a famous shop in the bazar which was selling Kulchay. This small shop had many customers. These kulchas are quite small in size, they are salty and are made with flour, eggs, salt and ghee (saturated fat ). I loved them too. The next stop was the baqarkhani shop, which is also a famous local snackfood. A lot of people were buying baqarkhani too and they said they have it with green tea or Kashmiri tea, which is pink in color and ofcourse many of us love pink tea :) .
When my work was done I got to buy a nice Kashmiri embrodied suit for my mom and she liked it a lot. I am glad I got a chance to travel to Muzafrabad. The staff at the school was very nice to us. It was wonderful to see so many women working and so many girls studying there. The following link shows my conversation with lovely girls of Muzafrabad.
It was only a day trip , but the beauty of the people there, the huge mountains, the river , lovely food, great company of my friends Riffat, Sadia, our driver and my cameraman Javed Altaf and the lovely chilly weather
have surely made this one of my best trips.