Sadam Hussain Pandow
Srinagar: The town of Chrar-e- Sharief famous for housing the shrine of revered Sufi saint Sheikh Noor Din Noorani (RA) is also known for its dried pears locally called tange ’hachi.
Prepared by sun drying chopped unripe pears, tange’hachi are sought after by tourists and visitors thronging the shrine.
“Chrar-e-Sharief is thronged by local and foreign tourists throughout the year, and they all ask for tange’hachi in the marker,” says Mohammad Shafi Sodagar, a vendor.
“Selling tange’hachi is our ancestral job. Now-a-days this delicacy is not just popular in local markets but reaches foreign markets of Pakistan, Sudan, and other countries,” Sodagar said, adding that he sells five to eight kilos daily at the rate of Rs 200 per kg.
Nayeem Ahmad, 22, another tange’hachi vendor said, “Like people bring dry apricots from Ladakh, sweets from Kud, the visitors of this shrine purchase dry pears as ‘tobrukh’.”
The delicacy is of three varieties; ‘Wanhaet, Sirkhaet and Farashi’, categorized on the basis of taste and size. Wanhaet is small in size but sweet in taste. Sirkhaet is sour and sugar free and considered beneficial for diabetes patients. Farashi are large sized but not as tasty as Wanhaet and Sirkhaet.
The main areas of its production are Telsur, Zipanzal, Kanhdajan, Zaloosa, Chari-e-Sharif and adjacent areas. Chopped rock-hard fruits are exposed to sunlight for 15 to 20 days.
Firdous Ahmad Bhat, 33, a resident of Batapora, Wathora said that he purchases tange’hachi for her mother on the suggestions of a Unani practitioner to control her sugar level.
As it is always in demand, most shopkeepers in Chrar-e-Sharif sell the different varieties.
Nazeer Ahmad Sodagar, a resident of Chari-e-Sharif, said he has been dealing with dry pears for the last 30 years and always saw dry pears in high demand.
He said that while preparing tange’hachi was a simple process, it is necessary to protect them from rain and high temperature.
Abdul Samad, another trader said that rather than selling the ripe fruit at god rates, they prefer to dry some part of produce for drying to keep the “distinct culture” alive.
Unani practitioners are divided in opinion about the benefits of tange’hachi.
Mohammad Ashraf, a Unani practitioner said dried pears are beneficial for maintaining water balance in patients and can ease constipation, besides being good for liver, intestine, heart and they are also sugar free.
However another Unani specialist, Dr Altaf Hussain Shah denied dried pears having any medical value. “It is a kind of myth about it,” he said.