Kissan Ghar: Second home for Kashmiris in the Capital

- March 2, 2024
| By : Idrees Bukhtiyar |

With Kashmir House inaccessible to common people from the valley, Kissan Ghar in north-west Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh has emerged as the go-to option for those from the valley visiting the capital

ACCOMMODATING ALL: Kissan Ghar includes 30 rooms and six suites besides a restaurant

Manzoor Ahmad, a resident of Uri in Kashmir who was suffering from foot drop ailment, planned to visit Delhi in December 2022 for medical consultation. But the challenge was to find accommodation in the bustling city. 

Manzoor was recommended Kissan Ghar in Shalimar Bagh, known as the second home for Kashmiris.

“A friend of mine suggested Kissan Ghar to me. He called it a welcoming place and second home for Kashmiris,” says Manzoor.

“I booked a suite effortlessly and stayed there for 15 days. It seriously felt like home given the environment and other conditions,” he says.        

Reyaz Ahmad, a local from Pampore town in J&K’s Pulwama district praised the simple process for renting a room at Kissan Ghar. 

“This place is a haven for Kashmiris and it is very easy to book a room there as compared to other locations. I also stayed there recently and got a room easily without facing any challenges,” he highlighted.     

The other abode for the people from the valley, Kashmir House in Chanakyapuri, is not easy to get in and requires recommendation from high places.   

NEW SECTION: The new section of Kissan Ghar got embroiled in legal problems 10 years ago. However, work is slated to start soon

Abrar Bhat, a resident of Baramulla district says he has been struggling to find space at Kashmir House for the last few months or whenever he visits Delhi. 

“Whenever I visit there, I am always told that they don’t have any space available. It always remains booked,” he says.

“I believe every common Kashmiri deserves space there. But unfortunately, it has been occupied by people from influential quarters,” he says.

“Since I didn’t find any room at Kashmir House again, I am now putting up at Kissan Ghar,” he says with a smile. 

Bashir Ahmad Basheer, President of the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Association, commends the establishment of such a property in a city like Delhi.

“We had shot many letters to the government requesting them to open such a facility in the national capital for traders, growers, patients and common Kashmiris who have no place available to stay or a place which is affordable and accessible to all. The government fulfilled this request,” he says.

Basheer suggested that the government should allocate yearly funds for its maintenance. 

“This is an asset for Kashmiris in Delhi. It is also good that the government is not treating it as commercial property and earning from common Kashmiris but what would add more flavour to this property is its timely maintenance,” he says.          

REASONABLE: The rooms at the Kissan Ghar are spacious and affordable, costing only Rs 520 per night

Mohd Aamin Chalkoo, Chairman of Walnut Traders’ Association in J&K’s Uri, the valley’s oldest walnut market, calls Kissan Ghar as their first choice of stay. 

“Whenever we take the walnut stock to the Delhi market, we always prefer to stay in Kissan Ghar only. It is easily accessible to us,” he says.

He says that hotels in Delhi are very costly. 

“But we get accommodation at Kissan Ghar at a very normal rate. The rates of the hotels start from Rs 2500 per night at least,” he added.

The charge for a double bedroom at Kissan Ghar is Rs 520 while for a suite, it is Rs 1,050.

The J&K government is building another two-storey extension building close to the current one but since 2013, the work on the building has not progressed due to legal problems. 

“All the problems have been resolved and work on the new building will start soon,” confirmed an official of J&K Horticulture Planning & Marketing Department.

The foundation stone of the extension block was laid by Raman Bhalla on 12-02-2013, then J&K Minister for Horticulture, Housing & Culture.

Most Kashmiris visit Delhi in winter to escape the harsh cold of the valley. 

“During this time, you would find Kissan Ghar completely booked and flocked with Kashmiris. People keep coming and going in these four months of winters,” says Tanveer Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar who is currently staying at Kissan Ghar. 

The Kissan Ghar includes a hygienic mess which offers traditional Kashmiri Wazwan to customers. “We offer rogan josh, chicken, mutton chaamp, rista, goshtaba, kabab, yakhni and other culinary items,” says Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, the head chef at Kissan Ghar. 

He says, “We offer all the food between the price range of Rs 10 and Rs 250, which is affordable to all.”

The history of Kissan Ghar dates back to 1972 when land was procured from the Delhi government on lease.

“I remember, Mohd Ashraf Khan from the National Conference (NC) party was Horticulture Minister then. He took eight kanal of land from the Delhi government on lease to establish a rest house for Kashmiris, especially farmers. Later, it was named Kissan Ghar which is now the second home for Kashmiris in Delhi,” says Ghulam Qadir Baba, who has served as Deputy Director in J&K Horticulture Planning & Marketing Department in Delhi for 13 years.

DELICACIES: The restaurant at Kissan Ghar serves Kashmiri delicacies like rista, goshtaba and rogan josh

Officially inaugurated on May 24, 2005 by the then Chief Minister of J&K, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in the presence of then Chief Minister of Delhi, late Sheila Dixit, Kissan Ghar was built for Rs 1.56 crores and has over 30 rooms including six suites.  

A senior official of J&K Horticulture Planning & Marketing Department says that they are providing the best possible facilities to Kashmiris at Kissan Ghar. 

“We ensure that they feel safe and like at home,” he says.