Srinagar: A king-size portrait of bollywood stars Manoj Bajpayee, Sidharath Malhotra and Prakash Raj adorns the walls of a well laid-out Kehwa shop at Lethpora along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
At the corner of the shop, Firdous Ahmad is busy chitchatting with tourists who drop by to saviour famous zaffrani Kehwa.
Displaying 11 boxes of spices and herbs, Firdous tries to explain the health benefits of the popular beverage to his guests.
“The word ‘keh’ in ‘kehwa’ means 11. And we use 11 spices including saffron, elaichi, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, mulethi, honey, etc for preparing kehwa. We also display the herbs and spices that we use for kehwa. We use saffron and honey of the highest quality. That is why, not just the locals but the tourists and Bollywood actors come to enjoy kehwa here,” said Firdous.
Firdous has been serving kehwa since 2006. And his popularity is growing by the day.
“I have been selling kehwa since 2006 and we start serving the drink from 6 am till the evening. It is served in the traditional samovar. I have served kehwa to several Bollywood actors like Manoj Vajpayee, Sidharath Malhotra and Prakash Raj. You can see their photographs with me. I serve 100 per cent authentic kehwa and that is why my shop has become so popular,” he said.
Valley-based food blogger of ‘Kashmirfoodgram’ fame, Omar Rather, said Firdous has earned the name ‘Celebrity kahwa wala of Kashmir’.
“One does not usually come across exclusive kehwa shops but Firdous Ahmed has earned the name ‘Celebrity kahwa wala of Kashmir’ among bloggers because he has hosted many Bollywood celebrities. He is also popular with the tourists as they want to relish this drink. These days, lots of food bloggers blog about kehwa and thus several tourists want to have a sip and taste it. Kehwa is equally popular among the locals in Kashmir,” he said.
“The best part of his kehwa is that it is made of 11 pure ingredients. On top of that he uses top quality saffron and honey and it is served from a traditional samovar,” he added.