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There are only two or three places in the whole world where saffron grows. Kashmir has the proud privilege of being one of these places. There are two locations in Kashmir where saffron grows. One of these two places is Pampur. Pampur is a small town, which is 13 km from Srinagar. The saffron plant is very small and its flower is the only part which is seen above the ground. The blooming time of this flower is autumn. Saffron has a unique sweet smell and is used in dyeing and cooking.

The botanical name of Saffron is Crocus sativus. The purple colored flowers appear just above the ground and are a beautiful sight. The orange stigmas of the saffron plant are harvested as saffron and used as a flavoring and coloring agent in various recipes. Saffron is added to Kahwa - the traditional Saffron Tea drunk by people in Kashmir.

Kashmir Handicrafts

Kashmiri handicrafts is world renowned and been appreciated since long time by the people all around the world. The exclusive items in exotic tastes are difficult to find elsewhere in the world. Kashmir produces some of its very own handicraft items for the people interested in Kashmiri Handicrafts and items. Though some duplicates are found in several places, which people sell and purchase by the name of Kashmiri Handicrafts. The intricacy and delicacy is difficult to find in others works.

Some must buy handicraft items one should buy are :

Kashmiri carpets are very well known for their intricate and delicate piece of work. It may well be the single most extravagant purchase during your tour to Kashmir. Kashmiri carpets are world famous for two things - firstly, they are hand made and secondly, they are always knotted, never tufted. The yarn used normally is silk, wool or silk & wool. Woollen carpets always have a cotton base (Warp & Weft), The carpets are woven with certain motifs in vibrant colours. The finest of Kashmiri carpets are available at major showrooms. The amiable blend of colours makes the Kashmiri carpet a most loved possession.The colour and the design details differentiate it from any other carpet.

The knotting of the carpet is the most important aspect of carpet weaving. The knots of the carpets determines its durability and value, in addition to its design and pattern. The more knots per square inch, the greater becomes the value and durability of each carpet.

Papier Mache
There are three different grades of Papier Mache work, although if looked at a glance all looks quite same. Some are actually cardboard or wood. The idea is to provide a cheaper product for someone who wants the look of Papier Mache at cheaper price.

To make a Papier Mache, first paper is soaked in water till it breaks apart. It is then crushed, mixed with an adhesive solution, shaped over moulds, and allowed to dry and set before being painted and given the final touch.

Bright colours are used on the designs painted on objects of Papier Mache. They are distinct in artistry and colours. Gold is used on most objects, either as the only color, or as the highlight for any particular motif. Apart from the design, the type of gold used also determines the price of the object. The pure gold work which has an unrivalled luster, is far more expensive than bronze dust or gold poster paint. It also has much longer life and will never fade or tarnish. Varnish which is applied to the finished product, imparts a high gloss and smoothness which increases with every coat.

Willows that grow in abundance in marshes and lakes in Kashmir are the raw materials to make aesthetically quaint items. The items generally made are shopping baskets, lampshades, tables and chairs, all generally inexpensive.

Walnut Wood
Kashmir is the only part of India where walnut trees grow. Its color, grains and inherent sheen are unique and outstanding, and the carving and fret work done on this wood is of supreme quality. There are two types of walnut trees – the fruit bearing species whose wood is so well- known, and one which bears no fruit.

The walnut wood is almost black, and the grain here is much more assured than the wood of the trunk which is lighter in color. The branches have the lightest color, being almost blonde, and have no evident grain. The intrinsic worth of the wood from each part of the tree differs- that from the root being the most expensive and the branches having the lowest price. Being one of the strongest varieties of wood, walnut has several varieties of carving. The walnut wood is generally used to make several types of handicraft items with unique Kashmiri artistry.

Copper and Silverware
Craftsmen are often seen engraving objects of household utility - samovars, bowls, plates and trays. Floral, stylized, geometric, leaf and sometimes calligraphic motifs are also engraved or embossed on copper and occasionally silver, to cover the entire surface with fine designs which are then oxidized, to stand out from the background. The work known as 'naqashi' and the weight of the object actuates the price of the object.

The most dominant of all Kashmir languages is the native Kashmiri language. Other common languages of Kashmir valley are Urdu, Hindi and English. The following lines provide more information about the major languages spoken in Kashmir: Kashmiri Majority of the population in Kashmir speaks.

Kashmiri, popularly known as Koshur, is an Indo-Aryan language. Even the opponents of this linguistic classification of this language, grouped it with Dardi, Shrinya, Khowar dialects, which are spoken in the areas adjacent to the valley in its north and north-west. Language historians and linguists have often, however, concurred on the theory that the above-mentioned dialects fall in the category of languages that bear resemblance to the Indo-Aryan as well as to the Indo-Iranian languages.


In a typical koshur household, the kangir continues to be the main, inexpensive source of keeping an individual warm during the winter months. A kangir is made up of two parts. The outer part is an encasement of wicker. Inside, there is an earthen bowl-shaped pot called a kondul. The kondul is filled with tsini (charcoal) and embers. A medium sized kangir holds about a pound of tsini, and its fire lasts for over six hours. Many Kashmiris fill a kangir with toh (chaff) or (guh') lobar (dry cowdung). A kangir is a constant comapnion of Kashmiris during the winter months. It is normally kept inside the Kashmiri cloak, the ph'aran, or inside a blanket if the person does not wear a ph'aran. If a person is wearing a jacket, it may be used as a hand-warmer.

The origin of the kangir is not known. Knowles (1885) makes the following observation:

It has been suggested that the Kashmiris learnt the use of the k'angar from the Italians in the retinue of the Mughal Emperors who often visited the valley, but no reliable particulars have as yet been ascertained.

The mahr'ni kangir is specially made for brides. On the first he:rath (Shivratri) after getting married, a bride brings a specially decorated kangir to her in-laws' house. These have elaborate ornamentation and usually have a silver tsa:lan. The mahr'ni kangir are not terribly comfortable because of their size, but they are extremely attractive and used essentially for decoration.

Mahr'ni Kangir: The tsa:lan looks like a small 'cake server' and is used to turn the coal inside a kangir in order to increase the heat. It is usually tied to a round wicker hook on the back of the kangir. The expensive kangri have silver tsa:lni with silver chains. An inexpensive kangir has a wooden tsa:lan attached by a string.

The sur' kangir is a small kangir specially made for small children. These vary in their size. The kondul is a bowl-like pot which holds the tsini, charcoal, and tyongal. The kondal (plu.) vary in size according to the size of the kangir. The term tsini means charcoal in general, but for the kangri, a special type of charcoal is used. People usually prefer charcoal of bo:ni (chinar) leaves.

The Wazwan is Kashmir's most formal meal: a ritual serving before the guest of all the food there is in the house. This taste of hospitality must in turn be fully appreciated by the guest, for the wazwan is not a simple meal but a ceremony. Hours of cooking and days of planning go into the making and serving of a wazwan. Normally restricted to occasions of celebration at homes, the wazwan experience includes table settings for groups of four on the floor where choice dish after dish is served, each aromatic with herbs and the fresh produce of the region.

First the Tash-t-Nari is passed around, and diners wash their hands from warm water in a samovar. The waza (chief cook) personally supervises each dish which comes out of his kitchen. even the ingredients for the meal have been hand-picked, and effort has ensured that each dish in this rich cuisine is one-of-a-kind.

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