Kashmiri dresses have been showcased time and again in many Bollywood movies such as Kashmir ki Kali, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Rockstar, and more recently in Laila Majnu. Hence, the world is no stranger to the customs and traditions of the valley of Kashmir.
There are some intricacies about the culture and the ethnic clothing of Kashmiris that will tell you a lot about the history and the culture of the people of Kashmir. Kashmiri traditions, the dressing, the language and the preferences make a vivid picture of how Kashmir connects to the rest of the world. That’s also the manner in which we get to know, how Kashmir and Kashmiris set themselves apart.
Today, I am going to narrate to you another bulletin on Kashmir. It is the story of Kashmiris and their dressing sense. Their clothing and fashion. So, hold your breath and enjoy some information on the traditional Kashmiri dress & style.
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When we talk about the ethnic Kashmiri apparel, it is exactly what you think it is. A traditional kurta and salwar for men, actually called the Khan Dress. In rest of India, it is famous as a pathani. Women wear Salwar-Kameez donned with a pheran. The hair of women is usually covered with a head scarf.
Although movies do exaggerate showing short shinning waist coats and pointy skull caps, which in reality are only worn when you have a fancy dress competition to win. Am not joking!
The Preferred Traditional Kashmiri Dress of a Woman
The Kashmiri dress for women be it Muslim or Pandit is completely the same. But there is a difference in the kind of jewelry each of them prefer to wear. Whereas most of the women in India have sarees as their traditional dress, Kashmiri women have a completely different style.
We Kashmiri women have traditional dresses similar to that of Afghan and Persian women. The style and making of the Salwar-Kameez and the jewelry is very similar to the attire donned by the Pashtun women.
The Salwar-Kameez is further beautified by a fancy pheran. Now when I say pheran don’t get confused thinking pheran is for wearing in winters only. Pherans are used to cover the bodies. Pherans were worn by Kashmiri women over the centuries to cover their bodies as a sign of modesty. The pherans worn in summer are made out of light fabrics in accordance with the heat.
Next comes the head scarf. It is like a cherry on top of a cake. Without a scarf, any outfit is not complete. At least in our estimation. Interestingly, it is worn by both Muslim and Pandit women. It can be worn by either tying it to the head or letting it stay open. A scarf is called Kasaba or the Taranga by Kashmiri Pandit women. They wear it in a peculiar manner. It is tied to the hanging bonnet and falls up to the heels from behind.
Traditional Kashmiri Dress for the Man
For men, the traditional Kashmir outfit is a Khan Dress topped with a short Sadri (waist coat). in the past, they also used wear a long full length outer robe with long bell sleeves which is called the Chogha. Older folks wear it with a girdle around the waist. A head gear was also worn in older times. It was like a turban made by a small fitted cap covered with a cloth.
The manner of tying of the cloth varied among the Pandits and the Muslims. Sometimes, on special occasions such as marriages the turban of a Muslim man resembled with that of a Pathan man. In medieval times rich upper class Kashmiris wore silk on festive occasions.
The footwear consists of shoes made of grass called Pulharoo and sandals made of wood called Khraw. But this is talking about 5-7 decades ago. Today, with Globalization, Kashmiris wear whatever the world wears, but they still like to done their tradition.
So, you will find men often wearing a full Khan Dress, and women wearing a Salwar-Kameez. During the winters both men and women wear the pheran.
Talking about the Kashmiri Dress in Winters
I am going to mention the pheran now. I love the pheran, O’, yes I do!
The winter in Kashmir can give full-fledged competition to the climate in Siberia and Antarctica. The temperature can go down to -15 degree Celsius.
We Kashmiris tend to be prepared for it. In all honesty victory over such a climate requires a complete preparation. In the past, people used to prepare for it months in advance.
Pheran is the first item that comes to the mind when someone talks about winters in Kashmir. The Pehran! Something that Kashmiris love and deem to be heritage. It is an all-rounder garb that acts as a sweater, a jacket, an overcoat and even a blanket. The star of the Kashmiri customary dresses, the pheran has become a mark of identification for Kashmiris around the world.
This woolen wonder has saved Kashmiris from crippling harsh winters which have to be tolerated without electricity in some areas. The only source of heat is the Kangri which is tailor-made for pehrans. Once you have a Kangri under your pehran, the winters just seem like any other season.
Btw, a Kangri is a fire pot.
The women folk wear the pherans in a much more fashionable way. It is not just a winter garment but also a centuries old customary clothing worn also for every special and important occasion. This is the Kashmiri dress that is famous the world over, not as much as the pashmina though.
The simple pherans worn at home have simple embroidery and designs. But pherans worn for during special occasions are ornamented with attractive tilla works and special embroideries crafted with special gold threads making them worth thousands of rupees in the market but priceless in the eyes of a Kashmiri.
The Summer Dress of Kashmir
In summers, Kashmiri people wear the lighter versions of their traditional outfits. Although ever since the modern times popularized global fashion in the valley, our clothing has drastically changed. It has paved way for western wear to penetrate into the market, but even then the evergreen and ever comfortable ethnic summer wear hasn’t been written off the valley yet.
The younger women wear Salwar-Kameez in summers with light duppattas whose making can be inspired from either sides of the border. The older women prefer to stick to their traditional roots and wear clothes made in the conventional Kashmiri style. As I stated earlier, the Kameez-Salwar is topped by a light pheran to cover their bodies fully for modesty and crowned with a Daejj (Head Scarf).
Similarly, men also tend to experiment with modern styles now-a-days. They prefer to wear pants and jeans with shirts winning the battle of the trends. But when comfort weighs more than show off traditional wear wins the war every time.
The customary Khan Dress is usually made in the Pathan style which can be sometimes topped with a waist coat adding to charm and elegance. The kurtas vary is sizes and shapes, they can be short or long and with our without a collar. Also they can be either typical salwars or pant like salwars. Some men wear trousers or jeans under them. Not only is the Kashmiri dress comfortable, it’s elegant and stylish. At the same time, it gives the wearer a royal look.
The Elegant Kashmiri Jewelry
The traditional Kashmiri jewelry is creativity and mystic art at its best. Every piece of the jewelry blends beautifully with the apparel and adds to the charm of the outfit donned. These ornaments are typically made of gold and silver and are studded with multi-colored stones or pearls. Kashmiris love birth stones. Some people say that Kashmir is the land of the blue sapphire as well.
The well-known and frequently worn jewelry pieces in the past were Jiggni and Tikka. They were worn on forehead. They can be triangular, semi-circular and circular in shape depending on the use and occasion. Atta-Hor (ear piece) was usually worn by the Kashmiri Pandit women. It hangs over the head of the women on either side and is connected by a chain over the head.
Hard to imagine but this beautiful piece of ornament is a sight for sore eyes. Kana-Door (tops) is a simple ornament usually worn by young unmarried girls. Jhumka (ball shaped earrings), Deji-Hor (long chain like earrings) are a trademark jewellery piece of married Kashmiri Pandit women. They are a mark of their matrimony and are worn at all times by them especially during festivities and weddings. Finally, Kana Vaji are studded with turquoise with a fringe of hanging gold leaves and balls.
Over to You
That’s all in this bulletin. I have told you everything that you would need to know about the traditional Kashmiri dress. You may know that roots of Kashmir ethnicity are a mix of several civilizations. Thus, with every piece of clothing you can see different cultures being beautifully merged among one another. Doesn’t that create a magical blend of many rich customs, arts and traditions?
Summarizing, Kashmir is an offspring of Central Asia, Persia, Arab, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and you can visit all these countries at once by simply visiting Kashmir. Hey, come and have a look at some unique products that Kashmiri craftsmen produce.
Man has been living on this planet for millions of years. Obviously, he needed to communicate. Interestingly, he choose to use different languages and not just one. There are many languages in the world that have originated since the beginning of time. A number of them have been erased from the world leaving only few traces of their origins. Yet many others have been modified into different languages. There are still some warriors which are still fighting to sustain themselves in this modern world. In all honesty, the story about the oldest languages of the world is quite interesting.
Before checking out this list, let’s see how many languages do you know about that are from the oldest languages of the world?
Which is the oldest languages of the world in your opinion?
Take a wild guess.
Let me give you a heads up. There are some languages in this list that you can never imagine to be so old.
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One of the Oldest Languages of the World Spoken by Moses
Hebrew came into light in 400 CE. It is the only ancient mother tongue of Jews around the world. It also became the official language of Israel after its formation. The modern version of the language differs from the Biblical version but nevertheless, the native speakers of Hebrew can fully comprehend what is written in the Old Testament.
Modern Hebrew replaced Yiddish as the native Jewish language and other connecting languages and became what is known today the unified language of the Jews around the world.
Another one From the Oldest Languages of the World That Brought Indians & Arab Traders Closer
Tamil has inscriptions that date back to the 3rd century BC. Some facts about it that will surely astonish people who think that it is a language spoken only by South Indians. It is the only ancient language that has been relevant and existing since its inception whereas many of its counterparts were eradicated by new substitute languages.
It is spoken by about 78 million people (which means its spoken outside India too) and is the official language in Sri Lanka and as well as Singapore. Yes! You read it right, Singapore.
Since it is a part of the Dravidian language family, it is also the official language of the state of Tamil Nadu. Unlike Sanskrit which is another ancient Indian language that fell out of common use around 600 BC, Tamil has continued to develop and is now the 20th most commonly-spoken language in the world.
Other similar older languages of the world can now only be found in texts or scriptures. So, Tamil is a great example of being world’s oldest language that is still relevant and living.
The Mayan family of languages is another one of the oldest languages in the world. Do you know that here are 32 different dialects of the Mayan language? Hush Hush, all of them can be traced back to the original, which comes from 292 AD.
The original Mayan language didn’t have words to communicate messages but instead used pictures called glyphs. An ancient city discovered in the rain forest of Guatemala called Tikal where a temple having stone shafts was the first place in the world to have evidences of the existence Mayan language. It is a native language of the people of Mesoamerica, Honduras, Belize and Mexico and has about 6 million speakers today.
4. Ancient Chinese
The Cho Cho Mo Cho Sounds
Ancient Chinese dates back to more than 3,000 years ago. It is said to be originated in 1250 B.C. as a part of the Sino-Tibetan language family. The oldest known example of Old Chinese was found at the archaeological site of the ancient city of Yinxu. At this site, oracle bones with the earliest form of the Chinese language were found. It was also discovered that there were about 4,000 different characters in Old Chinese but unfortunately as of today, only half of those have been translated with meaning.
Do you know why?
Simply because it is a very complicated language and it is very difficult to understand the grammar of Old Chinese. Old Chinese evolved into Middle Chinese around 600 AD and ultimately upgraded into modern Mandarin and Cantonese, thus eradicating one of the oldest languages of the world completely.
Sumerian is known as the oldest written language in the world and it dates back to at least 3500 BC. The earliest proof that the written Sumerian language existed was the Kish Tablet, which was found in Iraq. Sumerian is said to be older than Egyptian, but unfortunately it only lasted as a spoken language until around 2000 BC. Later it was replaced by another language, called Akkadian.
It was practically unknown to the world until the 19thcentury but was discovered by some archaeologists while researching the ancient Arabic and European cultures and found evidence of the language.
The Language of the Quran
Arabic can be traced all the way back early 328 A.D. Arabic is the member of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Today, it is spoken by citizens of the Arab league and parts of Africa, Asia and also Europe. It currently has about 420 million speakers. Perhaps it is one of the world’s oldest languages with the highest number of speakers.
In 1901, the proof of Arabic language to be ancient was discovered from the Namara inscription and with time it has evolved drastically and unfolded into many variants of the original Arabic vocabulary and grammar. Though there are some debates over the inscription being in complete Arabic language but still it is said to be a very early form of the language, and the inscription was found on a basalt rock, which is alleged to have come from a tomb proving a certain connection between the Romans and Arabs dating back to the fourth century.
The holy book of the Muslims known as the Quran is written in the Arabic Language. It is one of the most memorized books on the planet. That is a reason through which Classic Arabic has been preserved over the last 1400 years.
The first known record of Egyptian language was found in a tomb that dates back to 2690 BC. Egyptian is said to have originated in 3300 B.C. It is an Afro-Asiatic language which was native to the people of Ancient Egypt and was spoken until the 17th century.
It was gradually replaced by modern Arabic and other local forms of this language. Today, it vanished completely as a written language and as well as a spoken language. It has been successfully translated over the years by many known linguists and many texts and scriptures have been understood giving vivid details about the ancient Egyptian culture as well.
8. Mycenaean Greek
Mycenaean Greek is the earliest form of the Greek language. It dates as far back as the 1600 BC. As a member of the Indo-European language family, it is was spoken in Southern Balkans and Modern Greece. Just like many other Greek tragedies, this language is officially extinct. It was deciphered in the 1950s.
As of today, the text mostly exists in inventories and lists and doesn’t have any form of literature written in it. Although not significant, but there are still some small existing examples of Mycenaean Greek. It is believed that the use of this language ended when the Mycenaean civilization fell. A point to note is that, Arcadocypriot Greek, another form of the Greek language, is very similar to the Mycenaean version.
Aramaic is a biblical languages which has been around for more than 3,000 years. It is said to have originated in 900 B.C. Just to give proof for how ancient this language is, it is said that it was spoken by Jesus and his disciples.
In today’s modern era Aramaic is an obsolete language and there isn’t a soul alive today who speaks this language. Or perhaps, some claim it is about to die. They say that there are few villages today that speak the same language but slowly and rapidly every form of this language is fading away with time and as of now out of 7 billion people, there are only 450,000 people today that speak this language.
Remember Latino Heat?
The oldest form of Latin is known as Old Latin can be traced back to 700 B.C. Latin was the common language in the Roman Empire and most parts of Southern Europe. Just like Sanskrit, it is recognized as a part of the Indo-European language family. In many parts of Europe many ancient documents and monuments, dating back to the earliest of centuries, are scribbled with ancient Latin.
Although gradually it faded away as a spoken language, and was replaced by languages like French, Italian and Spanish etc., yet it is still seen as a written language. It is not known how many people speak a form of Latin in today’s time, but there are many Latin enthusiasts even today. These people are keen on keeping lation one of the oldest languages in the world alive.
Just like its fellow language Tamil, Sanskrit is another ancient language which dates to around 100 AD. Sanskrit is also member of the Indo-European family it is spoken by Indians, Nepalese and people from neighboring areas of the subcontinent. As of today, it is spoken by only 14000+ people. The first known example of existence of ancient Sanskrit was found in the city of Ayodhya and also in other states like Gujrat. There are many variations of Sanskrit, and for about 2,000 years, it was the main language of several areas of Southeast Asia but was gradually replaced by Hindi and other local official languages.
Over to You
So tell me did the list of the oldest languages in the world surprise you? Number 1 and 2 surely did surprise me. Apart from this list there are many more languages that have their roots tracing back to the beginning of time. There are many other undiscovered languages with deep cultures and history embedded in them waiting to be unfolded.
Let’s see with time, how many of the oldest languages of the world can we discover?
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Kashmiri wedding just like any other wedding ceremony is full of fun & emotions. It is a blessed occasion where family, friends and food comes together. Kashmiri weddings are unique. They are enjoyable. They are memorable. Most importantly, kashmiri weddings are known for bringing about distant relatives and old friends together. It is a time when old grievances are forgiven and all malice kept aside.
A mix of traditional Indian, Persian, Arab and Pakistani ceremonies make Kashmir weddings a mixed experience. The biggest part of the kashmiri wedding ceremony is the wedding feast. With mystic festivities, colorful attires, folk songs and wazwan, here I am going to narrate to you what a kashmiri wedding is like.
A traditional Kashmiri wedding showcases different ceremonies and rituals taken from the Muslim as well as the sub-continental culture. Every ceremony that’s a part of the greater wedding blends seamlessly with the other ceremonies making it a magnificent experience.
Something is important to mention though, the Kashmiri culture is derived enormously from the Persian and the Central Asian mannerism. That’s because a large population of Kashmiris are migrants from the Central Asian belt. They came to Kashmir with the advent of Islam and brought with them various arts and crafts such as pashmina, paper mache, carpet weaving etc. That is when and why Kashmir flourished became a world renowned valley despite being seated deep among the Himalayas.
Coming back to the topic of the majestic kashmiri wedding, let me get started by talking about its ceremonies.
The Kashmiri Wedding Traditions
A Kashmiri wedding is not too different from any other Muslim wedding. The essential activities which deem a couple to be ‘husband and wife’ go by Muslim ethics. The couple should be of two separate genders, must have a judge or a contract writer in front of them. There should be a couple of witnesses present and importantly, the girl and boy must accept each other as their partner. Something important that occurs alongside is the payment of mahr or dowry.
The mehndi ceremony is the most exciting and energetic ceremony among all the ceremonies. It is filled with non-stop folk music, folk dance performances and folk singing. Believe me when I say that it is the most exciting thing, it really is.
People are at their best during this ceremony and the fun and excitement is all the rage. It is the same whether on the groom’s side or the bride’s side. This is the last day which a girl/boy spends with her/his first family before they are a part of an extended family and begin a new chapter in their life.
Some girls of the groom’s family such as the sisters, cousins, sisters-in-law and friends go to the bride’s place with henna/mehndi for the bride which is applied to her one by one by every girl, although now a days boys are also seen to be a part of this ceremony. The henna signifies the in-laws wishing good health, happiness and prosperity to the bride as she starts her new journey in life.
The guests are in turn given gifts packs containing items like silver jewelry, personal care products, sweets and dry fruits. This ceremony usually has a close knitted guest list and only involves close family and friends.
The Baraat – Groom Gets the Bride Home
This is the day where the actual marriage ceremony takes place and the girl leaves for her in-laws house. The Nikkah traditionally takes place in a Waqalatan Style where the ceremony first begins at the groom’s house. An Imam/Judge and some witnesses carry out the Nikkah ceremony. The groom is first asked about his consent in marrying the bride in a formal setting. Once the groom gives his consent, the delegation goes to the bride’s place to seek her consent as well.
Once an agreement is reached, all the details such as the mahr/dowry etc are registered on the Nikkah Nama/Marriage Contract which is then signed by the copule, the imam, the witnesses and the guarantors.
On the other hand in the Asalatan Style the girl and the boy are married in front of each other with a veil in front of them, this method is popular everywhere else in the Muslim world outside Kashmir.
After the nikah is done, a delegation from the groom’s side go to the bride’s place to bring her to her new home. The delegation is treated with traditional packets of dry fruits, wazwan, and some desserts. Actually, if you talk to anyone about a Kashmiri wedding, they will start speaking about the kashmiri wedding food. Kashmiri wedding traditions are full of food. Kashmiris just love their food.
All male family members and friends of the groom accompany him to bring his better half home. The arrival is welcomed with traditional songs, flower petals, flowers and beaded garlands, and in some cases, lots of fireworks.
Then the most emotional and heart breaking moment of a girl’s life comes when she has to bid farewell to some important relations and bring an end to an entire era of her life, but crying is not just limited to the bride. A dent in the pocket in the name of Kadal Taar/ Passing a Bridge bring tears in the eyes of the groom. It is a small mischievous tradition where the groom’s friends stop the procession on a bridge and ask for money in exchange for letting the couple go home.
The bride after reaching her new home home is given a great welcome. Her mother in law unveils her (Mohor Tulin) in front of the family and gives her a gift. The veil is usually made up of pashmina, and the attire of the bride is a perfect kashmiri wedding dress. So in the end lots of flowers, singing, food, emotions, pockets dents bring an end to this day.
Saying this, there are many people who do not wish to celebrate their weddings in a fancy big way. They keep it rather austere. The money saved is given to an orphanage or is used in some other humane concern. This is done as the Prophet Muhammad had said, “The best Nikah is with the least expenses”.
The Walima – The Wedding Feast
This ceremony is equivalent to the reception party held in other wedding cultures. It a huge reception party hosted by the groom’s family where everybody related to or friends with the groom’s family is invited. Held during the day, after some light refreshments such as Kahwa, traditional wazwan is served followed by a delicious dessert.
Some Other Ceremonies of a Kashmiri Wedding Include
Malmaenz – Small get together involving only close friends and family.
Aab Sherun/Mas Sherun – Aab Sherun is done by the bride where her hair is braided and decorated whereas Mas Sherun is done by the Groom where he is groomed for the baraat ceremony.
Phirsaal – Party for the Groom’s family some days after the walima hosted by the bride’s family.
Satium Doh – Party at the groom’s family 7 days after the marriage and the first time the bride goes to back to her parent’s home to live for a day or two.
The Kashmiri Wedding Food
The food includes a full course meal with 36 mouth-watering and delicious food items ready to leave you wanting for more. Even after eating the whole thing, the impact remains in your mouth for a long time and the taste remains forever. People living in Kashmir are avid meat-eaters and the Wazwaan is reason for that, the flavor of every item on the Trami (platter) is induced in our veins and the Kashmiri people would eat nothing else for the rest of our lives if given the choice.
The Trami is served with heavenly dishes like seekh kabab, chicken, tabak-maaz, and shami-kabab etc. and after every 5 mins the waza (server) brings in rest of the items starting from rista (red meatballs), rogan josh, martsewangun korma, paneer, some veggies like spinach and mushrooms, more meaty flavors like daniwal korma, doodh ras and many more finally ending with the all-time favorite yakhni and goshtaba (white meatball).
The wazwan is served throughout the wedding during every ceremony and on a funnier note the success or a failure of a party is usually judged by the guests by how good the wazwan was.
The Music – Folk Songs Galore
Music is another important aspect of the wedding without which the wedding cannot be a success. There is music for every occasion with every range and tempo, there are nasheeds, wanwun and dance songs and even mashups of Hindi and Kashmiri mix songs.
The mehndi ceremony showcases the most variety of music in the whole wedding, it starts with the mellow wanwun (slow songs) and escalates into the funky gyawun (popular wedding songs), popular Kashmir singers like Reshma Rashid and Frankie Kashmiri specialize in this genre and are joined with the ladies of the house with dumbeks, tambourines and matkas into making the night into a musical gem.
The baraat is received by the slow and rhythmic wanwun and even leaves being serenaded by the same, the music sets the emotional mood and makes the moment more sensitive and passionate.
Kashmiri Wedding Dress
The traditional Kashmiri wedding dress has inspiration from the Central Asian couture when it comes to bridal wear and ethnic pathan style designing for the groom. Conventionally seen in a red suit, but more recently the brides have experimented a lot with colors and gone for all kinds of shades like pink, green, purple, blue and even golden.
Bride before the Mohur Tulin Ceremony
The Kashmiri wedding jewelry and make up in the past used to be pretty but heavy making the bride look nothing less like the queen she deserves to be. However, in recent times, brides have broken the traditional wedding look and gone for make-up suiting their age and face and made subtle jewelry pieces that look in accordance with the dress, the makeup and the ceremonies and not look like she is wearing daddy’s bank balance.
The Kashmiri wedding dress for the groom has also evolved over the years, the traditional white sherwani with a white turban has been jazzed up with a lot more colors and designs with men becoming more exposed to the trending fashions and suitable styles and hence experimenting much more with the attire. Instead of simply blending in with the traditional style, Grooms today take the job much more seriously and make sure they fit into the role and play the part convincingly. The styling and the grooming starts much earlier in the gym and the salons and ends with the perfect picture in the album.
The Set up of a Kashmiri Wedding
The wedding is mostly outdoors with tents and gazebos built for guests to sit in and eat as the Trami system requires for people to be seated on the floor. The gazebos are usually made in case there are any buffet arrangements. The tent has a small beautifully decorated stage for the bride and the groom to sit in during functions and has all the arrangement required to go in accordance with the weather.
Over to You
A Kashmiri wedding is much more than described above. If I wrote about all of it then I guess this whole website will be dedicated to that. It’s a celebrations of not just of the union of two souls but the union of two families and two generations who promise each other to have and to hold from this day forward, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse till death does them apart, and in the process people are dancing, eating, gossiping, fighting, mending lost bonds but more importantly they are happy and united. And this is all you need to know about a traditional Kashmiri wedding in my estimation.
Are you looking to know more about Kashmir Tourism? Wonderful! You are at the perfect place.
I will deal with everything that you need to know in order to make you next vacations in Kashmir, exciting and fulfilling.
Kashmir, a valley, a scenic marvel, a sacred land with a sinful history, and yet considered as a heaven on the earth. Kashmir is known for its tourism, its pashmina, its carpets, its paper mache and the chaos.
It was not just mere chance due to which Amir Khusrau wrote his famous couplet about Kashmir in the Persian language;
Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast.
(Translation: If there is a paradise on earth, It is this, it is this, it is this)
The great poet Khusrau had known the Kashmir valley intimately well before writing this. It is not only him, but everyone who lands in Kashmir has an ultimate level of praise for this stunning valley.
Kashmir is filled with a montage of several different cultures and religions which make it the epic grandeur that it is today. But interestingly, the most exuberating characteristic of this land is the majestic treasure of the beauty it holds in every nook and corner.
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Like other tourist destinations, Kashmir doesn’t just have a couple of places that are stunning, but it is a destination where every place visited has a story to tell, and has a charm of its own. Whether it be the snow clad mountains, the dense forests, the marvelous lakes, the enigmatic houseboats, the massive glaciers, Kashmir tourism has always been a brand of a different league.
Honestly, what is promoted by the Kashmir tourism department is just the tip of an iceberg. Much of the beauty of the famous or maybe the infamous valley is reserved for the locals to cherish. Generally when you search for Kashmir tourism packages on the internet, you get a list of 5-6 places to visit and possibly get in touch to a tour operator. But those are not the places that we are going to speak about.
We are here to unveil the unknown mysteries about Kashmir tourism, so the next time you visit Kashmir, you are ready to roll and unwind.
I certainly believe, the the small and far away districts hold some of the best sceneries, ironically they are not present in the ‘Kashmir tourism packages’. Having traveled my valley far and wide, I want to share about every nook and corner of it, from the narrow lanes of down town, to the food streets of khayam.
But, in this post, I will be easy on the traveler. I am going to talk about the major places of the valley, places that you must visit in order to explore real Kashmir tourism. Honestly, if you visit Kashmir this well, you will be bragging about it.
Without further ado, let’s get talking about the hidden mysteries of Kashmir tourism.
Unveiling Kashmir Tourism, 21 Must Visit Places for a Tourist
Sopore – The Mini London
Sopore is called ‘mini London’ by locals because of the massive wealth and all the business transactions that take place here. Filled with rich lush green apple orchids, Sopore is truly a sight for sore eyes. The infrastructure is still traditional with old customs like Tonga Rides (horse carts) still prevalent. The taste of the food is as exotic as the accent of the people.
Bandipora is amazing, that’s what I would say. It has lush green sceneries all around. It appears green as far as eyes can see. The crystal clear waters of the famous wular give you a reflection of your soul. The town of bandipora should be on every tourist’s list.
Uri – The Electricity Chamber
Uri on end shares its border with Muzzafarabad, making it the highlight of the place. Uri is the home to a massive Hydro Power Project. That makes it simple, its a land full of fast moving streams. Streams there are in plentiful. It is one of the places that the Kashmir tourism department must cater to and showcase to the world.
I am pushed to say this, if you are really looking to come to Kashmir, a google search on ‘kashmir tourism packages’ is not the solution. You need to come over and get lost in the valley, like a real lost traveler.
Handwara – The Oft-Changing
Handwara is a small district in Kashmir with lovely people, amazing food and spots. Come here and forget that the rest of the world even exists.
If you are craving for some solace and ‘me-time’, Handwara is the place for you.
Gulmarg – The Meadow of Paradise
This place doesn’t even need any introduction, it has been advertised and marketed automatically in every movie since the 1960s. In a way, its Bollywood’s go to destination. A small Kashmir within Kashmir would be the perfect definition of this place. Whenever someone thinks of picnics, Gulmarg is the first name that pops in the mind. With the thrilling Gondola rides along with the ones on a horse back, be sure to be on top of the world.
Gulmarg is a destination for adventure sports lovers. Known for its skiing and ice hockey competitions, tourists from all over the globe throng it during winters. It is probably the only place that the Kashmir tourism industry has been able to market properly.
Preng – The Mystery
Preng is a small village located in the Kangan Block in the Ganderbal District. A very popular picnic spot in Kashmir, it is known for the beautiful gardens and the never ending landscapes.
Pahalgham – The Betab Land
The place that has been giving Gulmarg tough competition for the top spot of the best tourist destination in Kashmir. Gulmarg and Pahalgham are like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of tourist destinations. You can never really decide which one is better.
Pahalgham has abundant water bodies and the famous Betaab and Aaru Valleys. Just naming these two is enough to make someone lose interest in city life. A person can easily picture himself giving up all the temptations of the world just to enjoy the mountains and water of Pahalgham.
Shopian – The Apple Town
You might know that Kashmir is not just known for its tourism, but for its apples as well. And Shopian is the apple capital of the valley. Shopian gives tough competition to Sopore in producing mouth-watering juicy apples but the apples are not the only thing to look forward to in Shopian.
Shopian is an enigmatic place to say the least. It should have been on Kashmir Tourism map, but somehow it has missed the attention.
A very popular district of Kashmir known for many things like the lifestyle of the rich people living there, the local accent, the confectionery and also for sharing a border with Pakistan. Mughal Emperors like Akbar and Jahangir used to stay in Baramula during their visits.
Aharbal – The Waterfall Place
Aharbal is known to have the Niagara Falls of Kashmir. It is a beautiful captivating waterfall which has an abundant amount of water encompassing a large area. The trek leading up to the waterfall is worth the effort. Apart from that the exciting trek to the Kungwatan meadows, you will be led to the mesmerizing Konsernag Lake.
Dhara – The Home of Gujurs
Home of the Gujjar and Pathan population of the valley and an ideal place for trekkers, Theed and Dhara are best places to visit in Kashmir if adventure, treks, love for heights and unlimited skies run in your veins.
Gujurs are the ethnic Kashmiri nomadic community which is always on the move and mainly work as shepherds. Missing it on the Kashmiri tourism map is real bad, especially since it is just 20 kms away from the capital, Srinagar.
Gurez – The Paradise Valley
Located among the high Himalayan ranges, Gurez valley is nothing less than a piece of paradise created by the Almighty. Rich in a diverse range of landscapes and animals like the Himalayan Brown Bear and the Snow Leopard, Gurez has just so much to offer to everyone who visits.
Its main tourist attractions are the culture itself, the Habba Khatoon Mountain named after the famous poetess of Kashmir, and the ethereal Kishanganga River.
Yusmarg – Did Jesus Really Know This?
In Kashmiri Yusmarg means “Meadow of Jesus”. This is because it was believed by some people that Jesus had come to Kashmir for a brief period.
Yusmarg is covered with snow kissed mountains and large amount of meadows. Located in the Pir Panjal range, the famous peaks of Yusmarg are the Sunset Peak and the Tatakooti Peak. After a small trek the road leads to a frozen lake in the Sang-e-Safed valley which is known to be covered in snow even in the summer.
Doodhpathri – The Next Big Thing!
If Gulmarg and Pahalgham were a human couple, then Doodhpathri would definitely be their child. Having majestic sceneries of Gulmarg and noise cancelling, soul touching water falls of Pahalgham, Doodhpathri is an upcoming tourist destination giving full competition to big guns like Gulmarg and Pahalgham.
Sonamarg – Ah My Favorite!
Did the title recommend it enough?
When you are excited to go to Ladakh and want the journey to begin a little sooner, Sonamarg enhances the experience for you by showing you the beauty it holds and the treasure of adventure you will encompass when you hit the Zojila road from Sonamarg.
Kupwara – The Captivator
Known now a days for all the wrong reasons Kupwara still tries to regain its status and change its popularity for a better reason. Like I mentioned before every corner of Kashmir is a tourist destination even if it is not as popular as others. Kupwara is the best example of this statement. Not only the District but also the people of Kupwara are known for their captivating beauty.
Leh/Ladakh/Kargil – The Marijuana :p
No explanation needed, the names itself mean Eat, Pray, Love. “One will teach you love, one will teach you, patience and the other will teach you, pain.”
For those who haven’t visited these places yet this sums the places up in the best possible way.
Kokernag/Verinag/ Achabal – Three Musketeers
Situated in Anantnag, Kokernag, Achbal and Verinag are three mystical Mughal gardens which are the living examples of Mughal architecture at its best. Designed in the typical grand Mughal styled garden with its main attraction being the “naag” or the spring. The geometrical designs of the colourful gardens with running water on one side and rainbow like different variety of flowers on the other side is a treat to watch.
Kishtwar – The Small Valley
Kishtwar is a little far from a conventional tourist destinations. It is mostly the kind of place enjoyed by the bizarre travelers who seek much more than just a selfie. It is not just a place to go to for ticking it off the bucket list.
Another masterpiece missed by the Kashmir tourism department. People who visit induce themselves with the aura of the bewitching landscapes here with its mighty proud hills, lush green forests riddled with pine and deodar forests.
The national park in Kishtwar is a dream come true place for all the wildlife and nature enthusiasts who want to become one with nature.
Pulwama – The Crops Town
The infamous “Rice Bowl of Kashmir”. Pulwama is a small marvel in Kashmir and is an ideal place to see Kashmir’s beauty glow at its best. This place has a massive range of tourist destinations too eager to be explored especially if you are a first time traveler. The weather, pleasant odour saffron fields, and malleable citizens. One cannot have enough of the saffron fields and the rich culture in Pulwama.
I am sure that google searches like ‘Kashmir tourism photos’ and ‘Kashmir tourism packages’ won’t be an option that you’ll consider from now on.
Come here and visit us.
Get lost to be discovered.
Anantnag – The History Mystery Town
Call it Anantnag or Islamabad, this land has been the home of every soul living there no matter what their religion. It consists of Masjid Baba Dawood Khaki, the Martand Temple, the Ashmuqam Shrine. History hasn’t really captured what all this spiritual place entailed.
There are many more honorable mentions which I would like to have in this list. They are places such as Drang, Dras, Poonch, Tangmarg, Manasbal, and even the city of Srinagar. Srinagar itself has some enchanting places like the Zabarwan Range, Badamwari, Tulip Garden, Hari Parbat, Tral and the Mughal Gardens to quench your adventurous thirst.
Are you excited to come over to Kashmir? Let me know in the comments below. My team will try to be your online guide 🙂
Kalonji, or Nigella seeds, are one of the most beneficial seeds that mother nature has given us. They just don’t add value to the food, but they have tremendous benefits for the human body.
Whether you consume it in solid form like seeds, or the in a liquid form as an oil. Kalonji has many good effects on the body. But the irony is that many people do not know the health benefits of Kalonji. By the way, kalonji is also called black cumin in some cultures.
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Kalonji or black cumin is a spice that is not just meant for adding flavor to your dishes, but is one that can have a heavy positive effect on your health. Particularly Muslims are very fond of this spice. It is because, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has highly praised Kalonji.
Kalonji or Black Cumin Seeds
The Prophet exactly said that, there is healing for every disease except for death. That’s the obvious reason that kalonji or black cumin seeds have seen great popularity in the Muslim medications. You will find a mention to it in details in the book, ‘The Prophetic Medicine’ by a medieval scholar Ibn al-Qayyim.
Digressing, Muslims love some foods and believe them to have serious health benefits. Honey, olive, fig, milk, talbina etc. Similarly, Hindu traditions show special affinity to shilajit.
Anyways, coming back to the topic of discussion, here are the following 11 unknown health benefits of Kaloji. I have called them unknown because most people are ignorant of this spice and thus are unaware of its benefits.
Kalonji has been proven to be very useful in controlling blood pressure/hypertension, drinking half a teaspoon of kalonji oil mixed with warm water followed by an effective diet regime has proven to keep blood pressure under control.
Benefit #2 – Weight Loss
Kalonji helps in speeding up your body metabolism and promotes a faster weight loss. When added to your everyday routine with daily exercises and a healthy diet kalonji helps lose weight in rapidly and constantly. Half a teaspoon of kalonji oil with two teaspoons of honey and in lukewarm water is an effective weight loss recipe
So, if you are serious about weight loss, this is nigella seeds are your go to super food. Nigella seeds is the English name of Kalonji Seeds.
Benefit #3 – Preventing Hair Loss
Hair loss is a problem which earlier effected people, mostly men. But now it has spread to an epidemic degree. Hair loss has spread its roots effecting both men and women of all ages. There are many remedies available for battling hair loss and one of the most effective solutions is the oil of black cumin seeds known for preventing hair loss and stimulating hair growth.
So from the benefits of Kalonji oil is that it provides hair with moistness that it needs. This helps in the nourishment of hair tissues and reinforces strength to the roots of your hair. In this case, the benefits of kalonji oil supersede those of kalonji seeds.
Benefit #4 – Boosts Memory
Kalonji is known to treat weak memory. Boosting of memory is from the benefits of kalonji that are rarely known. Kalonji has properties that can boost memory power, concentration, and alertness. Mixing kalonji seeds with mint leaves or honey in water and also adding half a teaspoon of kalonji oil to it works like a charm. This mixture helps in regaining memory and makes it sharper. From other benefits of kalonji are that it increases concentration and prevents forgetfulness. It is effective on all age groups, but is of particular benefit to people of an old age.
Benefits of Kalonji
Benefit # 5 – Battles Asthma
Another disease that has crept its way into the lives of people of all ages is Asthma. Asthma is growing with the increasing levels of pollution. It has started reaching dangerous levels in the last 5 years. Asthma has started targeting large populations and severely affecting both young and old people. There are many home-made therapies that battle asthma and kalonji is one of the most powerful remedies. Drinking a mixture of Kalonji oil and honey in some warm water brings instant and prolonged relief from asthma.
Benefit #6 – Antioxidant Nature
Kalonji seeds and kalonji oils act as antioxidant that prevents oxidative damage to cells and protects the human body against several types of chronic conditions, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It consists of composites like thymoquinone, carvacrol, t-anethole and 4-terpineol which have powerful antioxidant properties.
Benefit #7 – Improves Liver Health
Liver ailments can be treated properly with proper medical care and under professional guidance and kalonji can be used as a supplement to fasten the recovery. Kalonji oil when used with the approval of a doctor reduce the toxicity of the chemicals in your body. Kalonji oil has a strong tendency to protect the body against liver and kidney damage.
The antioxidants present in kalonji reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. That’s the reason why both kalonji seeds and kalonji oil can be used every day as a supplement to fight liver damage.
Benefit #8 – Lowers Cholesterol
High amounts of cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease, as is known widely. But what is not known is that, a natural remedy can help you against cholesterol. Kalonji has been proven to be effective in lowering cholesterol. Kalonji decreases the bad LDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.
Although in this case, kalonji oil is much more effective than kalonji seeds but seeds can also increase the levels of good HDL cholesterol much more effectively. Some experiments suggest that taking 2 grams of kalonji daily for 12 weeks reduces both total LDL cholesterol and also increases the good and total HDL cholesterol.
Benefit #9 – Fights Cancer
Like already mentioned, kalonji has antioxidant properties. That help in fighting many chronic ailments. The most dangerous among them is cancer. Studies have revealed that kalonji has some characteristics which can potentially be used as an anti-cancer weapon.
This is because kalonji consists a compound called thymoquinone which is said to fight and kill harmful cells causing blood cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and skin cancer.
Benefit #10 – Normalizes Blood Sugar
Kalonji helps in keeping the blood sugar normalized. It also prevents dangerous adverse side effects of diabetes like increased thirst, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, nerve damage, vision changes and slow wound healing by improving levels of fasting, average blood sugar and insulin resistance.
Benefit #11 – Eases Joint Pain
Lastly, since ancient times kalonji seeds have been used for treating multiple ailments. The oldest use of these seeds has been to ease the pain in the joints. When kalonji seeds are mixed with essential oils like mustard oil etc, and applied all over the joints, the mixture is effective in reducing pain, inflammation, and stiffness. This helps in making the joints stronger.
Kalonji is used as a natural supplement to boost the body’s immune system and help fight diseases. That’s what kalonji should be used for. Its benefits go hand in hand with the actual medical procedures and should not be mistaken as a replacement for a medicine. When taken alongside a medicine or other medical treatments it also enhances the benefits of the treatment and provides quicker recovery.
Shilajit has been used as medicine both by Ayurvedic and Unani (Greek) treatment methods. Generally, both these treatment practices have suggested that shilajit has multiple uses and can cure various ailments. And the use of shilajit as medicine has historically been giving satisfactory results.
Shilajit is believed to be a natural energy booster and its consumption been seen as completely harmless.
In the present scenario, the amount of diseases we witness is worrisome. Undoubtedly, we have a huge well-developed health care sector but relying upon Allopathy is not always the right option.
Often times research and experience have found allopathic medicines to be ineffective and hazardous. This is because of the composition of these medicines. These medicines are composed of synthetic chemicals which are tested under specific temperature and environmental conditions. This leaves loopholes which may at times cause negative effects.
In such a situation, many people resort to more natural medications. Remedies like Shilajit that almost have no side effects can prove to be more effective and may even help in eliminating the root cause of diseases.
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Basically, shilajit is a tar-like substance obtained from the Himalayan mountains. It is formed as a result of decomposition of plants.
Hold on, the decay is not an ordinary one, rather it is a decay has been going on for centuries.
For over centuries, due to slow decomposition of plants, the product derived is rich in Fulvic acid. Fulvic acid and Humic acid both are present in Shilajit. These substances are the components of Humus as well. Humus has a tendency to retain nutrients, water, oxygen for plant growth and probably this is the reason why the substance derived from it is considered to be one which rejuvenates one’s health.
Why do People Use Shilajit?
People, especially in the Indian Subcontinent, have an affinity to natural remedies. They believe if these remedies were good for their forefathers, they must be good for the current day as well. And often this analogy is quite true as well.
Shilajit is not another common Ayurvedic remedy. It is a trusted medication. It’s usage since ages is vibrant proof of its effectiveness. The difference lies only in the form of consumption which gradually changed with time.
The Benefits of Shilajit
Shilajit plays a vital role in either suppressing or eradicating different ailment from their roots. Since ages, it has played an important role in:
Giving an Energy Boost
Strengthening the Memory
Absorption of Nutrients from Food
Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels
I found a great infographic listing other important benefits of shilajit.
Shilajit Uses – A Thorough Account
There are a number of ailments related to different organ systems, hormones, ageing etc, against which the shilajit has shown remedial effects. Some commonly known diseases which shilajit can cure or at the least restrict are :
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. This disease affects cognitive functioning like memory, decision making and memory. The power of thinking and recognizing is also affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Although it starts at a slow pace, gradually there is a strong detrimental effect on the human body. So far there is no ascertained reason, but it is believed to be caused by the accumulation of some proteins inside and between the neurons which form plaques and tangles.
Fulvic acid which is an important component of Shilajit helps to prevent the proteins from getting accumulated.
Altitude sickness is basically related to change in air pressure and level of oxygen as we move to higher altitudes. When people are not used to such conditions and they encounter such a phenomenon, they find it difficult to breathe. Shilajit can be used in this case.
Apart from this, use Shilajit when you encounter;
Loss of energy
Besides altitude, this sickness may sometimes cause fatal diseases of the brain and the lungs. Shilajit which is rich in minerals and fulvic and humic acid helps in enhancing one’s immune system. Since shilajit is an energy booster as well, it lets the fatigue go off.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a kind of illness wherein a patient feels extreme fatigue even after continuous rest. According to research women are more prone to this type of illness than men. CFS is very difficult to diagnose because no tests are conducted for its diagnosis. The duration of the illness also cannot be ascertained. It may last for 6 months to 1 year, or at time be a life long affliction.
Many patients have gotten rid of this disease through the conscious use of shilajit. Shilajit is considered as an energy booster because of it’s constitutional properties. It can help to improve the metabolism of the body, reduce fatigue and increase energy levels naturally.
Benefits of Shilajit for Some Known Health Issues
Heart diseases also known as Cardiovascular diseases is an umbrella term that covers a large number of diseases like Angina, Heart failure, Stroke etc. Some of the heart-related diseases are Congenital or some are induced because of stress. It is a form of a tension which causes high blood pressure and in turn affects the heart. Many of the heart diseases are also related to obesity, lifestyle and daily routines.
Consuming Shilajit helps to keep the heart in good condition. If one has some cardiac ailments, they are likely to be controlled. Shilajit also keeps control of the blood pressure because of its constitutional properties.
When the count of red blood cells (RBC’s) or Haemoglobin in the blood is very less than the required count, it is termed as Anaemia. Haemoglobin is the carrier of oxygen in the bloodstream. If the level of red blood cells in the blood is insufficient, then the required amount of oxygen cannot be circulated within the body.
Anaemia as such is caused by a deficiency of iron in the body. Because of the presence of a high concentration of Fulvic acid and Humic acid, Shilajit helps in maintaining the iron levels in the body. Hence, Shilajit can nip the disease in its bud.
Ageing is a natural and irreversible process of getting older gradually. As people begin to age, they get to have many problems like weakness, forgetfulness besides health issues. With age, our body organs also begin to age leading to flawed functionality. Ageing enhances the chances of developing many diseases like cardiac ailments, dementia, diabetes, blood pressure, obesity etc.
Fulvic acid present in shilajit acts is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. As such, it may help in the reduction of free radicals and cellular damage in the body which may slow down ageing.
When an excessive amount of fat gets accumulated within our body, such condition is termed as obesity. The fat accumulation can be because of overeating or consuming foods rich in sugar, carbohydrates, and proteins. Limited or no physical exercise to burn off the fats are also an important cause in case of obesity.
Many other health issues are interrelated to it such as unstable BP, high cholesterol level, high blood sugar, many cardiac issues etc. Obese people usually get tired in less time and therefore show less interest in the workout also. Shilajit consumption boosts up the genes which overall effects the skeletal muscles to get adapted to fitness and gain more strength.
Shilajit Benefits For Men
Traditionally Shilajit has been believed to have some great health benefits for men. Being rich in minerals, energy radiants and antioxidants, it plays a vital role in the well-being of men.
It helps in maintaining the testosterone level which is a male hormone. Low level of this hormone often leads to hair fall, mood swings, less interest in intercourse, fatigue and insomnia.
This remedy also plays a pivotal role in regaining fertility and potency in men. Infertility refers to the inability to conceive a baby. There can be a number of causes associated but in the case of men, the most common one is low sperm count or sperm motility.
Shilajit Benefits for Men
Other Uses of Shilajit
The combination of a variety of minerals, humic and fulvic acids, amino acids, plant-based antioxidants all formed by the decomposition of plants for ages together distinguishes Shilajit from any other supplement.
Shilajit has a perfect integration of uncontaminated essential nutrients which is harmless to consume, thus making it one among the best natural supplements. Shilajit’s uses include:
Healing up wounds, burns and bruises
Making our bones stronger
Remedial effects on joint dysfunctioning
Maintaining blood circulation
Boosting up energy even after a workout
Reducing physical weakness
Building up one’s immune system
Removing heavy metals and other toxins from the body.
Over to You
Because of the presence of antioxidants in Shilajit, it has humungous health benefits. And the good part is that, since its price is pretty low, you can always test it for a few months to sense its benefits. Being a natural agent, you can stay relaxed about the side effects. There aren’t any.
Kashmiri Wazwan, the 36-course meal wonder that’s responsible for the peeping bellies of Kashmiris, and the answer to the oft-repeated question, ‘Why do Kashmiris love mutton so much?’
Yes, for all these Kashmiri Wazwan is guilty as charged!
Among other attraction of Kashmir such as beauty, the landscape, the kangri, pashmina, paper mache, the kahwa and the pheran, Kashmiri Wazwan is a world-renowned cuisine.
It is one of the most loved and cherished offering of the valley. Kashmiri Wazwan has mesmerized everyone who has ever tasted it. It is prepared and served by a team of professionals called waza in large copper pots, commonly called a deygh. Needless to say that it is prepared with a lot of hard work, skill, precision and lastly immense love.
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We Kashmiris are obsessed with our culture, we just love it. And we love our food. Why shouldn’t we? Such tasty food is seldom found in any other culture.
The History of Kashmiri Wazwan
Kashmiris are predominantly non-vegetarians. The special banquet meal that all of us cherish is the Kashmiri Wazwan. It is prepared on special occasions like marriage ceremonies and even on professional and business events.
Predominantly prepared with Mutton, you might find chicken and fish along with a multitude of vegetables and dry fruits as key ingredients. Some accounts suggest that Wazwan came to Kashmir in the 14th Century when a Mongol invaded India.
Some historians say that this Mongol invader was Taimur. He was instrumental in making some skilled professionals like artisans, carpet weavers, pashmina experts and cooks migrate from Samarkand to Kashmir. This is why the culture of Kashmir resembles that of Kashmir to a great degree.
The main reason for the popularity of Kashmiri Wazwan in the valley was due to the influence of Persian and Central Asian immigrants to Kashmir. Even today a large portion of the population of Kashmir draws its roots back to Central Asia.
Map of Silk Route
The Preparation of Kashmiri Wazwan
The word wazwan, although generally used as a name for the traditional Kashmiri 36-course cuisine, is actually a mixture of two separate words. Waz (pronounced as waze’) meaning ‘cook/chef’ and wan meaning ‘shop’. A team of Wazas comprises of a head chef, called the Wouste Waze along with a number of junior chefs.
The main ingredient of Kashmiri Wazwan is freshly-slaughtered lamb meat. Remember, it needs to be freshly slaughtered for the Wazwan to taste right. In many cases, you can’t just cook some dishes of Kashmiri Wazwan without the mutton being fresh.
If the people who are to be served are more in number like at weddings and similar occasion, Wazas start preparing the dishes a day before. Kashmiris cook Wazwan all night and spend their day preparing and eating Wazwan.
Preparation of Kashmiri Wazwan
All the spices used in preparing the Wazwan are processed at home by the Waza himself. Wazas are very specific about the brands of creme, yoghurt, ghee, butter, oil and rice they would use. They argue that in order to get the perfect taste of wazwan, the ingredients need to be extremely precise.
The mutton obtained is grouped on the basis of its origin. Different parts of the body of the animal taste different and each has to be differently cooked in wazwan. So, the waza groups the mutton and starts some initial preparations.
Some of the mutton is minced on a stone with the help of a wooden hammer while another lot is minced with a sharp knife on a wooden table. Once the mutton is prepared at a basic level, the wazas then go on to process it further.
The Seven Important Dishes of Kashmiri Wazwan
Although Kashmiri Wazwan comprises of 36, there are seven main dishes that stand out. Whenever you would order Kashmiri Wazwan in a restaurant, or even in a 5-star hotel, the serving will be based on these 7 dishes only.
These majestic 7 dishes are:
Manner of Serving the Kashmiri Wazwan
Kashmiri Wazwan is cooked to precision. It is not like any other food in the Indian Subcontinent which is deeply fried. Rather, Kashmiri Wazwan is cooked at a low flame for hours together. The general preference is that it is cooked in an open area and not in a kitchen, and personally, I find the taste of the Wazwan cooked in an open area to be very different from that is cooked in a restaurant’s kitchen.
Below are some short descriptions of the main dishes that are pre-placed on a Kashmiri Wazwan platter:
Seekh Kabab – A long tasty kababs roasted to perfection.
Tabak Maaz – Crispy ribs of lamb simmered in yoghurt till tender, then deep fried turning the fat hard and crunchy.
Meethi – Small servings of finely chopped mutton bits mixed with a spice containing dried methi leaves.
Daen – Medium shaped very soft full piece of mutton which is said to have been eaten by the Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) himself.
Chicken – There are two types of chicken dishes on the platter (trami). The much loved spicy red chicken made with the red sauce and the sweet and tender white chicken made in the white sauce.
We enjoy eating our food while sitting down on the floor in groups. You would need to sit in groups of 4 to enjoy this delicacy. Before eating there is a ritual of the washing of hands in a mobile basin called the Tash-t-naer, which is taken around by attendants, this ritual is called Dast-Paak.
Once, the platter full of these delights comes to you, you may get started with eating. Then one by one the waza brings in more dishes that are a cure for the growling tummy and a treat for the tasting buds.
These dishes are:
Rista – A juicy meatball prepared in a paprika-saffron-fennel spice gravy coloured with dyer’s alkanet.
Rogan Josh – Tender lamb cooked deeply in spices, it is the patriarch of the meaty items.
Daniwal Korma – Exquisite lamb roasted with yoghurt, spices and onion puree, topped with coriander.
Mushroom – It is one of the vegetarian items of the trami cooked with onions and special Kashmiri spices.
Waze’ Palak and Baby Ristas – Spicy spinach cooked with small meatballs.
Martsewagun Korma – A spicy and hot version of the Rogan Josh.
Paneer – Soft pieces of juicy cheese squares cooked with a spicy tomato gravy.
Al – Strips or pieces of sweet pumpkins cooked to balance the spicy and sourness of the meaty items.
Lahab Kabab – Flattened sour and spicy mutton kababs cooked in yoghurt.
Quince Apple–Another vegetarian delight cooked to add some sour flavour to the platter, part of an elaborate variety.
Doudh Ras – A big lamb chunk cooked with a fennel-based spice mixture, cardamom and partially evaporated milk.
Yakhnee – The most loved and savoured gravy of the trami made of cooked milk with a perfect blend of salt and mint giving a perfect end to an exotic meal.
Goshtaba – A big meatball cooked in a spicy yoghurt gravy mixed with the yakhnee.
These are the main dishes that are served usually with the Kashmiri Wazwan, but there are some items that are a part of the grandeur but not served as frequently as the above-mentioned food items. These items are the shami kabab, nadru, dum aloo, tsok wangun (sour brinjal) etc. They are served on request. Sometimes the trami is covered with a rumali roti to enjoy the vegetarian delights.
Over to You
The old saying “the way to someone’s heart is through his stomach” is best suited when the food in question is the ever tempting Kashmiri Wazwan. The wholesome meal fills the stomach and the heart with lots of joy. Its taste remains in the mouth hours after relishing it and the impact remains forever.
This is the story of Kashmiri Wazwan. I am excited to know if you have ever tasted the Kashmiri Wazwan or if you would like to taste it in the future? Catch you in the comments below : )
Biryani is love. That’s what everyone who tastes a Biryani has to say. But do you know something interesting? This Mughlai delicacy is not uniform and there are numerous types of biryanis that taste completely different.
If you’re travelling to India, or are looking to order a biryani from an Indo/Pak restaurant near you, then you are at the right place. We will give you a complete insight into the types of biryanis that you should taste.
And yes, if you are an avid biryani muncher, you might not have given thought to the various types you biryanis you have been eating. Probably that’s why you found the tastes very different.
Let’s delve deep into the different types of biryani, their ingredients and the peculiarities of each type of biryani. So, the next time you order a biryani, you would know exactly what you need.
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Biryani is a dish made up of rice, dried fruits, spices, beef, lamb or chicken and some other tasting ingredients. A perfect blend of spices and ingredients to use might be somewhat a form of rocket science but biryani chefs have got it covered somehow. Biryani is an extremely popular dish in South Asia and is a must taste delicacy for a visitor to this region.
Let’s unveil the 11 most popular types of biryanis that will satisfy the foodie in you.
1. The Grand Mughlai Biyani – The Most Widely Consumed Type of Biryani in India
It was the type of biryani which was traditionally cooked in the kitchen of the Nawabs. Or say the rulers of various territories in the Mughal era. Mughlai biryani was more popular from 1426 to 1857 CE.
Due to a mass scale spread of poverty after the Revolt of 1857, which poets like Mirza Ghalib have spoken about, this type of biryani became a less common form. That was primarily due to the decrease in the buying power of people and the high cost of ingredients used in the preparation of Mughlai biryani.
Mughlai biryani uses a ton of dry fruits especially cashew nuts and almonds. A very important ingredient of this type of biryani is the world’s costliest spice, saffron. You can’t just prepare Mughlai biryani without saffron. Mughlai biryani was traditionally made from chicken, but some alterations of this delicacy have also used mutton as the primary ingredient.
High-quality yoghurt and premium quality of basmati rice are other core preparatory ingredients.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
It is typically found everywhere in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Any restaurant that serves Mughlai food, has a Mughlai biryani on its menu.
2. Biryani of the Nawab’s – The Majesty Hyderabadi Biryani
Common knowledge suggests that biryani is Hyderabadi. But this is just another type of biryani which was cooked in the kitchen of the Nawabs. That’s why some people also like to call it Nawabi biryani.
Prepared from lamb or a goats meat, this type of biryani is very complex to cook. It is cooked in an earthen pot known as a haandi. Rice and the mutton of the Hyderabadi biryani come out to be soft and puffy.
The puffiness is majorly due to the steam that is created in the airtight earthen pot in which this biryani type is cooked. Among the major ingredients are mutton, lemon, saffron, solid spices and garnishing.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
It is a bit rare to find this biryani in Northen parts of India, but nevertheless, it is available at selected places all throughout the Indian Subcontinent. But yes, in Hyderabad, you will find its most authentic form.
3. Tahiri – From the Rarest Varieties of Biryani
Tahiri is a vegetarian variety of biryani. It was cooked for the Hindu book-keepers of the Nawabs. Since most of the Hindus back in the day preferred a vegetarian meal, so a Tahiri consists mostly of potatoes, carrots and a few other vegetables.
Interestingly, due to a high price of mutton and chicken after the second world war, Tahiri gained a lot of popularity. However, compared to the non-vegetarian varieties of biryani, tahiri is less famous and arguably less delicious.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
It is rare to find this dish as people usually prefer pulao to a Tahiri. But it is still sold and consumed in some parts of the Deccan.
Tahiri – Type of Biryani
4. Bombay Biryani – One of the Most Delicious Biryani Varieties
Dried plums, chicken, spices, potatoes and kewra water (screw pine) come together to give way to a Bombay biryani. It was introduced into the culture of the Mumbaikers by the Muslims. It is a type of biryani that is tangy and sweet, yet has a flavour that is somewhat spicy.
From among the different varieties of biryani, a Bombay biryani is quite unique. Sometimes the chicken may be replaced by lamb flesh.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
You will find this type of biryani mostly in and around Mumbai. It is a rare thing to find in other parts of India. And possibly it is very unknown as well.
5. Alert! There is a Malabari Biryani as Well
It might be a bit odd to know, but yes, there is a Malabari form of biryani. A unique dish as it can be both sweet or salty depending upon your taste. And as you must have guessed it, Malabari biryani is from the dry fruit rich types of biryani.
Guess what. Another special ingredient in a Malabari biryani is fish! Yes, the fish.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
It is a no brainer. It is found in South India, ie the Malabar region. Streets of Kerala are especially famous for it.
6. Lukhnowi Biryani – The Dum Pukht
Lukhnowi biryani is an alternate name given to the Awadhi biryani. It’s cooked to the core in a high-pressure environment. Generally made up of lamb, sometimes, chicken is also used. The cooking style of this biryani is what makes it stand out.
Flavoured with cinnamon, saffron and star anise, it is cooked in a deep bottomed vessel so that the flavour and smell of the spices used, comes out well. It is a delight for those who love soft rice and mild flavours.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
Found in Lukhnow only.
Lucknowi Chicken Biryani
7. Memoni Biryani – For the Spice Lover
You can’t miss trying this biryani if you’re a spice lover. Let me be straight, this biryani is too spicy, at least for me. It is popular among the Memon community in Gujrat. This type of biryani like all other varieties of biryani has meat, yoghurt, spices and vegetables such as potatoes.
The difference in taste is due to the difference in the composition of spices, the size of mutton pieces and the procedure of cooking.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
Only in Gujrat.
8. Bhatkali Biryani – The Coastal Variety of Biryani
From the coastal regions of Karnataka, we get the delicious Bhatkali biryani. It is spicy, juicy and consists of a lot of fried onions. Since it is from a coastal area, don’t be surprised by a fried fish topping.
I recommend eating this one if you are a fish lover.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
This can be found all around the state of Karnataka.
9. Dindigul Biryani – The Tamil Biryani
Tamils are known to love their culture. And they love their biryanis too. It is a mouthwatering tangy biryani that originated in the Dindigul Thalapakatti region.
The incredibly tangy taste of the curd and lemons makes this a must try form of biryani.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
10. Kalyani Biryani – The Poor Man’s Hyderabadi Biryani
Made from buffalo meat, means that it is a countervail biryani variety if you are living in India. It generally costs less than mutton or chicken biryani, but my tastebuds prefer this over any other form of meat.
It might also not have all the ingredients that are present in the Hyderabadi biryani, but we do not find a compromise in the taste, in fact, the fats in buffalo meat make it a very delicious cuisine.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
You will find it in the home of biryanis, Hyderabad and Delhi. And yes, it would be sold at small takeaways rather than in fine-dine restaurants.
11. Sindhi Biryani – The Love of Pakistan
Sindh is a province that lies in the area of Pakistan and interestingly it is famous for all the right reasons. This type of biryani is made from the very generous use of chillies, spices that are roasted, mint, coriander leaves, nuts, dry fruits, sour curd, and onions.
Plums and potatoes are also found in this biryani so that the tanginess remains in moderation. It is a very aromatic cuisine and should be especially tried for the use of roasted spices.
Where can you find this type of biryani?
Sindh, in Pakistan.
Time to Relish all these Types of Biryanis
That’s all from my side, so get on with tasting all these types of biryanis and let me know if you want more information any other biryani.
I was introduced to the amazing works of Mirza Ghalib in my school. As a child, I used to study the Urdu language and that’s when the names and works of some awesome people like Ghalib from the world of Urdu were introduced to me.
This opportunity to be able to know some of these great personalities ignited a passion in me. The passion was to study Urdu poetry & literature in depth! And thankfully this passion has not died ever since.
I am writing this blog post to give you a complete insight into the life of Mirza Ghalib. The life of a magnificent poet. A poet who is largely forgotten!
Honestly, the lives of some of our venerated Urdu poets have been lost and are in a dire need of a rebirth, at least in mention.
Who was Mirza Ghalib?
Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, widely known as Mirza Ghalib / Mirja Ghalib or simply Ghalib was a conspicuous Urdu and Persian poet. He lived during the last years of the Mughal Empire.
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Due to his marvellous abilities as a poet both in Urdu & Persian, he was given a number of honorific titles. Some of those titles are Dabir-ul-Mulk, Najm-ud-Daula and Mirza Nosha.
Some academics have regarded Mirza Ghalib as the last great poet of the Mughal Era. He is also considered from the pioneers who transformed the Urdu language.
Early Life of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
Mirza Ghalib was born on 27th December 1797 in Kala Mahal, Agra into a family descended from Aibak Turks who moved to Samarkand (Uzbekistan). His paternal grandfather, Mirza Qoqan Baig, was a Seljuq Turk who had immigrated to India from Samarkand during the reign of Ahmad Shah. After his migration to India, Ghalib’s grandfather worked throughout the country including in cities like Lahore, Delhi and Jaipur. But destiny made him to finally settle in Agra.
A Tribute to Mirza Ghalib
Mirja Ghalib’s grandfather married and had four sons and three daughters. Mirza Abdullah Baig (Ghalib’s father) and Mirza Nasrullah Baig were two of his sons. Mirza Ghalib’s father married Izzat-ut-Nisa Begum, an ethnic Kashmiri Interestingly, she used to live with his parents-in-law.
On a side note, like all other great men like Iqbal and Sanullah Amritsari, Ghalib had roots in Kashmir too. That makes me wonder if greatness is a Kashmiri thing
Coming back to the discussion, when Ghalib was a little over 5 years of age, his father died in a battle. This grief-filled year was 1803. He was buried in Alwar. Mirza Ghalib was then raised by his Uncle Mirza Nasrullah Baig Khan.
Mirza Nasrullah Baig Khan was the governor of Agra under the Marathas. The British appointed him an officer of 400 cavalrymen, fixed his salary at Rs.1700.00 month, and awarded him 2 Parganas in Mathura. When he died in 1806, the British took away the Parganas and fixed his pension as Rs. 10,000 per year. He was linked to the state of Firozepur Jhirka (present-day Mewat, Haryana). The Nawab of Ferozepur Jhirka reduced the pension to Rs. 3000 per year. So, Ghalib’s share was Rs. 62.50 / month.
A Sneak Peak into Ghalib’s Career
Mirza Ghalib started composing poetry at the age of 11. Although his first language was Urdu, Persian and Turkish were also spoken at home due to his ancestry. Apart from Urdu, he received an education in Persian and Arabic at a young age. When Mirza Ghalib was in his early teens, a tourist from Iran Abdus Samad, who had recently converted to Islam from Zoroastrian, came to Agra and stayed at Ghalib’s home for two years and taught him Persian, Arabic, Philosophy, and Logic.
He had written most of his famous ghazals by the age of nineteen. That’s too young seeing the calibre of his ghazals. At that time ghazals were written mostly to express love, pain and sadness. But Mirza Ghalib had different ideas.
He revolutionised this genre and expressed philosophy and the struggles and mysteries of life. Mirza Sahab wrote ghazals on many other subjects, vastly expanding the scope of the ghazal.
At that time the Urdu language was very decorative and formal. But the genius in Miza Ghalib made this language very familiar and relatable. This is most notably seen in the letters that he used to send to his friends. These letters were filled with humour and wit.
Letter writing subsequently became an art which he mastered. His letters were written in a first-person narrative and seemed like he was conversing with the receiver in person and were very informal. He would just write the name of the person and start the letter.
His style was revolutionary and he gave letter writing a whole new meaning. This art of letter writing was so inculcated in him that many scholars say that Mirza Ghalib would have had the same place in Urdu literature as he has today, only if he just wrote letters.
Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II was himself a poet. Mirza Ghalib was appointed as his tutor in 1854, thus he became an important courtier of the royal court. He was also appointed as the tutor of Prince Fakhr-ud Din Mirza, eldest son of Bahadur Shah II. Another feather in his cap was that he was also appointed by the Emperor as the royal historian of Mughal Court.
Last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II with sons Mirza Jawan Bakht & Mirza Shah Abbas
Contemporaries & Disciples of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
Mirza Ghalib’s closest rival was the poet Zauq. Zauq was the tutor of Bahadur Shah Zafar II, the then emperor of India with his seat in Delhi. There are some amusing anecdotes of the competition between Mirza Ghalib and Zauq and exchange of jibes between them. However, there was mutual respect for each other’s talent.
Interestingly, both these men admired and acknowledged the supremacy of Meer Taqi Meer, a towering figure of 18th century Urdu Poetry.
Another poet Momin, whose ghazals had a distinctly lyrical flavour, was also a famous contemporary of Ghalib.
Surprisingly, Asadullah Khan Ghalib was not only a poet, but he was also a prolific prose writer. His letters are a reflection of the political and social climate of the time. They also refer to many contemporaries like Mir Mehdi Majrooh, who himself was a good poet and Ghalib’s life-long acquaintance.
In 1855 Sir Syed Ahmed Khan finished his well-researched and illustrated edition of Abul Fazl’s Ai’n-e Akbari and approached the Ghalib to write a taqriz (in the convention of the times, a laudatory foreword) for it.
Although Ghalib accepted with the utmost respect, yet the story is interesting. Mirza Ghalib produced a short Persian poem that criticised the Ai’n-e Akbari greatly and with it the Mughal culture which the book represented. Ghalib basically reprimanded Syed Ahmad Khan for wasting his talents on such a piece and in turn praised the British.
As a result, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan never again wrote a word in praise of the Ai’n-e Akbari and in fact gave up taking an active interest in history and archaeology and became a social reformer.
Personal Life of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
When Mirza Ghalib was thirteen years old, in accordance with upper-class Muslim tradition he got married to Umrao Begum, daughter of Nawab Ilahi Bakhsh who was the brother of the Nawab of Ferozepur Jhirka. He soon moved to Delhi, along with his younger brother. He described his marriage as a form of captivity in one of his letters.
During his marriage, he had seven children but none of them survived beyond infancy, a pain prominently felt in many of his ghazals. There are conflicting reports regarding his marriage and relationship with his wife. She was considered to be a pious and God-fearing woman whereas Ghalib was proud of his reputation as a prodigal person.
It is said that he was once imprisoned for gambling and subsequently relished the affair with pride. In the Mughal court circles, he even acquired a reputation as a “ladies man”. He loved food and especially mangoes.
Later Life of Mirza Sahab
Ghalib saw the decline of the Mughal dynasty and its whole bureaucracy and aristocracy, and subsequently saw the rise of the British Rule. During his lifetime he never worked for a livelihood and lived on either royal patronage of Mughal Emperors, or credits and generosity of his friends.
The Mirza Ghalib we know today became so after his death as he had himself mentioned. It was a prediction that he himself had made. After the decline of the Mughal Empire and the rise of British Raj, despite his many attempts, Ghalib could never get the full pension restored.
Mirza Ghalib Poetry
Ghalib was a reporter of this turbulent period and saw the end of the feudal elite to which Ghalib had belonged. One by one, Ghalib saw the bazaars of Delhi like Khas Bazaar, Urdu Bazaar, Kharam-ka Bazaar, disappear along with whole mohallas and lanes slowly vanish. The havelis of his friends were demolished and he stated that Delhi was longer the rich cultured place as it used to be. It had turned into a desert and a military camp of the British.
He died in Delhi on February 15, 1869, and was buried in Hazrat Nizamuddin near the tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya.
The house where he lived in Gali Qasim Jaan, Ballimaran, Chandni Chowk, in Old Delhi has now been turned into ‘Ghalib Memorial’ and houses a permanent Ghalib exhibition.
Legacy & Books of Mirza Ghalib
The first complete English translation of Ghalib’s ghazals was written by Sarfaraz K. Niazi and published by Rupa & Co in India and Ferozsons in Pakistan. The title of this book is Love Sonnets of Ghalib and it contains complete Roman transliteration, explication and an extensive lexicon.
His letters have been translated by Ralph Russell in The Oxford Ghalib. Urdu Letters of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, have been translated by Daud Rahbar in the SUNY Press in 1987.
Kulliyat-e-Ghalib Farsi, an anthology of Persian poetry of well-known Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib first released at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) and later released at Tehran by Ambassadors of India and Pakistan jointly at a function sponsored by Iranian Ministry of Arts and Culture in Tehran on 20 September 2010.
This rare collection contains 11,337 verses of Ghalib, was compiled by Dr. Syed Taqi Abedi. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Abidi said that the study of Ghalib would be incomplete without his Persian poetry. Although Ghalib had earned his reputation in Urdu literature, the poet of the Mughal era was more inclined towards Persian and produced high-order poetry in that language.
At the literary “ru-ba-ru session” organized by the Haryana Urdu Academy, where Dr. Taqi offered an analytical study of the works of legendary poet Mirza Ghalib, both in Persian as well as Urdu.
He informs that Ghalib wrote 1,792 couplets in Urdu by the year 1865 as against the 11,340 in Persian. He also opined that Ghalib was a visionary, a poet of humanism whose works are popular even after three centuries.
Mirza Ghalib & the Cinema
The sub-continental cinema has paid much tribute to the great poet. Be that through films, television, plays or music. Sheila Bhatia’s productions, Begum Abida Ahmed and Surendra Verma’s play performed by the National School of Drama are only some of the many artists who have made plays on the life and works of Mirza Ghalib.
Many ghazal singers have sung his poetry immortalizing his poems for the generations to come. Maestros of music like Jagjit Singh, Mehdi Hassan, Abida Parveen, Farida Khanum, Tina Sani, Madam Noor Jehan, Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Begum Akhtar, Ghulam Ali, Lata Mangeshkar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan have sung his ghazals.
Gulzar produced a TV serial, Mirza Ghalib (1988) which telecasted on DD National was a massive success in India. Naseeruddin Shah played the role of Ghalib in the serial, and it featured ghazals sung and composed by Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh. The serial’s music has since been recognised as Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh’s magnum opus, enjoying a cult following in the Indian subcontinent.
Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan aka Mirza Ghalib is a towering figure in the ranks of literary figures of the Indian Subcontinent. And is an important poet who needs to be studied by every lover of Urdu literature and poetry.
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