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20 Must Have Foods From the Kashmiri Cuisine

20 Must Have Foods From the Kashmiri Cuisine

While Kashmir is already a heaven full of natural beauty, the Kashmiri cuisine is nothing different. Kashmir’s grand gastronomic affair is nothing short of a paradise in itself. There is no doubt that the food of Kashmir will blow you away just the way its scenic beauty will.

The delectable Kashmiri food recipes will make your stomach full but your tongue will surely be left craving for more. 

Irrespective of whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, Kashmiri food has something for everyone. The liberal use of a variety of spices in the Kashmiri cuisine is what makes the food so delectable. Kashmiri food is a beautiful blend of the cooking styles of the Persians, Kashmiri Pandits, Muslims and the Mughals.

Whether you have already tried this cuisine or wish to try it for the first time, you are at the right place. Here, we will share 20 popular Kashmiri dishes that you absolutely must try.

20 Must Have Foods From the Kashmiri Cuisine 

1. Rogan Josh

If you are a meat lover, you absolutely cannot miss out on this dish. An aromatic lamb curry, Rogan Josh is definitely a must try. A signature dish of the valley, you haven’t tried Kashmiri cuisine if you haven’t had this one dish.

Loaded with delicious flavours, this mouthwatering curry is sure to make your tummy happy. Rogan Josh is made using browned onions, several spices and yogurt.

A healthy dish low on fat, Rogan Josh is best savoured with some naam or a plate of steamed rice.

2. Dum Olav

You might think that you have tried dum aloo but you haven’t unless you have tried the authentic Kashmiri Dum Olav or Dum Aloo. 

The baby potatoes cooked in a gravy of yogurt along with a few spices are an absolute delight to have. The different spices like dry ginger powder and fennel elevate the taste of the potatoes and kick it up a notch. This dish pairs up the best with roti or naan.

A very simple dish and yet very appetizing, Dum Olav is a must have when it comes to Kashmiri food.

3. Modur Pulao

Made using milk, saffron, dry fruits, sugar and spices like cinnamon and cardamom, modur pulao is actually a sweet pulao. It is full of the goodness of ghee, milk and lots of dried fruits and nuts.

As a spice that grows in Kashmir itself, saffron is the chief ingredient of the recipe. And the bright yellow color imparted by this spice to the pulao makes it look even more tempting. If you want to try out the authentic food of Kashmir, trying out Modur Pulao is a must.

4. Goshtaba

When we are talking about must have foods from the Kashmiri cuisine, Goshtaba needs to be on the top of the list as well. 

This heavenly dish consists of minced mutton balls that are prepared in a flavorful yogurt based gravy. 

Popularly known as the dish for the King, Goshtaba, with its royal taste, is sure to blow you away. Try this dish once and you are sure to be craving for it soon after.

Goshtaba also makes for a very important part of the traditional Kashmiri feast of Wazwan.

5. Yakhni Lamb Curry

Another lamb delicacy from Kashmiri food recipes, Yakhni is a must try for all the meat lovers. Also yogurt based, Yakhni gravy is flavored with some wonderful spices, onion paste and dry mint leaves. This dish is a true representation of the Kashmiri food and you definitely need to try it when you are in the valley.

To best enjoy this flavorsome curry, have it with some steamed rice. Its taste is just as amazing and promising as its aroma is.

6. Aab Gosh

Another non-vegetarian classic, Aab Gosh is a very popular mutton dish in the Kashmir valley. You might have tried several mutton dishes but there is nothing quite like this one. Try it once and you are sure to become a fan instantly.

The mutton, which is beautifully cooked in milk and some spices gives a wonderful gravy which is full of flavours.

The succulent meat from this recipe is sure to delight you and make you want more. Aab Gosh is best enjoyed with some well cooked saffron rice or just plain steamed rice.

7. Lyodur Tschman

Although one of the less heard dishes of the Kashmiri cuisine, Lyodur Tschman is a paneer dish that is very commonly found in the Kashmiri households. If you are looking for some vegetarian Kashmiri food, you must not miss out on this wonderful dish. Even if you are a hardcore non-vegetarian, you must try this dish out.

It basically consists of cottage cheese or paneer which is cooked in a rich creamy gravy. The gravy is yellow in color and laden with delicious flavours. Lyodur Tschman is best savoured with some naan or steamed rice.

8. Kashmiri Muji Gaad

This is a winter special delicacy of the Kashmiri cuisine which is mostly enjoyed in the month of December. Also served on special occasions or celebrations, Muji Gaad is a dish prepared with fish and radish.

A unique dish, Kashmiri Muji Gaad or Machhli Mooli is a must have when you wish to try out authentic Kashmiri food. It is a beautiful amalgamation of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items blended together and so this recipe is sure to delight your taste buds.

9. Haakh

The Kashmiri Haak or Haakh is a healthy green leafy vegetable preparation. It is made with the Haak leaves, which look quite a lot like spinach.

The Haak leaves are cooked in some oil, garlic, salt and very less spices. It is a simple recipe and yet it is extremely delicious and very nutritious as well. This dish is very commonly cooked in the Kashmiri households and is one of the very popular Kashmiri food recipes.

So, whenever you are in the valley, make it a point to try Haak out.

10. Kashmiri Rajma

If you are looking for more veg food in the valley, Kashmiri rajma is a must have. The rajma gravy isn’t just like the rajma gravy that you’d typically find but the variant of the rajma used is also different.

This flavorsome curry is a true delight and will take you to a food heaven just on its first bite. Needless to say, the Kashmiri rajma also goes perfectly well with a plate of well-cooked hot rice. Some rajma poured over a plate of steamed rice makes for the perfect lunch or dinner.

11. Kahwa

Although not a food but instead a beverage, Kahwa is also an absolute must try when it comes to Kashmiri food or Kashmiri cuisine.

Kashwa is actually the Kashmiri version of the tea which is made using special green tea leaves. It is flavored with spices like saffron, cardamom and cinnamon. It is a very popular beverage that you will find throughout the Kashmir valley.

Kahwa is the perfect drink to have on a cold winter day. It will provide you with the ultimate warmth and its delicious taste will be a treat for you. So, whether or not you are a tea lover, trying out kahwa is a must.

12. Al Yakhni

When we talk about the food of Kashmir, Al Yakhi certainly cannot be left out. So, Al Yakhni is basically bottle gourd or lauki in a yogurt or curd based gravy.

Round pieces of fried bottle gourd are cooked in the yogurt gravy along with spices like cumin, cloves, black cardamom, cinnamon, fennel and more. This dish pairs excellently well with some hot steamed rice and is undoubtedly one of the best dishes of the Kashmiri cuisine.

13. Tabak Maaz

A luscious dish, Tabak Maaz consists of utterly delicious mutton chops. It is a very simple recipe but equally delicious at the same time.

Pieces of mutton are basically deep fried and then seasoned with some salt and Kashmiri red chilli powder. If you are craving for some deep fried food, this is your go-to Kashmiri dish for it.

Usually eaten as a side dish, Tabak Maaz can actually be a meal in itself. Have this Kashmiri food dish once and we are sure that you will want to have it again and again.

14. Sheer Chai/ Noon Chai

We have another wonderful Kashmiri beverage on our list that you absolutely need to try. The interesting fact here is that even though it is a tea, noon chai is not your typical sweet tea. Yes, in fact, noon chai is a salty tea.

While it might require acquired taste to have this tea, it is definitely a must have if you wish to get the true essence of the food of Kashmir. 

Noon Chai or Sheer Chai is a pink colored beverage which is also commonly referred to as namkeen chai, owing to its salty taste.

15. Roth

The next on our list of the must have Kashmiri food recipes is Roth, a type of sweet roti or cookie. It is a simple dish that is made using flour, sugar and ghee or clarified butter.

It is a fried recipe which is made during the Kashmiri new year or other such auspicious or special occasions. The tradition of making these cookies or rotis is an ancient one and goes back several hundred years ago.

So, if you wish to know what Kashmiri cuisine is all about, trying out the Roth is a must.

16. Tehar

Tehar is also one wonderful delicacy from Kashmir that you need to try. It is basically a rice preparation that is made on religious as well as special occasions like festivals or birthdays.

It is a very simple yellow colored rice dish that gets its color from a hint of turmeric. At times, this dish from Kashmiri cuisine is also flavored with a little saffron. Tehar is then eaten with gravies such as Dum Olav.

17. Kashmiri Khatte Baingan

Another wonderful Kashmiri veg delicacy that makes it to the list of must have foods is the Kashmiri Khatte Baingan. 

It is a unique baingan or eggplant recipe that is nothing quite like what you might have tried before. This dish is often served as a side dish in Kashmiri feasts as well as ceremonies.

The gravy has a delicious sour and spicy taste which is sure to delight your taste buds. This recipe, much like other signature Kashmiri dishes, is cooked using spices like fennel powder and dry ginger powder, giving it that authentic Kashmiri taste.

18. Sheermal

When we talk about must have foods from the Kashmiri cuisine, it would be so wrong to leave out Sheermal. One of the most commonly found dishes in the valley is Sheermal.

So, sheermal is basically a type of aromatic flatbread which is infused with saffron and flavored with a little cardamom. It is mildly sweet and pairs perfectly well with a cup of tea or coffee. 

However, in Kashmir, you will find both- the sweet as well as the savoury versions of this flatbread.

19. Rista

Another mouthwatering delicacy from the Kashmiri cuisine is called Rista- a dish of minced meatballs in a red colored gravy. 

This recipe also makes the use of lamb for making the meatballs and then they are cooked in a red onion based gravy. 

Quite a flavorsome dish, Rista is a must try when you are in Kashmir. This mouth watering dish is best eaten either with some steamed rich or naan. 

20. Kulcha

The last on our list of the must try Kashmiri food is kulcha- a breakfast staple in Kashmir. This is not your typical kulcha that you normally find in the north Indian states.

The Kashmiri kulcha is made using wheat flour as well as refined flour and then it is baked in a traditional kiln. 

It is very commonly eaten in Kashmiri households for breakfast along with a cup of tea. When in Kashmir, you will find several bakeries or places selling kulchas early in the morning.

In this article, we shared 20 must-have foods from the Kashmiri cuisine. Which one of these 20 foods are you the most excited to try out.

You can buy the finest version of Kashmiri products from our online store. Products such as pure Honey, Shilajit, Almonds, Walnuts, Apricots, and similar Kashmiri Foods are all available for you to buy.

Also Read:

7 Romantic Places in Kashmir for Honeymooners

7 Romantic Places in Kashmir for Honeymooners

A honeymoon is a place of comfort, joy, and intimacy where couples may celebrate their love and union away from the crowd of routine life. However, what is more, precious is the memory that you will take with you for the long haul, if not forever. If you are in India and have not yet visited Kashmir, this is an opportunity. Kashmir valley, which is covered with flowers in the spring and snow in the winter, has breathtaking mountains and sprawling lakes to showcase. This area is a sheer hub for honeymooners owing to the beautiful serene mountains and white sheets of snow. You may even strengthen your relationship with lots of activities such as river rafting, paragliding, champing, the house boasts in Jhelum, and there are infinite things to do in Kashmir.

Apart from this, there are plenty of places to explore; we have compiled an excellent list of places to visit as part of our Kashmir tour package.


Immerse yourself in the paradigm of a lofty sequence of mountains necklaced above the lovely Jhelum lake. Every year, many newlyweds visit Srinagar. Lazing around the tranquil dal lake will bring you closer together, whilst the Shikara ride shall fill you with excitement and thrill.

Heading towards the east, you will find a historic Mughal garden founded in 1633 by Nur Jahan. Seek blessings at Jama Masjid and Shankaracharya temple will bring you close to heaven. You will have a great time in the gorgeous ambiance and natural setting of this place, on your trip you may also explore the great treks of Kashmir.

However, any trip is incomplete without pleasing taste buds; when in Srinagar, do not forget to drench your taste bud in sumptuous Mughlai delicacies, specially Modur pulao, topped with saffron flavored in green cardamom.

Popularly known as India’s summer capital; the best time for sightseeing in Srinagar is March.


Kishtwar, endearingly known as the land of pearl and saffron, the place is at a distance of 250 km from Jammu Kashmir that flaunts intriguing mountains, gorgeous hillsides, panoramic view, and blooming grasslands. The deep verdant forest has a lot to say through the voice of the wind, making it one of the enchanting places among honeymooners.

However, a romantic getaway in Kishtwar offers many opportunities to explore nature in its purest form. The popular tourist attraction being Mughal Maidan & Padyarna, a historical site studded with remains of stone temples, stone inscriptions & idols, will captivate you.

Unwinding may seem incomplete in the absence of adventure. However, Paddar and Wadhwan Valleys are famed for paragliding and rock climbing; here is a chance to explore the beauty of nature with your sweetheart. Kishtwar has craggy terrains of Umasi La Pass from Paddar Valley to Zanskar Valley if you are someone fond of trekking.


Bhaderwah, located in the district called Doda, dipped in the unexplored riches and natural vegetation Bhaderwah is an epicenter of space and spirituality; the name Bhaderwah is derived from an old deity known as Bhaderkaali. You will have a great time exploring the unique culture that local and native people have preserved. You may engage and learn the Dhakku folk dance, which is religiously divine and devotional.

Out of all the romantic spots, Bhaderwah provides the most magnificent vista to enjoy beneath the twilight of stars. You may even explore the mountains with the love of your life by hiking over virgin terrain. You will be humbled to meet the wonderful locals and the warmth of the country, so don’t delay and book your vacation with us right now!


A honeymoon in Pahalgam will fascinate you with its romanticism and sightseeing options. The location is a hill station, ideal for a romantic getaway. You may get immersed in the tranquil Aru and Betaab valleys. The lush meadows shrouded in blossoming flowers will let you calm to your core. Take your taste buds on a scrumptious tour of Jammu’s indigenous Delicias.

If you are an avid adventure seeker looking for exhilarating activities, here is the place to be. In such a scenario, you can go river rafting or paragliding. The delicate beauty of Pahalgam offers beautiful mountains and a calm environment where you both can sit back and have a deep conversation about life.

Apart from hosting a pleasant honeymoon destination, it is located in a setting where the scent of rural Kashmir lingers. Every aspect aims to hit the right spot and satisfies wanderlust with your sweetheart.


Celebrate your love amid the lush forest, and you’ll be enthralled by the adorned meadows with white blossoming flowers. Considering Baramulla is well-connected to two famous valleys, namely Gulnar park and Dewaan park, taking a stroll and wandering hand in hand with your better half would be delightful.

Since the places hold a religious significance, you may seek blessing as a couple together at shrine temples, churches, and gurdwaras.

Over to You

If you’re someone who is always a bit aligned with the raw beauty of nature, it’s time to unleash romance in the crisp wind of Baramulla. Take a sip of your favorite tea/coffee in the middle of the tempting valley and enjoy the weather together. Isn’t it something your soul unknowingly craved for?. Finally, the time has come to share your deep passion for snow-covered mountains with your spouse. Therefore, get your honeymoon plan with us,today!

You can also buy a variety of Kashmiri Products from our online store such as HoneyShilajitAlmondsWalnuts, Apricots, and similar Kashmiri Foods, we have got you covered. From Wazwan to spices, we have the finest version of everything.

Also Read:

7 Best Honeymoon Destinations in Jammu and Kashmir, 2021

7 Best Honeymoon Destinations in Jammu and Kashmir, 2021

Every bride and groom are very excited for their old life to end and prays cheers to the beginning. Weddings take up a lot of energy. From planning to shopping for so many different occasions and then constantly smiling! Indian weddings are big and fat. But as fun, it is to see two lives coming together, in reality, there is a lot of nervousness between them. Starting a new life and committing to each other; after all this, they deserve a break.

It is said, if there is a heaven on this Earth, it is in Kashmir. When you are stepping into a new life with someone wouldn’t you want it to be from a place of heaven? Therefore, Kashmir is the best place to start strong. There is not much need to sell you on this; after all, it is the Kashmir honeymoon package that says it all. Nonetheless, we are here to give you 7 places that you must visit on your romantic getaway. It is bursting with flowers in the spring and covered with beautiful snow in the winter. So you can have your pick. Nevertheless, do not forget to visit these places.


The beautiful town of Jammu will take your breath away. Apart from the Chenab River flowing through the valley in all its glory, there are more places to explore. Tourists visit this place from different parts of the world to see the breathtaking scenery. Also, do not forget to visit the Akhnoor Fort and the Bagh-eBahu garden. Moreover, if you feel a little religious or just want to appreciate some art, visit the Raghunath temple. This place is located on the lap of the Himalayas and is a great place to get cuddly with your partner.


If you and your partner are major nature lovers, a visit to Yusmarg is a must. Located in the Budgam district of Kashmir is a small hill station that is all green. With the right weather, you will feel the trill or the clam of the trees. The serene Himalayas are covered with green meadows. You will find trees like pine and fir among others. With some parts of snow floating in the streams and the lakes in the town, it is a sight to behold. Be sure to experience the lush greens of Trata Kutti and Sang Safed before you leave this place.


All of Kashmir is mesmerizing to see. Therefore, we start with Ladakh. One of the most fascinating places to see is here. Most people make a trip to Ladakh on their bikes with their friends on a bachelor trip. The lesser-known fact is, it is one of the most romantic places in Kashmir. Enjoy the crystal-clear lakes, Hemis Monastery, Leh Market, Tso Morini lake as a part of your Kashmir honey package. Look at that night full of stars with your partner beside you and the sun-kissed mountain peaks during the day. It will definitely be the highlight of your honeymoon.


One of the most outstanding scenes in Kashmir are the lakes and Sonmarg is filled with them. Experience the peace and quiet along with the light sound of waves flowing. Definitely visit the lakes like Krishnasar, Gangabal, Gadsar, and Vishansar. See these lakes flowing through between the meadows and the greenery. Just as two of you met together and formed an amazing bond. Find the same bond being made with the coming together of the Nilagard stream and the Sind River. The water is green, the weather is great and you have your lover beside you. Does the world get any better?


Home of the biggest and the largest monasteries in Ladakh, this place is a must-visit for peace and quiet. All the monasteries are located over hill ranges. As much fun you would have to walk hand-in-hand to them, you will love looking at them from afar. Lamayuru is also called the MoonLand of Ladakh for the rich Buddhist cultures. You will find murals and Buddhist texts and figures right on display for you. This is the perfect place to absorb the beauty and the knowledge of peace.

Nubra Valley

Do not forget this place on your trip to Jammu and Kashmir. It should be the main event of your Kashmir Honeymoon package. If you and your partner love sporty events, then congratulations you are made for each other. Also, this is the right place for you. Between the magnetic sand dunes are camels waiting for you to take a ride. You may visit the Yarab Tso Lake and the Maitreya Buddha Statue. But the real fun is the journey and not the destination for it is marvelously pretty. If you have a honeymoon between July to September, it is the best time to visit Nubra Valley.


With this, we shall mark the end of the journey within the Kashmir honeymoon package. Located in the Doda district in the foothills of the Himalayas, Bhaderwah is also called ‘mini Kashmir’. It is a paradise within the paradise. You cannot possibly match the energy this pace has. Filled with luscious grasslands, sparkling water, and major exposure to the fauna and flora, this is indeed a paradise. The interesting part about this place is that it is called ‘Nagon ki Bhoomi’. If you are eerie of snakes, run because this place has a variety of snakes that are waiting for you.

Over to You

Here are the top 7 destinations for spending your honeymoon in Jammu & Kashmir. Share this blog with people who would love to visit Kashmir.

You can also buy a variety of Kashmiri Products from our online store such as HoneyShilajitAlmondsWalnuts, Apricots, and similar Kashmiri Foods, we have got you covered. From Wazwan to spices, we have the finest version of everything.

You may also read:

Everything that You need to Know About a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding

Everything that You need to Know About a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding

Weddings are fun and auspicious, in every religion, culture, or region. And when we talk about wedding ceremonies of the beautiful valley of Kashmir, a myriad of colorful thoughts cross our minds. Among the many types of weddings in North India, Kashmiri Pandit weddings are one of the most elegant and culture-embedded ones. Couple these with tradition, delicious cuisine, a picturesque backdrop, and viola, welcome to paradise!

The first and most important step in a Kashmiri Pandit wedding is to match the teknis (horoscopes) of the prospective bride and groom. Other than this, elements taken into consideration even as choosing a match are the status, morals, and background of both families. All this and extra is taken into consideration much earlier before the Kashmiri Pandit wedding is finalized. The marriage date is proposed by the bride’s parents. As soon as the groom’s parents give their consent, the purohit (priest) fixes the marriage date.

The Kashmiri Pandit marriage can take place in the morning or evening. An auspicious time is chosen after consulting with the purohit.

Kashmiri Pandit Wedding’s Pre-Wedding Rituals

Let’s get straight into the talk of the main Kashmiri Pandit Wedding Rituals.

Kasamdry or formal engagement

Once the families are ready and agree to the marriage, a proper commitment rite takes place in the form of kasamdry. The family priests fix the date of the engagement ceremony in accordance with the Kashmiri calendar. The Kashmiri Pandit wedding ceremony mostly takes place, in a temple, in front of an idol.

Elder relatives from both sides meet in a temple and exchange flowers as a sign of the formalization of marriage. The bride’s family lays out a meal of conventional Kashmiri dishes. Her family also sends coins, fruits, dry fruits, and a pot containing nabad (misri, sugar lumps) to the groom’s house. In recent times, the bride and groom meet in a temple or at the former’s house and exchange rings.


An auspicious day is chosen for the livun – the traditional cleansing of the house before marriage. The bride and groom’s family do not usually perform livun on the same day. This is also the day when the waza (family cook) arrives and puts together a mud-and-brick oven called wuri outside the house. This is where traditional food will be cooked for the Kashmiri Pandit wedding ceremony. Kashmir’s Pandit families do not consume meat, so the wedding cuisine is strictly vegetarian.


Everything that You need to Know About a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding 1

Every evening following livun, till the Kashmiri Pandit wedding ceremony, a wanvun (music) session is held in both households, with neighbors and relatives taking an active part in the function. The visitors are served salted red tea, called noon or sheer chai.


The maenziraat ceremony takes place a week prior to the Kashmiri Pandit wedding. It starts with krool khaarun, a rite which involves redecorating doors of the houses of the prospective bride and groom by their aunts (father’s sister). In the evening, the bride-to-be follows a bathing ritual, during which her feet are washed by her maternal aunt.

The eldest aunt decorates her palms and feet with maenz (henna). After this, maenz is distributed among some of the relatives and neighbors. The women invited for this event are served a scrumptious Kashmiri meal by the waza. After dinner, everyone participates in a lively wanvun session. At the groom’s house, a little bit of henna is applied on his hands as a symbol of auspiciousness.

Everything that You need to Know About a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding 2

Thread ceremony (yagneopavit)

If the janayu or thread ceremony has not been done during childhood for the groom, then it is carried out a few days before the Kashmiri Pandit marriage.

Everything that You need to Know About a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding 3


Divagone is a rite that marks the transition of the bride and groom from brahmacharya ashram to grihastha ashram. The bride and groom worship god Shiva and goddess Parvati. The rite is carried out separately for both the bride and groom at their respective houses and all relatives observe a fast before this Kashmiri Pandit ceremony begins. The purohit conducts the ceremony in front of a sacred fireplace. 

Everything that You need to Know About a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding 4


A crucial part of the rituals is the kanishran. This includes bathing the bride and groom with a mixture of water, rice, milk and curd. Flowers are also showered on them. They step into a new set of traditional apparel following the kanishran. Father and mother of the bride provide her jewelry, clothes, household items, etc. An important object of the jewellery is the dejaharu – an ear decoration that has gold tassels strung on a sacred thread that passes via the middle ear cartilage.

Those holes are pierced inside the ears of all Kashmiri Pandit women when they are two or three years of age. The importance of carrying the dejaharu is that the bride is now ready for her Kashmiri Pandit matrimony.


Food Served in a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding  

Women from amongst relatives and neighbors are invited for dinner. It is served in traditional kiln-baked pots called tabche. A modern Kashmiri Pandit wedding does not usually use these pots.

The food prepared by the waza consists of:

  • Dumaalu: A delicious dish crafted from potatoes cooked in spices. 
  • Nadrooyakhni: This dish includes lotus roots chopped into pieces and cooked in milk and curd. 
  • Czhock wangun: This dish incorporates brinjal cooked with spices to provide a scrumptious bitter-sweet taste. 
  • Vyath chaman: This dish includes paneer (cottage cheese) cut into huge portions and cooked with spices. 
  • Nich chaman: This dish includes paneer cut into small pieces, cooked in turmeric and curd to give out a mild yellow color. 
  • Nadroo hakh: This dish incorporates lotus roots cut into select diagonal pieces and cooked together with Kashmiri saag (collard-greens). 
  • Mujchatni: This dish includes white radish, grated and combined with green chilly and curd. 

The Essential Kashmiri Pandit Wedding Rituals

The bride’s clothes

The conventional Kashmiri Pandit wedding apparel is the pheran. The bride’s pheran is usually a product of raffle, with ari or hook embroidery on the neck, cuff and edges. Her head is draped in kalpush, a long piece of starched and ironed snow-white cloth. A white scarf, referred to as zoojh, is wrapped over the kalpush. Pins, with black and golden heads, are fitted into her headgear. The complete head apparel is known as tarang. A belt, known as haligandun, with its free ends embroidered, is tied to the waist of the bride. 

Everything that You need to Know About a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding 5
Groom’s clothes

The groom’s clothes

The groom wears a tweed pheran and jootis in his feet. His headgear is a type of turban called gordastar to which a peacock feather is tied with golden thread. The groom’s paternal uncle helps him tie the gordastar.


A plate of rice containing some money (zung) is touched to the groom’s right shoulder for blessings. Before he leaves for the bride’s house, the groom has to stand on a vyoog (rangoli of sorts). He is given nabad and a conch shell is sounded to announce his departure. Two rice pots with some money are given to the poor as a gesture of goodwill.

Reception Ceremony

On arrival of the Baraat or Kashmiri Pandit wedding procession, the bride’s family greets them warmly by blowing a conch shell. Fathers of the bride and groom exchange jaiphal or nutmeg symbolizing solemnization of their relation with promise of a lifelong friendship. The bride is made to stand on a vyoog and the eldest female relative or the bride’s mother performs puja with lamps made from wheat flour. She feeds nabad to the bride and groom. Two rice pots are given away as alms. The couple is led by the purohit to the door. Then, he carries out a small rite called dwar pooja before leading them to the lagan mandap.

Guests are served kahwa accompanied by a vegetarian meal with as many as 21-25 dishes prepared by the waza. Those dishes include delicacies like marchwangan pokore (chilli pakoras), madur pulao (sweet pulao) and shufta (crafted from paneer, fried with nuts and sweetened with sugar) in addition to the ones mentioned before.

The Kashmiri Pandit Bridal Ceremony (lagan)

The priest performs the lagan rituals in front of a sacred fire. For the first time, the groom and bride see each other through a mirror. This Kashmiri Pandit wedding custom continues to thrive even now. After the groom and bride see each other, they hold hands till the Kashmiri Pandit wedding ceremony is complete. Their palms are tied with a cloth. This, in Kashmiri, is called athwas (handshake). 

The bride and groom then compete to find their engagement rings from inside a bowl of milk. As per Kashmiri folklore, the first one to pick out the ring would be the dominant one in the marriage.

Then a mananmal, golden thread, is tied to the bride and groom’s foreheads. The left foot of the bride and groom are positioned on a kajwat or grinding stone. The first phera around the sacred hearth is made by the bride stepping on seven one rupee coins, putting her right foot forward and at the end of it, she is received by the groom’s father. There are a total of 7 pheras. The marriage ceremony is concluded with a vegetarian dinner and the bride and groom are made to eat from the same plate.

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Posh Puza

At the end of the rituals, the bride and groom sit on a high pedestal. The newly-weds are treated as Shiva and Parvati and worshiped at the time of posh puza. Every relative offers them flowers while chanting Vedic mantras for blessings.

Then the newly-weds have to stand at the vyoog as the eldest female relative from the bride’s family offers them nabad three times and kisses them on the forehead.

Everything that You need to Know About a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding 7
Posh Poza


As the bride leaves her parent’s residence, she throws a fistful of uncooked rice over her shoulder. This, in a Kashmiri Pandit wedding, symbolizes that prosperity will continue to remain in the house as the bride leaves. The bride carries some extra rice in her hand that is to be scattered at the doorstep of her new home. This symbolizes prosperity for her new home. 

Welcoming the Newly-Weds

After the couple reach the groom’s house, they stand on a vyoog and have nabad, offered by the groom’s eldest aunt or mother. The mananmal tied on the brow of the couple are exchanged.

After a meal, the bride changes into a new dress and jewelry given by her in-laws. Ataharu, which includes numerous strands of gold/ silver tassels, are strung below the dejaharu which the bride is already wearing, signifying that she is now a married woman.

Welcome to the newely weds

Kashmiri Pandit Post-Wedding Rituals

The post-wedding rituals of a Kashmiri Pandit wedding consist of Satraat, Phirlath, Roth khabar, and Gar atchun.

During satraat, the bride and groom visit the former’s family where they are showered with gifts of money, dry fruits, and a dusa (a six yard pashmina scarf) for the groom.

Phirlath is their second visit to the bride’s home.

Then on a Saturday or Tuesday after the wedding, the bride’s parents send a roth (a traditional, freshly baked cake adorned with nuts), to their son-in-law’s family. This is the Roth khabar. The bride is given salt as shagun.

Gar atchun is a reception-type function organized by the bride’s family for their son-in-law and his relatives. Varieties of delicacies are prepared and the bride is dressed in beautiful clothes and jewelry.

Over to You

This marks the end of a Kashmiri Pandit wedding ceremony and the beginning of a blessed life for the couple and their families.

You can also buy a variety of Kashmiri Products from our online store such as Honey, Shilajit, Almonds, Walnuts, Apricots, and similar Kashmiri Foods, we have got you covered. From Wazwan to spices, we have the finest version of everything.

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The State of Saffron in Kashmir

The State of Saffron in Kashmir

There are several ancient stories that suggest how saffron in Kashmir actually came. One legend suggests that it was back in the 12th century when Sufi saints Khwaja Masood Wali and Sheikh Sharif-u-din were traveling through Kashmir. It was them who presented the local chieftain with a bulb of saffron for curing them of an illness. While another suggests that it was actually the Persians who brought it with them to grow their trade and market in Kashmir in the 500 B.C. 

Even though the stories of its origin in Kashmir may be discordant, one thing is for sure- Kashmiri saffron, with its superior taste and quality, is a very precious spice. It is in Pampore where most of the Kashmiri saffron grows. As compared to its other counterparts, Kashmiri saffron or Pampore saffron has thicker and more aromatic strands.

The Kashmiri farmers who grow this most expensive spice in the world, would have their spice sell for as high as 450,000 INR or $3,400 for a kilogram as it was once a booming industry. A few decades ago, it would take a family about 6 to 7 months to pick and package their saffron in Kashmir. 

According to a local whose family is involved in the saffron business, the yield of the saffron crop has gone down drastically over the last few decades. Her family that would be able to harvest some 400 kilograms of saffron a year some 30 years ago, harvests less than 10 kilograms a year now. And the same is the story for the other Kashmiri saffron farmers as well. 

The business of saffron in Kashmir that has been running in families for several generations is at one of the lowest recorded in history today. A task that would once take months at a stretch to finish now only takes one.

The ongoing violence, climate change, droughts and other factors have taken a severe toll on the saffron industry of Kashmir. 

The Story of Saffron in Kashmir

Pampore, a town just a few kilometers away from Srinagar is popularly referred to as the ‘Saffron Town’. Here, the process of saffron farming begins in April and the soil is ploughed twice so that the moisture seeps in. The saffron corms are then sown in August or September and the soil is pulverized. By the time it is mid-October, the saffron plants begin to sprout and about a month after that, they are picked, dried, and sorted.

The petals of the saffron flower go into making medicine, its yellow strands aren’t of much use and the red strands in the middle are actually the pure saffron strands. Each of the saffron flowers has only three strands of saffron and for a kilo of saffron, about 150,000 flowers are needed. That is one of the reasons why the saffron price is so high, making it the most expensive spice in the world. 

Use of Saffron in Cooking

Known as Zaffran in Urdu, kesar in Hindi and Kong posh in Kashmiri, saffron is extensively used in cooking. The Mughals who took saffron wherever they established their court are known to have popularized its use. The use of saffron as a color as well as scent in the royal kitchens became very common. It was commonly used for making biryanis, lamb stew and in breads like sheermal.

Saffron’s use in sherbets, phirnis as well as other sweet recipes became quite prominent too. Today, whether it is traditional preparations like the Wazwan or modern dishes at cafes, saffron has created a niche for itself in the culinary world. 

It is believed that saffron’s presence in Kashmir dates back to as early as the 5th century. The Kashmiris would drink saffron-infused milk to break their fasts during Ramadan and even celebrations would be marked by using saffron in the modur pulao and topping some saffron on yogurt. Saffron, as a spice, is always used as a novelty and it is not really something that is used for everyday cooking. 

Along with playing a very crucial role in various dishes of the traditional Kashmiri meal of Wazwan, saffron’s important presence for Kashmiris is also in the kahwa, the Kashmiri indigenous green tea. The kahwa’s deep golden color is an ode to the local saffron grown in the valley.

The Kashmiris also take immense pride in their saffron and believe it to be a feeling rather than a food. 

The Struggles of Saffron in the Valley

The presence of saffron is deeply rooted in the valley of Kashmir. However, ecological reasons like drought and lack of irrigation have robbed Kashmir of its beloved saffron. Climate change has led to the soil becoming dry and unsuitable for growing the crop. 

With a production of around 16 metric tonnes of saffron in the late 1990s, a severe drought caused it to dip down to just a mere 0.3 metric tonnes in 2001. The next 13 years saw an average yield of about 8.71 metric tonnes.

Since the yield for saffron is so low, the land used to grow it has become less valuable. As a result, a number of farmers have begun to abandon their lands. 

Iranian saffron has also entered the region and due to the low saffron price for that saffron, it is also often sold in the name of Iranian saffron. 

Over to You

However, despite all the challenges and struggles, thousands of families in Kashmir are associated with the saffron industry today.

In order to revive the industry and bring it back to its former glory, several measures are being taken by the government. ‘National Saffron Mission’ was launched by the central government in 2010 to revive the production of the most expensive spice in the world in the valley.

Several individual organizations too are working hard to save and promote the saffron industry of Kashmir and to carve a prominent place for it on the world market.

If you wish to buy pure Kashmiri Saffron, Honey, Shilajit, Almonds, Walnuts, Apricots, and similar Kashmiri Foods, we have got you covered. From Wazwan to spices, we have the finest version of everything.

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Habba Khatoon: The Sage of Kashmir

Habba Khatoon: The Sage of Kashmir

A beautiful and intelligent damsel from the saffron town of Pampore, Habba Khatoon was a Kashmiri poetess born in the 16th century. Named as Zoon (meaning, the moon) by her parents and fondly called the ‘Nightingale of Kashmir’, she is one of the most popular mystic poets from the valley. Her verses have traveled across time and even today, she is the sound and song of many Kashmiri gatherings.

In this article we unfold more about Habba Khatun, her life and her poetry.

The Life of Habba Khatoon

Born in 1554 in a small village called Chandhur in Pampore as a peasant, Habba Khatun or Khatoon was named as Zoon by her parents. As per oral tradition, she was called Zoon owing to her immense beauty. 

There is also a theory that suggests that she was once baptised by a Sufi mystic on a moonlight night who gave her the name Zoon. And it was under the guidance of her Sufi mentor that she began to compose lyrics and sing. She had a beautiful voice and a natural talent for composing poetry.

Even though born in a peasant family, Zoon had learnt to read and write from the village moulvi. At a young age, Zoon’s father married her off to a peasant boy. But her marriage did not fare well and she was soon divorced. It is believed that she was mistreated by her mother-in-law and sister-in-law as they tried to change her behavior and make her live a more acceptable life. It was after her divorce that she started writing and singing songs in Kashmiri.

Later, after she had been divorced, she met and fell in love with Yusuf Shah Chak. And it was after her marriage to him that she changed her name to ‘Habba Khatoon’.

Habba Khatoon and Yusuf Shah Chak

Yusuf Shah Chak, the King of Kashmir spotted Habba Khatun singing under the shade of a chinar tree in the fields one day. Mesmerized by her melancholic melodies and stunned by her beauty, he instantly fell in love with her. He later tied the knot with her and Habba, who enchanted him with her poetry, reigned as the queen for six years. 

Everything was well between them for a few years until the time that Kashmir was annexed to the Mughal Empire. Although they had a happy marriage, fate soon drove them apart.

A popular legend says that it was at the end of six years of the marriage of Yusuf Chak and Habba Khatoon that Emperor Akbar summoned Yusuf Shah Chak to Delhi. While the accuracy of the tale that follows is dubious, this popular Kashmiri legend has survived through the years and is told generation after generation. 

When he arrived at the Mughal court, Yusuf Shah Chak was sent to a prison in Bengal right away, never to see his beloved wife ever again. He was later moved to a prison in Bihar where he died and his grave still remains. 

After two unsuccessful Army attacks on Kashmir, Akbar realized that taking Kashmir by force may not be the best way to conquer it and hence, called Yusuf Chak over to Delhi for a peaceful resolution. And in the conquest of acquiring the crown jewel of Kashmir, Akbar imprisoned Yusuf Shah Chak and throttled the romance between the two. After this incident, Habba became ascetic and wandered around the valley singing her songs for the rest of her life.

While there is little documentation of the story of Habba Khatoon and Yusuf Chak, this story has been told and retold, for years and years in the valley.

And while there may be some controversy as to what the actual story is, it is an important incident of Habba Khatun’s life as that is what gave rise to her popularity as a poetess.

Habba Khatoon’s Poetry

Throughout history, there have been several women poets from different kinds of backgrounds and walks of life who did not just consider their voices worth hearing but also dared to stand out and be heard. And Habba Khatun is one among them.

In a time when women’s poetry mostly focussed on spirituality, Habba brought romantic lyrics to hers. While her verses are bold and majorly biographical, they also have a kind of universality to them. Her poetry was strikingly different as compared to the other poets of her time as it was candid and personal.

All of Habba Khatoon’s poems were full of sorrow and some in the memory of her estranged husband. Her soul-stirring poetry is immensely popular in the valley even to this day and her verses on love and romance still captivate the Kashmiris.

Habba Khatun is also credited for introducing ‘lol’ to Kashmiri poetry. ‘Lol’ is basically equivalent to the English ‘lyric’ that conveys brief thought and Habba is known to have introduced it.

The two main incidents that influenced her poetry are the failure of her first marriage and her relationship with Yusuf Shah Chak. 

Through her poems, she remembered her love with the hopes of finding him. She also wrote of the miseries that were inflicted upon her by her in-laws. Having led a difficult life, she also talks about the perils of physical labor and even her descriptions of sweat and toil have a sense of beauty in them.

Her lyrical verses are deeply steeped in romanticism and are highly metaphorical and symbolic. Unlike the spiritual poets of her time, Habba’s verses talk of earthly love and are more pragmatic in nature.

Passed down orally through songs that women sang over the centuries, it is quite possible that the original words of Habba Khatoon poetry have been modified or reinterpreted. 

What made her poetry so powerful is that she spoke in the language of the common people and about the issues that they related with.

Along with several other great poets, Habba’s contribution to the Kashmiri literature is truly phenomenal.  

Habba Khatoon’s Legacy and Appreciation of Work

Habba’s ballads are very much alive and still sung to this day in the valley. Several contemporary Kashmiri lyricists have also acknowledged the fact that her poems have had a huge influence in their own work. And in several modern Kashmiri songs, Habba’s verses can be found.

A mountain peak in the Gurez valley of Kashmir has also been named ‘Habba Khatoon Peak’ after the great poetess. It is believed that she used to wander near this peak, and hence, the name. So if you ever get an opportunity to take a look at this gigantic mountain, you know its history and the story behind its name. Not just a mountain but an underpass in Lahore has also been named after this revolutionary poetess.

Moreover, quite a few books have also been written to honor the Nightingale of Kashmir. ‘Feminism Across Cultures: A Comparative Study of Habba Khatoon and Emily’ by Asma Shaw and ‘Habba Khatoon: The Nightingale of Kashmir’ by S. N. Wakhlu are a few of them.

A collection of Habba Khatoon poetry has also been published by the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Languages, Arts and Culture.

Interestingly, even the filmmakers of Bollywood had attempted to honor this legendary poetess by thinking of making a film on her not once, not twice but thrice. However, the films were never really completed. While the Bollywood film may never be completed but a Kashmiri film made by Srinagar Doordarshan pays a tribute to Habba Khatoon’s incredible life.


This was the story of Habba Khatoon, the last poet queen of Kashmir. Having lived a difficult life full of struggles, experiencing true love and giving the world a gift of poetry that will be treasured forever, Habba Khatoon’s life is a true inspiration. Habba Khatun died in 1609 and her tomb lies near Athwajan on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.

Strikingly different from the poets of her time, Habba Khatoon was a bold poetess that Kashmir remembers and will still remember for the generations and generations to come. To know of Habba Khatun is to know of an integral part of Kashmir and more importantly, its literature. While not many people may know her outside of Kashmir, Habaa Khatoon poetry will remain etched in Kashmir’s history forever. 

You can buy the finest variety of Kashmiri products from our online store. Ask for the best Pashmina ShawlsSalwar KameezKaftansKurtisEssential Oils, Carrier OilsWall HangingsRugs & CarpetsPaper MachePrayer RugsKashmiri FoodsKashmiri Dry Fruits, such as Kashmiri WalnutsKashmiri AlmondsDried Apricots, as well as Kashmiri Spices and top superfoods such as Pure ShilajitOrganic Saffron, and top-rated Kashmiri Honey.

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A-Z Guide to Visiting Sonamarg {Happy Travel}

A-Z Guide to Visiting Sonamarg {Happy Travel}

Nestled between the snow-clad Himalayas in the region of Kashmir is the beautiful hill station Sonamarg. When in Kashmir, Sonmarg is the perfect destination for a surreal getaway in the lap of the mountains. When translated, ‘Sonmarg’ means ‘Meadow of Gold’. 

We all know that Kashmir is fondly referred to as ‘Heaven on Earth’ and contributing to its unparalleled beauty is this quaint little town. With the tall Himalayan mountains as the backdrop, abound with natural beauty and surrounded with pristine glaciers and gushing rivers, Sonmarg is nothing short of a paradise itself. Thousands of tourists flock here every year to enjoy this piece of paradise. 

Whether you are someone who enjoys challenging treks, indulging in adventurous activities or just looking to unwind yourself from the busy city life, Sonmarg Kashmir has something for every kind of traveller. Make sure that you come equipped with a fully charged camera as the photogenic beauty of this place is something you’ll want to remember forever.

Want to know more about this picturesque hill station? Then, come along, as we take you on a virtual tour of this snowy white-wonderland.

Top places to visit in Sonmarg:

1. Nilagrad River

Nilagrad River
Nilagrad River

This gushing mountain stream adds oodles of beauty to the already breathtaking landscape of Sonmarg. Rejuvenate your senses and enjoy a moment of calm as you visit this river. You can also enjoy a little picnic here while taking in all of nature’s bounty. The river merges with the Indus at the Baltic colony. The locals here believe that the Nilagrad river has several healing properties and thus, is often considered holy. Every Sunday, several people gather here to take a bath in this supposedly holy river.

2. Thajiwas Glacier

The Thajiwas Glacier is a must visit when in Sonmarg. You can either trek all the way here or take a pony ride. This place is blessed with splendid beauty. Frozen lake, alpine trees, meadows and several waterfalls adorn the Thajiwas glacier, making its scenery look picture-perfect. This spot is perfect for all the snow lovers. You can either indulge in snow-related activities like sledding or skiing or just build a snowman or have a snow fight with your loved ones. 

3. Baltal Valley:

The Baltal valley acts as the camping ground for the pilgrims making their way to the Amarnath temple. It is located on the shores of the Sindh river and at the foot of the Zoji La Pass. This valley is known for its gorgeous scenic views. You can trek to this place or take a pony or taxi ride.

4. Zojila Pass:

Zojila Pass
Zojila Pass

The Zoji La pass is a high mountain pass connecting Sonmarg to Leh. Being one of the highest mountain passes in India, being here is quite a thrilling experience. This place brings you closer to the Himalayas. You will also get breathtaking views from here that look almost unreal.

5. Vishansar Lake

The name of the lake in Kashmiri means the ‘Lake of Vishnu’ and this lake is believed to hold a lot of significance for the Kashmiri Pandits. Surrounded by lush green meadows during the summer, you can often find some sheep grazing here. However, the lake freezes during the winter season. Like almost every other place in Sonmarg, the Vishansar lake is sure to captivate you with its beauty. 

6. Gangabal Lake

The Gangabal lake is situated at the foothills of  the Haramuk mountain. This lake is home to many types of fish. Surrounded by stunning mountains all around, this lake is a top must visit destination in Sonmarg. This is also a very popular trekking point. 

7. Gadsar Lake

The Gadsar lake is yet another picturesque lake in Sonmarg. The lake freezes from the months of November to April. You can see its floating icebergs even during the summer. This lake is also popularly known as ‘Yemsar lake’ or ‘Valley of flowers’. The Gadsar lake is one of the highest altitude lakes in Kashmir. 

8. Satsar Lake

Satsar lake or ‘seven lakes’ is a lake formed by the cluster of seven alpine lakes. Its landscape is filled with lush green meadows and colorful alpine flowers. It is a popular tourist destination and thousands of tourists flock here every year. The Satsar lake is accessible only during the summers.

9. Krishnasar Lake

A-Z Guide to Visiting Sonamarg {Happy Travel} 8
Krishansar Lake

This is one of the best lakes in Sonmarg, offering some amazing views to its tourists. Apart from beholding its beauty, you can also go fishing here. Its name in Kashmiri means ‘the lake of Krishna’. Popular among tourists, this is yet another picture-perfect spot in Sonmarg.

10. Walnut Orchards

Along with several lakes, Sonmarg is also home to some walnut orchards. When in Sonmarg, make it a point to visit one of these. Watch how walnuts blossom and ripen at this interesting place. And maybe pluck one and savor one for yourself!

Things to do in Sonmarg

Now that you know about the top spots to visit in Sonmarg, here are some things that you can do here. There are many recreational activities that you can do here. Let’s take a look at them:

– Trekking

Sonmarg Kashmir is basically a paradise for all the trekking enthusiasts. There are various short as well as long trekking trails that you can do here. You can trek your way to the various lakes here or even do the Seven lakes trek. Trekking here is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

– White Water Rafting

If you love to indulge in adventurous activities then white water rafting is one of the best things that you can do in Sonmarg. Feel the adrenaline rush as you go rafting on the Sindh river.

– Camping

Camping in Sonmarg
Valley at Sonamarg, Kashmir on a Sunny Day

One of the most exciting things that you can do in Sonmarg Kashmir is camping. This is also one of the many reasons why tourists love to visit this place. There are various camping sites in and around Sonmarg and you can choose one according to your preference. The best time to camp here is during summer.

– Trout Fishing

You can also go trout fishing in Sonmarg. Some spots where you can go fishing are the Sindh river, Krishnasar lake and the Vishansar lake. This is one of the best activities to do if you just wish to laze around and enjoy Sonmarg’s scenic beauty.

– Snow Activities

Who doesn’t love to play in the snow? Sonmarg Kashmir is also a great place to have some fun in snow. You can go skiing or sledding or indulge in other snow-related activities.

– Shopping

Now for all the shopping lovers, there’s a ‘Main Market’ in Sonamarg. This is a street market where you can find some local Kashmiri products. You can buy walnut, saffron or some authentic Kashmiri handicrafts from here. You can pick up some souvenirs from here for friends and family back home. Even if you don’t wish to shop, just take a relaxing stroll along the lanes of the market for a refreshing experience.

Accommodation in Sonmarg

Sonmarg being a prime tourist destination, all kinds of accommodations are available here. Right from cheap hotels to luxury 5-star hotels, there is something for every traveler’s budget. You can check them online and book the one that goes best with your budget.

Sonmarg Weather

Sonamarg weather is almost always cool. During summer (March to June), the weather ranges from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius. The monsoon season (July to September) here is also quite cold with temperatures ranging from 2 to 10 degrees celsius. Winters (October to February) are extremely chilly and the temperature drops below zero degrees.

What is the best time to visit Sonmarg?

The best time to visit Sonamarg is during the months of summer from March to June. This is the time you can truly enjoy Sonmarg and the weather is quite pleasant too. Even the months of monsoon from July to September are best avoided by tourists. Sonmarg Kashmir is mostly shut during the winter season due to the very harsh climate here.

How to reach Sonmarg?

The best way to reach Sonmarg would be by hiring a private cab from Srinagar. You can also board a state-run bus to reach Sonmarg. The nearest airport is the Srinagar Airport and the nearest railway station is at Udhampur in Jammu.

What is the distance from Sonmarg to Srinagar?

The distance from Sonamarg to Srinagar is about 80 kilometers. You can easily book a cab from Srinagar to get to Sonmarg. It will take you around 2 hours to reach Sonmarg from Srinagar.

What is the distance from Sonamarg to Pahalgam?

The distance from Sonamarg to Pahalgam is about 183 kilometers.

Over to You

All in all, Sonamarg’s beauty is truly out of this world. You’d enjoy each and every minute that you spend here. A trip to Sonmarg is sure to remain etched in your heart forever. In this article, we shared with you everything that you need to know to plan a trip to this paradisiacal place. Hope it helped you out. So, when do you plan to visit Sonmarg?

You can buy the finest variety of Kashmiri products from our online store. Ask for the best Pashmina Shawls, Salwar Kameez, Kaftans, Kurtis, Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, Wall Hangings, Rugs & Carpets, Paper Mache, Prayer Rugs, Kashmiri Foods, Kashmiri Dry Fruits, such as Kashmiri Walnuts, Kashmiri Almonds, Dried Apricots, as well as Kashmiri Spices and top eatables such as Pure Shilajit, Organic Saffron, and top-rated Kashmiri Honey.

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Lal Ded: The Mystic of Kashmir

Lal Ded: The Mystic of Kashmir

Fondly called as Lad Ded (Mother Lalla), Lalleshwari was a 14th century Kashmiri mystic and poet. She was the creator of Vakhs, a kind of poetry. A revolutionary mystic of her time, Lal Ded’s verses are some of the earliest Kashmiri compositions and form an integral part of the Kashmiri literature. 

Also known as Lalla or Laleshwari, Lal Ded was an ardent devotee of God Shiva. She also often used her poetry to engage with Shaivism and Sufism. Lal Ded’s verses have come down from generations to generations through the folk tradition of Kashmir and perhaps there isn’t a single Kashmiri who hasn’t heard of her.

Lalleshwari was known to be Kashmir’s rebel poetess for she challenged the ideas of caste system, social and religious discrimination and rejected conventional society. 

In this article, we get to know more about this poetess whose verses are deeply rooted in Kashmir’s culture even today. 

Life of Lala Ded

She was born sometime around 1320 to 1355 in Pandrethan in Kashmir as ‘Lalleshwari’, in a Kashmiri Pandit family. Later on, she came to be known by many names including Lalla Arifa, Lalla Yogishwari, Lalla Yogini, Laleshwari or simply Lalla. However, Lal Ded is her most recognizable and most commonly known name.

After being briefly educated in the religious texts, she was married off at the age of 12 into a family that regularly mistreated her. Her mother-in-law treated her cruelly and spoke ill of her to her husband. Lalla’s mother-in-law is known to have put stones on her plate of food and then covered it with rice. Even when she was not given proper food and always remained half-fed, Lalleshwari is known to never have complained. 

Every morning, Lal Ded left the house to fill a pot of water from the river and wouldn’t return until it was evening; in-between, she spent her time at Lord Shiva’s temple on the other side of the river. 

Soon, she found her guru in Sidh Srikanth and pursued yoga under him. And when she turned around 26, Lalla renounced her marriage and material life to become a mystic. Having given up all her possessions, she would wander around naked or in rags, chanting her verses.

Laleshwari openly questioned the elite and unassailable Sanskrit academia. It was her unprecedented courage to renounce a conventional life that made her rebel against the tradition and yet, a significant contributor to the Kashmiri culture.

Interestingly, Lal Ded most probably never saw herself as a poet. In fact, her words were merely mantras or chants that were aimed at praising God. It was her power to impact others that her listeners formed her sayings into chants and mantras. Before her Vakhs came to be published, they have been orally passed down from generation to generation in Kashmir.

She used the first person in her vakhs and also used her names quite frequently. Like, ‘I, Lalli’ or ‘I, Lal’ were commonly used by her.

Lal Ded’s Poetry in Kashmir

Lal Ded’s Vakhs will take you on a beautiful journey through the disillusionment of the world, the distress of the man, a search for God and finally, the realization of the highest truth. Her vakhs not only show her poetic genius but also depict her mystic experiences. 

Although her vakhs are quite personal, the lessons taught by them are universal. Although profound, her humanism makes it easy to relate to Lal Ded’s verses. Thus, her work is timeless and resonates with different people. 

These verses are deeply embedded in Kashmir’s culture. Generation after generation and century after century, her verses have been preserved in collective memory, in songs and in proverbs and hymns in the valley. 

Her vakhs have played a very important role in shaping the Kashmiri language and literature. In one of her well known vakhs, she emphasizes on the fact that there is no distinction between the people of different faiths. In many of her verses, she even defied the patriarchal authority of the Guru. 

One of her most significant contributions include bringing the difficult Shaiva philosophy from the confines of Sanskrit-knowing scholars to the wide spaces of the common Kashmiri-knowing people. While translating these highly evolved yet subtle concepts along with her mystic experiences into a language widely known by the masses, she not only made them easily accessible but also enriched the Kashmiri language. She successfully explained ideas and experiences that would otherwise be unreachable to the ordinary people.

Her easily recitable verses in the mother tongue made her vakhs secure a place in the collective memory of the Kashmiris.

While the beginning of Kashmiri literature is often debated, one thing is for sure- the credit for the revival of the Kashmiri dialect is owed by Lal Ded. 

Since her verses were not written down during her time, it cannot be said for sure how many of her vakhs were actually preserved. Over the many centuries, some may have been changed and some may have been made additions to. 

Lala Ded and Her Popularity

Lal Ded’s openness and her understanding of the genuine problems of the common people is what made her so immensely popular among millions. 

Even today, almost every Kashmiri, irrespective of whether he is Hindu or Muslim, literate or illiterate, is able to recite some of Lal Ded’s Vakhs. Her name in the valley is said with utmost pride, admiration and respect.

Her poetry has also been widely translated including English translations in ‘Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women (1994)’ , ‘Naked Song- Lalla (1992)’ and a lot more.

After having lived most of her life as a mystic and inspiring others, Lal Ded died sometime during the late 14th century.

Final Words on Lal Ded

All in all, Lal-Ded was a wise woman and a genius poetess with an un-shattering faith and confidence made her leave a mark on the world. By knowing more about her, there is no doubt that her contribution to Kashmiri language, culture, tradition as well as heritage is truly commendable. In fact, it is also often said- ‘Lalla is to Kashmiri what Shakespeare is to English’.

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The Kashmiri Gushtaba: How to Cook at Home?

The Kashmiri Gushtaba: How to Cook at Home?

Just like its culture, heritage, history and nature, Kashmir’s delectable food is also unmissable. With a majority of the dishes here being meat-based, Kashmiri cuisine is nothing short of a paradise for all the non-vegetarians. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing for the vegetarians.

Kashmir is a paradise for all kinds of foodies. Rogan Josh, Dum Aloo, Modur Pulao, Yakhni Lamb curry, Aab Gosht, Kahwa- the list of dishes to try here is truly endless. The food here is a beautiful amalgamation of the cuisines influenced by the Persians, Mughals, and other Central Asian Muslim cultures.

And when we are talking about Kashmir’s grand gastronomic affair, how can we not talk about the Gushtaba? ‘Gushtaba’ or gostaba is a flavorsome dish made from minced mutton meatballs in a curd-based gravy. This traditional dish is full of authentic Kashmiri flavors. It  is so good that it’ll leave you wanting for more.

In fact, the Kashmiri Wazwan – a grand feast with a whooping 36 courses is incomplete without the gostaba. And this dish is mostly served towards the end of the wazwan before the dessert. Refusing this dish is considered as an insult by the hosts. The gostaba is also a very special dish prepared for various occasions and celebrations.

Gushtaba Served in a Restaurant in Kashmir

If you have been to Kashmir and tried this dish, you probably know why it is so special. And if not, you should still definitely try it out at home.

Want to cook the wonderful gushtaba at home? Then, read on! In this article, we tell you how to cook this authentic Kashmiri Gushtaba at home. So gather all the ingredients and begin your prep for this mind-blowing dish that is sure to be a treat for your tastebuds!

Kashmiri Gushtaba Recipe:

The recipe can be divided into three steps: preparing the meatballs, cooking the meatballs and preparing the gravy. So, without any more delay, let’s get into the recipe.


Here are the ingredients that you’ll need for the gushtaba recipe:

For the meatballs:

  • 500 grams minced mutton
  • 100 grams mutton fat OR 1 egg
  • 1 small piece of ginger OR dry ginger powder
  • 2 green cardamoms finely crushed
  • Salt to taste
  • Saffron to Garnish (Optional)

For cooking the meatballs:

  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the Gushtaba gravy:

  • 1 ½ cup curd
  • 2 medium sized finely chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dry ginger powder
  • 1-2 black cardamoms
  • 3-4 green cardamoms
  • Ghee (clarified butter) – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt- as per taste

Now that we know the ingredients, let’s get into the Kashmiri Gushtaba recipe.

Step by Step Gushtaba Recipe:

  1. First, we need to ensure that the mutton is very finely minced. For this, you can either use a stone pestle or even a mixer grinder works fine. Add the minced mutton to the grinder/ food processor and grind it for about 2 minutes. Then add the salt, ginger, crushed cardamom and either mutton fat or egg (whichever one you are using) and grind this for about 2 more minutes.
  2. Now, take the finely minced mutton and transfer it to a bowl. Keep it aside for some time while we prepare the other things. 
  3. Take a large vessel and add 2 cups of water to it and heat it on a medium flame. Add salt and all the whole spices (bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves) to it. Let the water boil.
  4. As the water is boiling, take the mutton paste and start making medium-sized balls out of it. Use a little water to wet your hands for making the meatballs.
  5. After you have shaped all the meatballs, add them to the boiling water to cook them. Cook these balls in the water for a good amount of time or till they become a little tender. It should take about 10 to 15 minutes for the meatballs to cook well.
  6. While the meatballs are cooking, heat sufficient oil in a kadhai. Now, add the finely chopped onions to the oil. Cook these onions till they become slightly brown. Let the onions cool down.
  7. Meanwhile, take the 1.5 cups curd and whisk it very well. Use a little water if needed. Add a little salt to it while whisking. Now, open the green and black cardamoms and add its seeds to the curd. Also add the dry ginger powder and fennel powder and mix well. Keet the curd aside.
  8. The onions would have cooled by now. Put these onions in a mixer grinder and make a very fine paste of it.
  9. To make the gushtaba, take a heavy bottomed pan or vessel. Now, add the prepared curd to this and cook it very well until it starts boiling. But, you also need to be very careful when cooking the curd and keep stirring it continuously.
  10. Now, add the onion paste to the curd and mix well. Also add the two tablespoons ghee to it and keep cooking it. 
  11. When the curry appears to be well cooked, add the meatballs to it. You can also add the water that the meatballs were boiled in to adjust the consistency. This is not just to adjust the consistency but it will also add a good taste to the curry.
  12. Let everything cook well for a while till it starts to boil.
  13. Voila, you are done! Your Kashmiri Gushtaba is ready to serve.
  14. Optionally, you can garnish it with some fresh or dried mint leaves.
  15. Serve the hot gostaba with some steamed rice or naan/ some other bread. Indulge in and enjoy!

Over to You

Here, we shared the Kashmiri Gushtaba recipe. Even though it might seem like a long process, trust us, the gushtaba is definitely worth it. This marvelous dish is sure to leave your taste buds wanting more. Do try out this recipe for tasting a bit of the heavenly Kashmiri cuisine. Also, do let us know how you liked it!

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Everything You Need to Know About Kashmiri Tea

Everything You Need to Know About Kashmiri Tea

Along with its breathtaking beauty, Kashmir is also popular for its lip-smacking delicacies all over the world. Not just the food but Kashmir is also home to some very special and heart-warming beverages like the Kahwa and Kashmiri Noon Chai.

Kashmiri tea, or what is also known as the ‘pink tea’ is an integral part of the Kashmiri hospitality and the Kashmiri way of life. It goes by many names- Kashmiri chai, pink tea, noon chai or namkeen chai. Known as ‘Noon chai’ in the local language, the word ‘noon’ literally means salt. This tells us that this unique tea isn’t exactly the ‘sweet chai’ that we all know.

And yet, it is incredibly special and loved. Not just by the Kashmiris but also by the countless travellers who’ve tasted it; for it carries the true essence of this heavenly place and its people. 

Even though this chai can be enjoyed at all times and during all kinds of weather, there is nothing quite like a cup of hot Kashmiri chai on a cold day. It is often consumed two to three times in a day.

What is Kashmiri chai or pink tea?

The pink tea or Kashmiri tea is indigenous to the Kashmir valley. It is known for its salty taste and the pretty pink color that it has. Now you might wonder what is it that makes this tea pink? Is it a spice? No. Is it any artificial food color? No! Rose petals? Um, no!

Noon Chai

What actually makes this tea pink is a pinch of baking soda. The soda reacts with the tea leaves to give it that beautiful pink color. Sounds pretty interesting, right? Well, it certainly is.

It is made using special Kashmiri green tea leaves, water, milk, some spices, salt, a pinch of baking soda, and then topped with some chopped dry fruits and nuts for a richer taste. The pink Kashmiri chai is then served with some homemade bread, salted cookies, and some other traditional snacks for a complete tea-time experience. 

Breads of Kashmir
A traditional Bakery Shop of Kashmir

Traditionally, the noon chai is made in a kettle called ‘samavar’. However, it can also be easily made in a regular pot. In fact, the traditional kettle is now getting replaced with everyday pots.

The chai has a rich, creamy, buttery and nutty taste and it is slightly thick.  This tea feels like a warm hug; especially on a cold day. 

Not only is this chai delicious but it is also believed to be good for your health. It is beneficial for the heart, good for stomach ailments like heartburn and bloating and the tea is also believed to help in the reduction of stress and anxiety. The tea is also quite refreshing and energizing and prepares you for the long day that lies ahead.

Although the origin of this tea is unclear, one thing is for sure- the Kashmiris love this chai.

Samawar & Kahwa
Samawar & Kahwa

Now that you know what the Kashmiri chai is, let’s take a look at how it is made.

Kashmiri Tea Recipe/ Pink Tea Recipe:

Before you head out to make the Kashmiri tea recipe, you must remember that it takes time to master the art of making this tea. You may not get it right in the first attempt but it is definitely worth the time and energy.

Also, this tea is best made with the Kashmiri tea leaves. You will only get the best and the original taste with the Kashmiri leaves. However, if you don’t have it, you can use regular green tea leaves. 

Now, without any further ado, let’s get into the pink tea recipe.

Kashmiri Tea Recipe Ingredients:

Here are the ingredients that you’ll need for making the Kashmiri chai.

  • 7 to 8 cups of chilled water
  • 3 teaspoons of Kashmiri tea (or green tea)
  • Some spices (about 3 to 4 green cardamoms, a small piece of cinnamon and 1 star anise)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • Sugar as per taste (optional)
  • Some chopped almonds and pistachios for garnishing

Kashmiri Tea Recipe Instructions:

This tea requires efforts to make. So, follow the steps very carefully.

  1. Take about three cups of chilled water in a pot. Add all the spices and tea leaves to it and put it on the stove. 
  2. Bring this to a boil and add the baking soda and salt at this stage. Keep cooking it until the water has reduced to almost one cup. You will see that the tea will thicken eventually. 
  3. After the water has reduced to almost one cup, add two more cups of chilled water to it. Keep stirring it continuously.
  4. Again, you need to keep cooking this until the water has reduced to one cup again.
  5. After it has reduced to one cup, add the remaining 2-3 cups of chilled water to it and again keep cooking it until the water reduces to one cup.
  6. Thus, the base of our Kashmiri chai is now ready. Take it off the heat and strain the tea. This tea base can be refrigerated for about 4 to 5 days after it is made.
  7. Now, to make the pink tea, boil the milk. If you want it to be sweet, add some sugar to it.
  8. After the milk starts to boil, add the tea base that we had prepared. 
  9. Stir it nicely and let it boil for a few more minutes.
  10. Our Kashmiri tea is finally ready!
  11. Take 2 cups and pour tea in them. Then garnish the tea with the chopped almonds and pistachios.
  12. Voila! Now, enjoy! You can have it with some naan/ bread or cookies.

Over to You

This is basically how the Kashmiri pink tea is made. The recipe might sound complicated but the end result is definitely worth it.

Next time you visit Kashmir, don’t forget to indulge in a warm cup of this unique Kashmiri tea. But, until then, try out this wonderful recipe!

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A-Z Guide on the Dachigam National Park

A-Z Guide on the Dachigam National Park

A trip to Kashmir is basically incomplete without a visit to the Dachigam National Park. What once served as the hunting grounds for the royals, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kashmir today. This park is rich with its splendid variety of flora and fauna.

Filled with alpine trees, immaculate waterfalls, and beautiful meadows, the park looks like something straight out of a storybook. Dachigam National Park is also the abode of the endangered ‘Hangul’ or the Kashmiri stag. The Hangul is the only species of red deer found in India. At the Dachigam wildlife sanctuary, you can experience the Himalayan wilderness in its true essence. 

When translated, the word ‘Dachigam’ literally means ten villages. The park got its name owing to the ten villages that had to be relocated for the formation of the park. Quite an interesting name, isn’t it?

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Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast or a nature lover in general, this place has a lot to offer. The park is not just rich in flora and fauna but also has some great scenic spots, including various lakes.

Spend a few hours in nature’s lap and explore all the beauty that this park has to offer. So, read along and start planning your trip here with this detailed guide.

Where is Dachigam National Park?

The Dachigam National Park is situated around 22 kilometers from Srinagar, the capital of Jammu & Kashmir. It is towards the north-east side of Srinagar and located in the Zabarwan mountain range. The park is spread across an area of 141 sq. km. 

The forest area was initially owned by the then King of Jammu & Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh. And in 1910, it was declared to be a protected area. Its main purpose was to supply clean water to Srinagar city. Later on, after independence, the state government took over its management. In 1951, it was declared to be a wildlife sanctuary and in 1981, it was declared as a ‘National Park’. 

Now that you know where Dachigam national park is, let’s also know some other important details about it.

What is Upper Dachigam and Lower Dachigam?

The Dachigam National Park’s multi-faceted terrain is divided into two parts- lower Dachigam and upper Dachigam. The altitude of the lower Dachigam and higher Dachigam are at 1,700 m and 4,300 m respectively. Lower Dachigam covers about one-third of the park’s total area.

A-Z Guide on the Dachigam National Park 9
Bird in Dachigam

This is also the most accessible area for visitors. About 10 kilometers up the hill is the Upper Dachigam area. You need to trek all the way up here. The terrain is dramatically different here.

However, the upper Dachigam area is not easily accessible (especially during the time of winter) to visitors and you need to take a special permit if you wish to go all the way up there. This is because the trekking route here isn’t easy. It gets quite harsh because of its jagged and rocky terrain. Be very prepared and careful if you plan on trekking here. 

The two areas vary greatly not just in their terrain but also in their altitudes, flora as well as fauna.

Flora and Fauna of Dachigam:

Fauna of Dachigam Sanctuary:

What attracts most tourists to this park is the sighting of the rare Hangul- the only species of red deer here in India. Along with the Hangul, you can also find some hard to spot animals and birds here.

The Dachigam wildlife sanctuary is basically a paradise for animal lovers and bird watchers. So, if you love either of those, you are in for a treat! Other animals include the Himalayn black bear, brown bear, musk deer, Kashmir grey langur, leopard and jungle cat- among many others.

As for birds, the park has numerous species of birds including black bulbul, Kashmir flycatcher, golden oriole, Himalayan rubythroat, Himalayan monal, cinnamon sparrow and many more. There are around 140 different species of birds here.

Leopard in Kashmir
Leopard in Kashmir

Flora of the Dachigam Sanctuary:

The varied fauna at the Dachigam is also quite a sight to behold. The park is home to about 500 different species of herbs, 50 different types of trees and 20 different types of shrubs. It is extremely rich and includes trees like apple, peach, walnut, wild cherry, oak, chestnut, chinar, pine and poplar. For a nature lover, this is nothing short of a paradise. 

Now that we know about the park very well, let us take a look at some general information about it. Here are some things that you need to know before you visit the park.

A-Z Guide on the Dachigam National Park 10
Kashmiri Hangul

General information on the Dachigam National Park:

Best time to visit the park:

The best time to visit the Dachigam park is from April to October. The weather during these months is the most suitable for a comfortable and enjoyable visit to the park.

Dachigam Waters
Dachigam Waters

Climate of the park:

The weather here is always cold. Summer months have very pleasant weather.

How to get to the park:

Srinagar is the nearest city to the Dachigam national park. You can hire a cab or a rental vehicle from the city to the park.

How to visit the park? Are private vehicles allowed?

No, private vehicles are not allowed inside the premises of the park. The best way to explore the park is by strolling around on foot.

Timings of the park:

The Dachigam park is open from 5.30 am to 6.30 pm.

Accommodation facilities for Dachigam National Park:

There are some accommodation facilities available inside the park as well. However, you can easily look for accommodation in Srinagar as you can find a host of places to stay there. It is better to find accommodation in Srinagar as a visit to the park is mostly a few hours’ affair.

Some useful tips to visit the Dachigam National Park:

Whenever you visit a tourist place, a few tips definitely come in handy. Here are some tips for you to make your visit here a smooth sail.

Wolf in Dachigam
Wolf in Dachigam
  • It is advised that you carry some warm clothes during your visit here. The temperature can often fall down and it can get chilly.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
  • Carry your own food as water as you won’t find any inside the park.
  • If you are carrying a camera and wish to video shoot, you need to obtain a permit for that.
  • Similarly, if you wish to camp or trek to Upper Dachigam, you need a permit for that as well.
  • While exploring on foot, only stick to the designated routes.
  • Follow the sign boards inside the park.
  • It is best to take a local guide along with you to the park.
  • Please maintain the decorum of the park. Kindly do not litter, throw trash, make noises or do anything that can harm the beautiful flora and fauna of the national park.

Follow the above tips for a safe and fun-filled visit to the park.

Over to You

In this article, we shared with you all the information that you need to visit the Dachigam National Park. The greenery, wide variety of trees and plants, animals and birds make it a worthwhile place to visit. Spend a few hours away from the use of your phones and revel in all the beauty that this park has to offer. When in Kashmir, the Dachigam is a must-visit.

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The Unimaginable Beauty of Kashmir

The Unimaginable Beauty of Kashmir

“If there is a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here!”- beautifully quoted by Emperor Jahangir on Kashmir back in the 17th century, this quote still holds true almost 4 centuries later. 

Right from its picturesque mountains, dense forests, green meadows, gushing rivers and lakes to its warm and hospitable people- everything about Kashmir is supremely beautiful. 

From being the royal retreat of the Mughals to being high-up on every traveller’s list, the beauty of Kashmir has stood in its magnificent glory even in the most uncertain times. 

But, what makes Kashmir so unarguably beautiful that innumerable poets, authors, filmmakers and artists around the world have dedicated their pieces of work to this land of paradise? Let’s find out!

The Unimaginable Beauty of Kashmir: 8 Reasons to prove it

1. Picture Perfect Landscapes:

Streams of Kashmir
Streams of Kashmir

Ever been someplace so beautiful that it was hard for you to decide which of its sights was the prettiest? Well, that’s Kashmir for you. With each of its landscapes so breathtaking, it’s hard to not fall in love with the beauty of Kashmir valley. The mighty mountains, tall chinars, pristine lakes and rivers and nicely manicured gardens are a few of the many things that adorn the Kashmir valley. 

2. A nature lover’s paradise:

Flowers of Kashmir
Flowers of Kashmir

Who doesn’t love reveling in nature’s many wonders? The natural beauty of Kashmir is sure to leave you awestruck. Kashmir is abound with rich flora. You will find the magnificently large Chinar tree throughout the valley, a tree not very commonly found everywhere. This stunning color-changing tree is at the peak of its utmost beauty at the onset of autumn, making the already gorgeous Kashmir look like something straight out of a storybook.

Go a little further into the mountains and you’ll find dense forests lined with deodar, fir, pine and cedar trees. Come spring and the tulips here are in full bloom. The many fields here in Kashmir lined with colorful tulips are sure to make your stop and stare. The lush green and flowery meadows are sure to take your heart away too!

We could go on and on about the resplendent nature of Kashmir, but to experience it for yourself, you must come here at least once.

3. A land of many pristine lakes and rivers:

Dal Lake
Dal Lake

The land of Kashmir is home to numerous water bodies. There is nothing quite as calming as sitting by a lake or river and just getting lost in nature’s bounty. No matter where you go in Kashmir, you are sure to come across many pristine lakes, glaciers and rivers.

A shikara ride on the Dal lake in Srinagar is a complete experience in itself. Watching the floating gardens and markets will mesmerize you. The Wular lake is yet another famous lake near Srinagar. The Mansar and Surinsar lakes are the perfect places to spend some time relaxing and rejuvenating. Gadsar lake in Sonmarg is a hidden gem that can only be reached through a trek. Similarly, the Mansalbal lake in Ganderbal district is a bird lover’s paradise. 

Rivers like the Sindh or Indus, Lidder river, Zanskar river and many others beautify the landscape of Kashmir multifolds. 

Every lake and river offers an altogether different view and each one is sure to take your breath away.

4. The Lush Valleys:


The untamed and unspoilt valleys of Kashmir have their own charm. Aru Valley and Betaab Valley in Pahalgam, Nubra Valley in Ladakh, Zanskar in Leh, Baltal in Sonmarg and the Yusmarg valley near Srinagar are some of the top ones here. These verdant valleys are surrounded with mountains and abound with lakes, waterfalls and numerous trees and meadows. The natural beauty of Kashmir is at its peak here and will astound you in every way.

5. A land with rich culture and history:

Bridge in Srinagar
An Old Bridge in Srinagar

The beauty of Kashmir isn’t just limited to its surroundings but is also deeply rooted in its rich culture and history. Over the years, Kashmir has been ruled and loved by various rulers. So, its culture is a diverse blend influenced by various other cultures.

And it is prevalent in the day to day life of the Kashmiris. Kashmir’s rich history is prevalent in its various historic monuments like the Pari Mahal, Shalimar Bagh, Avantipur temples and Leh Palace. These monuments tell a story of an era gone long by and are pretty interesting places, especially for history enthusiasts.

Another thing that is deeply rooted in Kashmiri culture is the art of handicraft making. Kashmir is quite popular for its handicrafts right from the Pashmina shawl, carpets to paper mache and wood carving. When talking about Kashmir’s beauty, we just simply cannot ignore its rich culture and heritage.

6. Soothing Weather:

Shot from a Village in Kashmir
Shot from a Village in Kashmir

Even on the harshest of summer days, Kashmir has pretty soothing weather. So, where temperature rises over 40 degrees celsius in the rest of the country, Kashmir is the perfect place to visit. During the early winters is also a great time to visit Kashmir for an incredible snowy experience.

Kashmir basically turns into a wonderland as the winter season sets in. The snow-capped mountains and white surroundings are quite a sight to behold. The autumn season here is quite charming too. As the trees change their colors and the weather turns pleasant, Kashmir in autumn looks as pretty as a picture.

7. There is something for everyone here:

The Unimaginable Beauty of Kashmir 11
The Unimaginable Beauty of Kashmir 133

Right from the adventurous soul, the trekking enthusiast, the nature lover, leisure seeker and to every kind of person in-between, the beauty of Kashmir has something to offer to everyone. The adventurous soul can feel the adrenaline rush by taking part in various adventurous activities.

Kashmir is basically a hub for those who love adventure. Whereas, the leisure seeker can just bask in the beauty of Kashmir valley. Nobody ever leaves the Kashmir valley disappointed. 

8. The warm and friendly people:

The beauty of a place cannot be complete without its warm and friendly locals. And the same goes for Kashmir too. As soon as you set foot on this paradisiacal land, the warm people here will welcome you with open arms. 

We tried to summarize the beauty of Kashmir in 8 points. But you can only experience it for yourself when you visit this magical place. 

The whole of Kashmir is undoubtedly, very beautiful. Here are a few places whose beauty you absolutely must not miss.

Beauty of Kashmir valley in 6 places:

1. Srinagar:

The summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir, Srinagar is a city that you absolutely must visit. This is also the largest city in Kashmir. The Dal lake is one of the major reasons why tourists are attracted to this city. Staying on the stationary houseboats, a ride on the Shikara are some of the things that you must do here. This is also a paradise for all the photography enthusiasts. 

The Unimaginable Beauty of Kashmir 12

2. Gulmarg:

Also known as ‘Meadow of flowers’, Gulmarg is a beautiful place to visit. This place is also known to be one of the best skiing destinations in the world. A ride in the Gondola or the cable car is one of the top things to do here, offering a complete view of this gorgeous hill station.

Gulmarg is a true paradise for all the snow lovers and adventure seekers. The nature is also quite splendid here. Gulmarg is generously blessed with a huge variety of flowers, lakes and lush green surroundings.

3. Sonmarg:

Sonmarg is yet another splendid place to visit in Kashmir. Like the rest of the Kashmir valley, Sonmarg too, is abound with natural beauty. Participate in some adventure sports or just take some time off and marvel at nature’s bounty when in Sonmarg.

4. Pahalgam:

This is THE place to be for all enthusiastic trekkers. With some easy to the most challenging treks, Pahalgam has everything. Pahalgam is also a place that you go to when you are looking for some serenity away from the grind of daily life. With its enchanting beauty that truly looks out of this world, Pahalgam is sure to give you an experience of a lifetime.

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5. Yusmarg:

This is one of the offbeat places in Kashmir that you must visit. Head to Yusmarg for some peace and quiet and unwind yourself amidst nature. Come here once and we are sure that you wouldn’t want to leave this extremely serene place.

6. Patnitop:

Picturesque scenery is what defines Patnitop the best. With a plethora of activities to do and numerous sights to behold, Patnitop is one of the best places in Kashmir.

Over to You

Of course, these 6 places are just some of the many amazing places in Kashmir. The mountains, the rivers, the lakes, the trees, the saffron and tulip fields, the valleys- everything about Kashmir is unfathomably beautiful. It is said that the beauty of Kashmir can turn anyone into a poet. And rightly so. With a trip to Kashmir, you are in for a wonderful surprise. It is an experience of a lifetime, a memory to cherish forever.

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Ultimate Guide Unveiling the Beauty of Pahalgam

Ultimate Guide Unveiling the Beauty of Pahalgam

Situated away from the hustle and bustle of city life, around 95 kilometers east of Srinagar, is the quaint little town of Pahalgam. Surrounded by the Himalayas and abound with natural beauty, Pahalgam draws thousands of tourists from all over the world every year.

This hill station is full of scenic beauty and laden with tall pine trees, gushing rivers, meadows, and mountains all around. The picturesque Lidder river gushes through this gorgeous town, making it even more beautiful. Originally inhabited by shepherds, Pahalgam is popularly known as the ‘Valley of Shepherds’.

Whether you are looking for some peace and quiet away from the grind of everyday life or a trekker looking for some adventure, Pahalgam is sure to leave you awestruck. Pahalgam, with its movie-like settings, even has the Bollywood world captivated. Quite a lot of Bollywood movies like Haider, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani and Jab Tak Hai Jaan have been shot here. 

Pahalgam truly has a charm of its own. Let’s delve deeper into the beauty of this place and get to know the little town that travelers around the world have an undying love for, a little better.

Why is Pahalgam Kashmir famous?

Pahalgam is famous for its mesmerizing beauty. Its beauty combined with the perfect weather and lush green surroundings makes it the number one destination for tourists running to Kashmir. A trip to this magical place is sure to rejuvenate your mind and body like nothing else. Be prepared to be astounded with Pahalgam’s breathtaking landscapes.

Pahalgam’s setting also makes it ideal for various adventure activities like trekking, river rafting and trout fishing. Unleash the adventurous spirit in you by indulging in many such activities that this place has to offer. And as for the less adventurous ones, can just sit, relax and get lost in Pahalgam’s old world charm.

So, have you mentally started planning a trip here yet? If not, we give you more reasons to add this place to your bucket list!

Best places to visit in Pahalgam Kashmir:

Here are the top 10 best places to visit in and around Pahalgam Kashmir.

1. Betaab Valley:

Ultimate Guide Unveiling the Beauty of Pahalgam 13
Betab Valley

Just close your eyes and imagine the sound of a river gushing by, the chirping of birds, tall pine and deodar trees and mountains as far as you can see. Sounds like a picture-perfect scenery, doesn’t it? Well, that’s exactly how the Betaab valley is!

Betab Valley is around 15 kilometers from Pahalgam and falls on the route to the Amarnath temple. Previously called Hagan Valley, it was renamed after the blockbuster movie ‘Betaab’ was shot here. You can have your own little Bollywood moment here. Go horseback riding or you can also have a picnic here. Just grab some food, find your favorite spot, and soak in all the beauty that this place has to offer, one sight at a time.

2. Sheshnag Lake:

Sheeshnag Lake
Sheeshnag Lake

This lake is situated around 23 kilometers from Pahalgam. This spot is also on the way to the Amarnath temple and pilgrims on this yatra visit this lake before moving towards the temple. You can either get here by trekking or take a horse ride.

According to legend, Lord Shiva is believed to have left a ‘sheshnag’ at this place. While another legendary story suggests that sheshnag himself dug this lake and made it his abode. Till date, the sheshnag or ‘king of snakes’ is believed to live here. This beautiful lake, with its clear water, is a treat to the eyes.

3. Aru Village and Valley:

Aru Valley
Aru Valley

This is yet another valley situated near Pahalgam. Aru Valley is popular for its meadows. You can take a day’s trip here. Take a horse ride or just trek along the way. Head here for some tranquility or take part in adventure sports like ziplining, paragliding or river-crossing. Aru valley is also the starting point for numerous treks; the Kolahoi glacier trek being one of them.

4. Chandanwari:

Chandanwari Road End

Chandanwari is the starting point for the Amarnath Yatra. This is a must-visit place for all snow lovers. You can indulge in snow fights to sledge rides or just play in the snow here. The enchanting Sheshnag river travels through this place, making its landscape even more beautiful. That and the snow-capped mountains make this place a must-visit.

5. Tulian Lake:

tulian lake
Tulian Lake

Pahalgam is full of lakes and the Tulian lake is one such lake that beautifies Pahalgam all the more. Snuggled between the Pir Panjal and Zanskar mountain ranges, is the Tulian Lake. Its crystal clear blue water is a beautiful surprise for the eyes. You can either take a horse ride or trek all the way here. The trek is often challenging but the view at the end of it is totally worth it!

6. Mamal Temple:

Also known as Mamaleshwar temple, this is one of the oldest temples in Pahalgam. The Mamal temple lies along the Kolahoi glacier and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This small temple is one of the top tourist attractions in Pahalgam.

7. Baisaran Valley:

This place is popularly known as ‘Mini Switzerland’, owing to its meadows having a striking resemblance to those in Switzerland. Surrounded with lush green pine trees, Baisaran valley has breathtaking scenery. It cannot get any more beautiful than this, can it? Take a short trip here and revel in nature’s bounty. This is also a great camping site for trekkers.

8. Avantipur Temple:

Avantipur Temple
Temple Ruins

The King Avantivarman built this temple during his reign from AD 855-883. This place had two temples- the Avantishwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Avantiswami temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Today, all that is left of it are beautiful ruins telling the story of an era gone long by. This is an extremely interesting site; especially if you are intrigued by history and heritage. When in Pahalgam, do visit this place.

 9. Pahalgam Golf Course:

If you are looking to do a fun activity, you can go for some golfing. If you are an expert golfer, this 18-hole golf course is the best place for you. If not, you can even take up some golfing lessons. This is a great place for travellers visiting Pahalgam for leisure.

10. Kolahoi Glacier:

The only way to get to this spot is through a laborious trek. This is a tough trek and if you are an experienced trekker, you can add this place to your ‘must-visit’ in Pahalgam. The Kolahoi glacier offers some pretty stunning views. 

Things to do in Pahalgam Kashmir:

  • This hill station is a paradise for trekking enthusiasts. There are many trekking routes here including Chandanwari, Tulian Lake, Sheshnag Lake and many more.
  • Take a horse ride to the major tourist attractions like Betaab Valley and Baisaran Valley.
  • Go white river rafting in the Lidder river.
  • Go trout fishing. However, you need to obtain a permit for this.
  •  Enjoy a golfing session.
  • Go for a picnic.

How to reach Pahalgam?

Well, now you know the best places in Pahalgam. But, how do you reach there? Here’s how:

If you are travelling by flight, the nearest airport is the Srinagar Airport which is about 90 kilometers from Pahalgam. From there, you can either take a taxi or a bus to this hill station.

The other way to reach is by rail. The nearest railway station is Udhampur railway station, 218 kilometers from this town. You can then hire a taxi from here. 

However, the best option would be to book a private taxi from Srinagar.

Best time to visit?

Now that you know almost all details about this gorgeous little town, the next important question that comes to mind is- What is the best time to visit?

Pahalgam has very pleasant weather during the summer season. This makes the months of April to June a peak season for tourists. However, if you love snow and would love to visit this place in all its white winter glory, you can also take a trip here during the winter months. This is an especially great time to visit if you love indulging in snow-related activities.


Right from cottages and guest houses to resorts and 5-star hotels, Pahalgam offers excellent accommodation to suit every traveller’s budget. For the backpacker, there are great economic options. For the leisure traveller looking to spend a few days in the lap of luxury, there are top-notch hotels with spas and other state of the art amenities.

Pahalgam Amarnath Yatra:

Interestingly, Pahalgam is also the place where the annual Amarnath Yatra begins. It is one of the two base camps for the yatra; the second one being the Sonmarg-Baltal route. However, this is the route that pilgrims most commonly take. The holy Amarnath cave is around 45 kilometers from Pahalgam. The route begins at Pahalgam and the first place that pilgrims reach is Chandanwari, which is about 16 kilometers from Pahalgam. The next point is Sheshnag, about 12 kilometers from Chandanwari. Then, Sheshnag to Panchtarni is around 14 kilometers. And finally, from Panchtarni, the holy caves are around 6 kilometers away.

All in all, Pahalgam is a place with supremely beautiful scenery. A trip here is truly a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.

If you wish to buy dry fruits, premium quality attar perfumes, himalayan shilajit, organic honey, and kesar, you must visit our shopping page.

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Dal Lake: The Heart of Srinagar

Dal Lake: The Heart of Srinagar

Kashmir’s beauty is unmatched and the place is called ‘Paradise on Earth’. Making this place so beautiful are nature’s many blessings- mountains, lakes, lush green trees that wonderfully come together and form the beautiful place that Kashmir is.

And one such wonder is this scenic lake. One of the many reasons why tourists are drawn to Srinagar is due to what is often referred to as ‘Jewel of Srinagar’- the Dal lake. Considered to be the most beautiful lake, Dal jheel or lake is the second largest lake in the state. It covers an area of about 15 kilometers. 

Interestingly, this lake has five basins and numerous intricate waterways and canals that beautifully interconnect with each other. It is a shallow lake with a minimum depth of 5 ft. and maximum depth of 20 ft.

Dal Lake: The Heart of Srinagar 14

Any time one thinks of Srinagar, the first thing that comes to is this gorgeous lake. It is as if this lake has almost become a symbol of tourism in Srinagar and Kashmir. There is so much more to the lake than its pristine water. In this article, we take you along to explore its magnificence and tell you what makes it so incredibly special.

The Beauty of Dal Lake

Just imagine a scene that goes like this- A large lake with snow-capped mountains surrounding three of its sides, signature Kashmiri style houseboats and colorful shikaras that afloat the lake and the stunning Mughal gardens and orchards lined on its banks. Overlooking the lake are two hillocks that house the Shankaracharya and Hari Parbat temples. Yes, that is just how picturesque the Dal lake is. And the Dal lake images are a testimony to this fact.

Moreover, the floating gardens on the Dal have a magic of their own. They are an ecological system in the lake. Farmers residing here are dedicated to growing crops and vegetables on this lake. Over 6,000 families depend on these floating gardens for their livelihood. The produce obtained is then sold in local markets throughout Srinagar.

Its beauty hasn’t just attracted tourists all over the world but quite a lot of filmmakers as well. As many as 20 films have been shot in and around this area. Some of the most popular ones include Kashmir ki Kali, Lamhaa, Kabhi Kabhi and Dil se- among many others.

The temperature here varies between 12 to 30 degrees celsius during the summer and about 1 to 11 degrees celsius during the winters. If the temperatures fall down extremely low during severe winter, Srinagar witnesses a frozen Dal lake.

The History and Origin of Dal Lake Srinagar

There are basically two theories that suggest how the lake originated. One historical theory backed by geologists suggests that the lake is actually a post-glacial lake that formed after the Pleistocene period. While another theory suggests that the Dal lake simply formed from flood spillage.

During their reign in India, the Mughal rulers designated Srinagar as their summer resort. They defined the boundaries of the lake by building Mughal-style gardens as resorts to experience Srinagar’s splendid beauty during the months of summer.

Several years later, during the rule of the British in India, the Britishers also designated Srinagar as their summer resort. The Britishers weren’t allowed to buy land and build houses in the Kashmir valley. Although, they found a legal loophole in this rule- that there was no restriction on living on water. As a result, they built houseboats. Even though the houseboats in the Dal lake are made in the traditional Kashmiri style, they still have a hint of colonial feel to them even today.

The beauty of Dal lake Kashmir has stood the test of time and has carved a place for itself in its beholders’ hearts through the years.

Dal Lake Kashmir and Floating Markets

Dal Lake: The Heart of Srinagar 16

Yet another fascinating thing that makes the Dal jheel stand apart is its floating markets. There are many wonderful stories that surround the Dal lake and one such story is that of its floating markets. It is one of the most famous markets of its kind in the world.

Wake up at the crack of dawn and head to the Dal lake to witness its beauty from a different perspective. It is quite an adventure in itself- watching the local farmers wearing the traditional pherans making their way through the lake on their respective shikaras, selling the fresh produce that they obtain from their floating gardens. There are as many as hundred boats that gather here every morning.

All of these farmers gather in the middle of the lake.with their boats laden with a variety of vegetables and start calling out to the buyers in the local dialect. The business is at its peak during this hour and everything is wrapped up by the time the sunlight just begins to hit the water. 

The exchange lasts for hardly an hour. After this, everyone makes their way back to their respective homes; making it seem as though the market never existed. This wonderful scenario also portrays the life of local Kashmiris residing here, giving you an insight into the Kashmiri way of life.

Whenever you find yourself in Srinagar, make sure to visit the Dal lake early in the morning. We guarantee you that it is an experience that you’ll remember and cherish forever!

Wow, just the thought of this makes us want to be transported here immediately. Doesn’t it make you feel the same way too?

The Shikaras and Houseboats of Dal lake Kashmir

Dal Lake: The Heart of Srinagar 18


A shikara is nothing but a small carved wooden boat. This is one of the top attractions of the lake and the city. The shikaras are often compared to the ‘Gondolas’ of Venice. These boats are an integral part of the day-to-day life of Kashmiris residing in Srinagar. It is as if, with these shikaras, there is a whole another world in the Dal lake. Right from vegetables and baked goods to doctors and tailors- you will find everything on these tiny wood boats!

These boats are also used for transportation of people. There is nothing quite like a shikara ride along the Dal lake. Refresh your mind and relax your body as you prepare to set out on this epic adventure. The ride offers breathtaking panoramic views of the lake and its surroundings. When visiting Srinagar, a shikara ride is high up on the travellers’ must-do list. An extremely joyous ride, every minute spent on the boat is worthwhile. Come equipped with a fully charged camera as every portion of the lake shows an altogether different picture of the gorgeous city and it’s hard to decide which sight is prettier- the one you just saw or the one that you’re about to see next.


Dal Lake: The Heart of Srinagar 19

Your trip to Kashmir is incomplete without a stay at the houseboats in Dal lake. Unlike many houseboats in other parts of India, the Kashmiri houseboats are stationary. A houseboat, as the name goes is nothing but a house made inside a boat. It has all the amenities that a traveller would need. Houseboats typically have 5 to 6 rooms.

A houseboat is the perfect example of ‘comfort meets luxury’; but, at an affordable price. The houseboats are designed in an antique style that give you the feel  of nothing short of a royalty. These houseboats are also examples of what a typical Kashmiri home looks like, with every inch of the boat carefully decorated with classic Kashmiri-style decor.

Once in, the caretakers will spoil you with their warm hospitality- something you aren’t bound to forget anytime soon. 

Aboard these wonderful houseboats to have an experience of a lifetime. Wake up to a picturesque setting of the mountains. Relax on the deck and watch the mesmerizing sunrise and sunsets.

Take a shikara ride to and fro from your houseboat and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Dal lake and maybe buy some flowers and other goodies to bring back to your houseboat. Just relax and take this time to rejuvenate your mind and soul and let the pristine waters calm and soothe you down. 

While many boats offer food on request, you can relish the lip-smacking authentic Kashmiri delicacies. Right from basic to royal and exquisite, there are houseboats to suit every traveller’s budget.

When residing on these houseboats, you can also take shikara rides to the famous tourist destinations like the Mughal Gardens and the Hazrat Bal.

What is the best time to visit the Dal jheel?

The best time would be to visit from May to November.

Right from providing a means of livelihood to the locals to providing a once in a lifetime experience to its tourists, the Dal lake’s splendour is unmatched. Come here once and experience its charm for yourself; and we are sure you’d want to come back again, and again.

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Everything that You Need to Know About Kashmiri Paper Mache Crafts

Everything that You Need to Know About Kashmiri Paper Mache Crafts

When we think of Kashmiri arts and crafts, the first few things that come to mind are shawls, carpets, rugs, and probably woodwork and embroidery. However, something that the world does not know is that Kashmir is also very well-known for its paper mache crafts. Today, the paper mache handicraft is as ingrained in Kashmir’s culture as any other handicraft. 

We know paper mache as the craft that we made for school projects or during vacations as kids. But, the Kashmiri paper mache craft is a true art that has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries.

It is hard to imagine that something made out of waste paper could look so beautiful and elegant.  The Kashmiri craftsmen are so amazingly skilled that they can turn even discarded paper into an attractive work of art.

Buy Authentic Kashmiri Handicrafts from Kashmirica

‘Paper mache’ is a French term which when translated literally means ‘chewed paper’. This art is said to have originated in China hundreds of years ago.

In this article, we share with you everything that you need to know about the Kashmiri Paper Mache crafts. 

The History of Kashmiri Paper Mache Crafts

The origin of the paper mache crafts in Kashmir dates back to as early as the 15th century.  And the credit for bringing this art form to Kashmir is believed to go to the eighth ruler of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin. He came across this art during his time as a Kashmiri prince in Samarkand, Central Asia. That was when he was intrigued by paper mache handicraft. 

When he returned to Kashmir, he brought many craftsmen along with him to the valley to train his subjects on the same. 

Yet another legend suggests that this art was introduced in Kashmir by a poet and Sufi saint called Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani. He came to Kashmir from Iran in the mid 14th century. He brought along with him 700 artisans from Iran. These artisans are thought to have taught the local Kashmiris various art forms; and paper mache craft was one of them.

No matter what the story of its origin, this art was made highly popular during the Mughal rule. 

The art was originally known by its Iranian name Kar-i-Qalamdani in Kashmir. The word ‘Qalamdani’ is basically pen case. Initially, this art was only restricted to making pen cases.

But, through the years, the art of paper mache has tremendously grown in the valley with numerous items available these days.

Famous Papier Mache Kashmiri Items

On your visit to Kashmir, you will find a host of paper mache items ranging in various sizes. You will find shops and shops lined across the street selling them. Paper mache items also make the perfect souvenirs to carry back home. Pick an item that resonates the most with you- as a fond memory of your trip to Kashmir, something to remember forever! 

You will find jewellery boxes, storage boxes, coasters, bowls, trays, pencil stands and a lot more. You will also find decor items such as vases, miniature hookah pots, photo frames, eggs, small elephants and an array of other decor items. 

Paper mache handicraft isn’t just used for utility items but for perking up living spaces too. If you are looking for something bigger, papier mache is also used for making furniture pieces like stools, small chests and cabinets, and lamps.

Each and every artifact is so beautifully painted that it is hard to not fall in love with every piece that you come across. 

Not just for making products, this art has also been used to decorate walls in historic places like the Shah-e-Hamdan mosque and the Naqshband shrine in Kashmir.

How are Kashmir Paper Mache Crafts Made?

The artisans involved in this profession are supremely skilled and practice the art for years and years. This art has also traditionally existed as a family profession in Kashmir. And like many other Kashmiri handicrafts, the trick and technique behind it gets passed on from one generation to another.

How is Paper Mache Made?

Even though the idea behind this handicraft might sound relatively simple, it is a very time-consuming process and requires a lot of precision. It basically involves two main steps- Sakthsazi (making of the actual item) and Naqashi (the painting and decoration part).

Now, let’s take a look at the making of paper mache handicrafts in detail.


The sakthsazi is the one involved with making the object with the pulp of paper. First of all, the waste paper is soaked in water for several days. Then, a mixture of the soaked waste paper, cloth and the straw of a rice plant is pounded manually in a stone mortar. This is pounded until the mixture becomes very fine and forms a pulp. Then, a rice based glue called ‘Atij’ is combined with this pulp mixture.

This complete mixture is then applied onto the desired mould and then left to dry for a few days. After it has dried out, the artwork is very carefully separated from the mould. The artwork is basically cut in two halves to separate it from the mould and the halves are carefully joined with the help of glue. The resultant object that is obtained is known as ‘Kalib’. 

Then, for the next step, the kalib is handed over to the women. This process is referred to as ‘Pishlawun’. As the next step, the women smoothen out the surface of the artwork with either a stone, baked clay or a wooden file.

After the object is nicely smoothened out, it is coated with a light layer of paint/ lacquer. It is coated again with a second coat of lacquer mixed with some chalk powder and water. This is again left to dry out for some time.

After the sakthsazi’s work is done, the artwork/ object is handed over to the Naqash.


When the object reaches the Naqash, it is first covered with thin sheets of butter paper. The butter paper is pasted so that it acts as a barrier between the main object and the paintwork so that the object doesn’t crack. After covering with butter paper, a thin coat of paint is applied all over the artwork. 

This is actually the step where the object is transformed into the beautiful piece of paper mache handicraft that we know. This work is also very intricate and usually takes about 3 days to a week. The designs are first drawn free hand on the object and then they are painted. The designer uses various different motifs like flowers, fruits, birds, creepers etc.

Mostly metallic paints are used for an illuminated effect. After the motifs are painted, often gold or silver is used to highlight them. Mostly the colors that are used for painting are all organic and either nature or vegetable-based. When the whole painting procedure is completed, the final step involves covering the artwork with a layer of varnish for an added shine.

This is the whole procedure that goes into making paper mache crafts. It is an extensive process that requires a lot of patience and attention to detail. But, the whole process is worth it as the end result is absolutely stunning.

Even though these handicrafts are made using paper, the extensive process that goes into making them is what makes these handicrafts extremely durable. Each of these individually created items has a unique story to tell. The Kashmir paper mache crafts are largely pursued by the Shia sect of the Kashmiri Muslims.

Popular Papier Mache Kashmir Motifs

Some popular motifs that are used in paper mache Kashmir include:

  • Designs inspired by the Mughal era
  • Flowers within flowers
  • Numerous floral patterns
  • Hazara or thousand flowers pattern
  • Birds
  • Jungle and its scenes
  • The majestic Chinar tree of Kashmir
  • Almond designs
  • Geometrical designs
  • And many more..

Your trip to Kashmir is basically incomplete without buying a beautiful artifact made with paper mache. Even if you don’t visit Kashmir, this beautiful artifact is a must-have for every handicraft lover. 

Over to You

While Kashmir takes immense pride in its beautiful paper mache crafts, its demand and sale have seen a decline in the recent years. Although we all take a lot of pride in our centuries-old traditions and art forms, we often fail to sustain the artisans who toil hard to keep our traditions alive.

The paper mache handicraft isn’t just a source of livelihood for thousands of Kashmiri artisans but also an integral part of India’s cultural lineage. We hope that this beautiful art form continues to grace the rich culture of Kashmir and more and more generations to come. 

If you are looking to buy paper mache crafts, you can check out our extensive collection and buy a gorgeous piece online. As we at Kashmirica, have pledged to bring exclusive Kashmiri goods at the fingertips of the global audience.

You can buy the finest variety of Kashmiri products from our online store. Ask for the best Pashmina Shawls, Salwar Kameez, Kaftans, Kurtis, Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, Wall Hangings, Rugs & Carpets, Paper Mache, Prayer Rugs, Kashmiri Foods, Kashmiri Dry Fruits, such as Kashmiri Walnuts, Kashmiri Almonds, Dried Apricots, as well as Kashmiri Spices and top superfoods such as Pure Shilajit, Organic Saffron, and top-rated Kashmiri Honey.

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What is a Pashmina? A Complete Overview

What is a Pashmina? A Complete Overview

People have various notions about Pashmina. Some think of it to be a goat, some a thread, some a form of embroidery. So ‘what is a pashmina’?

Well, Pashmina is a super fine quality of wool that comes from a particular species of goat. This wool is then used to make shawls and scarfs that go by the same name. Simply put, a Pashmina is a super soft and super warm luxury shawl that is indigenous to the beautiful valley of Kashmir.

While only a few have the eye for a true Pashmina, many believe that every shawl that comes from the Kashmir region qualifies as a Pashmina.

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Now that we have a general idea, let’s dig deeper and know this shawl better.

What is a Pashmina?

The Pashmina is made from the wool of a particular kind of goat that is native to Kashmir. This goat is called the ‘Changthangi’ goat or Capra Hircus or it is also popularly referred to as the ‘Pashmina goat’. The word Pashmina comes from the word ‘pashm’, which itself means soft wool.

The temperatures in some areas in Kashmir often fall as low as -40 degrees celsius during the winters. The Changthangi goat develops a special kind of wool to resist against such low temperatures. Later, when the spring season sets in, these goats shed their wool; which is then used in the making of a Pashmina.

A Pashmina Shawl is the perfect epitome of luxury, comfort and class. It is much desired by women all across the globe. 

What is the history of Pashmina?

There are various theories that suggest how the Pashmina originated. It is said that the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin introduced pashmina to the world. Whereas, another theory suggests that a Persian Sufi named Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani who arrived in Kashmir with 700 Persian artisans sometime during the 14th century introduced the art of Pashmina. 

Even though the exact story of its origin can be a bit controversial, Kashmir has been an expert of the art for centuries and centuries.  

It is also said that the great French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte presented a Pashmina shawl to his wife Josephine. And the shawl impressed her so much that she is known to have owned many of them.

Before the 20th century, only royals would own a Pashmina. There are various royal families that are known to have spent fortunes on them. But, times eventually changed and industries evolved greatly. And his beautiful piece of art became accessible to everyone not just in India but in the rest of the world as well.

Through the years, the Pashmina has maintained its reputation as the most luxurious yet comfortable shawl that is known to man and yet somehow, it has evolved too. Centuries later, Pashmina is still known to be a status symbol and hasn’t lost its prestige at all. 

Pashmina and Cashmere: Same or Different?

The answer? Same, yet different! People often confuse between the two.

One thing that is different between these two is that- Pashmina is made from the wool that is obtained from the Changthangi goats. It is super fine and each of its fibres has a diameter of around 10 to 15 microns. Pashmina wool can only be spun by hand. Pashmina wool is also quite rare. 

Whereas, the wool for cashmere shawls can be obtained from any kind of goats and not just the Changthangi goats. It has a diameter of about 15 to 18 microns. This wool is super fine too but not as fine as the Pashmina wool. This is the major difference between Pashmina and Cashmere. Cashmere wool can be spun using machines. This means, cashmere wool can easily be found.

Although, nowadays, these two are often confused with each other. ‘Cashmere’ is, in fact, an Anglicised term for Pashmina. During the 18th century, various Europeans visited India and returned back to their countries with various Pashmina shawls as gifts. And instead of calling them ‘Pashmina’ they re-named them to ‘Cashmere’ (denoting the place where it belongs- Kashmir).

How is a Pashmina Shawl Made?

The way Pashmina shawls are woven hasn’t really changed since centuries. Till date, traditional methods are used in weaving a Pashmina. The process of weaving a Pashmina shawl is called ‘Wonun’ and the weaver weaving it is called ‘Wovur’.

This is how a Pashmina is Made: Process of Making Pashmina Shawl

First, the wool/ yarn is obtained.

Around 4 to 8 iron rods are already fixed on the ground. The wool yarn is first wound around these rods. The rods are usually spread across an area of 10 meters. A person has to walk across these rods multiple times while winding the yarn across them. This is how the warp gets made.

The yarn is then stretched and perfected.

It is then dried out in the sun and then wound again on wooden spindles.

Then, the yarn goes on the handloom where expert weavers weave it by hand.

Since the Pashmina wool is so fine that it cannot be spun using machines. Hence, each and every process that goes into making a Pashmina shawl is done using hands.

It takes a few days for a Pashmina shawl to be made.

After the wool is weaved into a beautiful shawl, an amazingly skilled embroiderer works his magic next. The shawl is then covered with beautiful, colorful embroidery. At the end of the embroidery process, the shawl is first washed and ironed before it reaches the stores to be sold.

What makes a Pashmina so expensive and special?

A Pashmina’s warmth is incomparable. Since the Changthangi goats need to survive extreme cold temperatures, they develop a thick fur which helps them in resisting the temperatures. This gives the Pashmina a warmth like no other! A Pashmina isn’t just known for its warmth but also for its softness and lightweightedness. Only someone who owns a Pashmina knows why all this craze surrounds it. 

Every time you step out wearing a Pashmina shawl, you don’t just have something that’ll keep you super warm but you’ll also make a style statement. A Pashmina can add oodles and oodles of grace to any outfit. 

Not to forget, with a Pashmina, you also own a beautiful piece of heritage and legacy that has been passed on from generations to generations. It is truly a timeless piece. 

What makes a Pashmina shawl or scarf so expensive is the process that goes behind it. Since everything is done using hands, it can take several days and in some cases months to craft a single shawl. Another factor that makes it expensive is the rarity of the wool. The artisans toiling hard to craft the perfect piece of Pashmina for their customers are also amazingly skilled and working in the industry for years. All of this makes a Pashmina shawl truly worth each penny! 

What is a Pashmina scarf?

A scarf or a stole that is made using the wool from the Pashmina or Changthangi goats can be called a Pashmina scarf.

What is a Pashmina wrap?

A shawl or a scarf that you can use during the winters and is made from the Pashmina wool can be called a Pashmina wrap. A Pashmina can be wrapped around in various styles.

What is a Pashmina scarf made of?

A Pashmina scarf is made from the wool of a type of goat called the Changthangi goat. The wool gets weaved into a beautiful scarf.

How to identify Real Pashmina?

Now that you know what is a Pashmina scarf and what is a Pashmina shawl, it is important to know whether the shawl/ scarf you want to buy is real or not. Here is how you tell whether a Pashmina is real or not:

  1. The Burn test: Take a thread from your shawl/ scarf and burn it. If it smells like burnt hair, the Pashmina is most likely real.
  2. The weave: Test a pashmina shawl under natural light. If you see irregular weaves, the Pashmina is real. Since a real Pashmina is handwoven, its weave will have some irregularities as opposed to unauthentic Pashminas woven using machines.
  3. Rubbing test: Rub the shawl using your fingers. If it generates tiny sparks, the Pashmina isn’t genuine.
  4. The Price: A real Pashmina comes at a price. If you find a vendor selling it at unbelievably low prices, don’t fall for it as the Pashmina being sold in this case isn’t real.
  5. Shine: Unauthentic pashminas usually exhibit a lot of shine. If the Pashmina looks shiny, ditch it and look for better vendors selling genuine ones.

Over to You

We hope this article cleared your doubts on ‘What is a Pashmina?’.When you decide to buy a Pashmina, remember all the hard work that goes into making one. Buy only from authentic sellers as there is a whole market dedicated to selling fake Pashmina shawls.

You can check Kashmirica’s Shopping Page for Exclusive, Authentic Products from Kashmir

Also Read:

The Story of Shahtoosh: World’s Most Expensive Fabric

The Story of Shahtoosh: World’s Most Expensive Fabric

Shahtoosh or shahtush or simply toosh, is a type of luxury shawl made from the most expensive fabric in the world. It is a Persian word which literally translates to ‘king of fine wools’.

NOTE: Buying & Selling of Shahtoosh is illegal. We do not sell or buy this fabric. This post about Shahtoosh is purely for information purposes.

This super soft and super warm shawl is handwoven in the valley of Kashmir. To own a shahtoosh scarf or shawl is to lighten your pockets by several thousand dollars! And a few decades ago, people happily did so.

But, what is it that makes this shawl so exquisite? That at one point, the most elite of the elite class of not just India but also the US as well as other countries boasted to have owned at least one of these; before it became illegal to own one.

Right from supermodels and actresses to other celebrities- the shahtoosh scarf was a prized possession among them all.

Now that we have an idea about the world’s most expensive fabric, let’s delve deeper and see what all the fuss is that surrounds this type of shawl and what makes it so special.

What is Shahtoosh?

Shahtoosh is the finest quality of fabric that is known to man. Each of its fibres is only about 7 to 10 microns and it is considered to be one-sixth of that of a human hair. This fabric is used to make luxury shawls and scarves, popularly known as shahtoosh shawls. 

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The fabric is procured from the underfur of a species of an Antelope; locally called the ‘Chiru’. The antelope is native to the Tibetan plateau. Chiru is a migratory animal that lives at super-high altitudes of about 5,000 meters and develops the ‘underfur’ in order to survive the extremely cold and harsh weather conditions. 

Back in the day, when shahtoosh shawls were legal, poachers would hunt down the Tibetan antelope and slaughter it to obtain its fur. 

What is a Shahtoosh Shawl?

A shawl that is made using the shahtoosh fabric is a shahtoosh shawl. This shawl is super popular throughout the world for its warmth, comfort and softness. It was once an object of desire for people across the globe. People have claimed to be addicted to the impressive beauty that it has and have described it as ‘nothing else in the world’.

For decades, Kashmir has been the only place where this shawl is expertly manufactured. In fact, expert weavers had careers dedicated only to weaving these shawls.

The Origin of Shahtoosh

The origin of the shawl is believed to date back to the 16th century, during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. It is believed that he had a great passion for these shawls and was the owner of quite a few of them. In fact, shawl factories flourished and became a major source of income in Kashmir during the Mughal rule. That is, interestingly, also when the wool received its name -‘Shahtoosh’.

Until about Shah Jahan’s rule (1666), the toosh shawls were reserved for use only by the royals. Later, with changing times, the shawls became accessible to the commoners as well. The shawls soon gained popularity and became a status symbol for the elite class around the world.

Thus, the trade of the shahtoosh began and influenced the market for a long, long time. These were also traditionally gifted at weddings back in the day.

Types of Toosh Shawls

Basically, there are three types of this shawl. The types are categorized by the fabric used. They are:

  • 16 Dani or Shurah Dani: This is the 100% pure toosh shawl; made only with the toosh fabric
  • 12 Dani or Bah Dani: This type comprises of 75% toosh mixed with 25% pashmina
  • 8 Dani or Aeth Dani: This type is a combination of 50% toosh and 50% pashmina

How Long Does it Take to Make a Shahtoosh?

The shahtoosh shawls are only handwoven by the master artisans of Kashmir. The weaving of this shawl is a traditional art and many weavers are only dedicated only to exclusively weaving these shawls. The shawls are traditionally woven making the use of handlooms.

Since the fabric is super fine, machines cannot be used and everything needs to be done using hands. As a result of the extensive process, it takes a weaver anywhere from a month to a year to craft a single toosh shawl.

What makes the Shahtoosh so Expensive?

For manufacturing a shawl/ scarf, the process that goes behind it is quite labor-some and lengthy. First, the fur is obtained from the antelopes. The antelopes are hunted for this purpose. After the fur is obtained, weavers in Kashmir make use of handlooms to weave the fabric.

Every process right from obtaining the wool to manufacturing a shawl is done using hands by amazingly skilled craftsmen. 

To manufacture just one shawl, around 350 grams of wool/ fur is needed. One Tibetan antelope gives about 125 grams of wool. Hence, to make just one shawl, wool from 3 antelopes is required! This is one of the major reasons that makes it expensive.

But, this isn’t the only reason why the shahtoosh is so expensive. Another factor is its majestic feel. The fabric is so super soft that it is incomparable with any other kind of fabric. It is known to give its owner a taste and feel of royalty.

The shawl is extremely lightweight that it can be passed through a wedding ring! It is so light that you can hardly feel anything around your shoulders. Not just its lightness but its warmth is incomparable too. Legend has it that the shawl is so warm that it can be used to hatch pigeon eggs. 

The majestic appeal, feel and warmth of the shawl has made celebrities and other rich people around the world pay thousands of dollars to own this beautiful garment. Some celebrities became so addicted to these shawls that they have been reported to have owned multiple pieces.

Some even claim that the shawls became so dear to them that they would never leave the house without their favorite shawl. 

Shahtoosh Scarf Price in India

The scarf costs lakhs of rupees. It would be generally around 3-10 lakhs in cost. Saying that it is banned and illegal to buy and sell shahtoosh. While a toosh shawl combined with pashmina costs less than a pure toosh shawl, it is still quite expensive.

When these shawls were legal, shahtoosh scarf price in India for an aeth dani (50% pashmina with 50% toosh)  or bah dani (25% pashmina with 75% toosh) began somewhere around 1 lakh and for a 100% toosh shawl, it went up to at least 2-3 lakh rupees! 

The price went almost double for buying a toosh shawl at places like the US and Europe.

Why is Shahtoosh Wool Banned?

The UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) banned the trade of the Chiru wool products in 1975. It was banned globally in 1975.

The Indian government put a ban on trade of Shahtoosha in 1991. Then, the J&K government announced a ban on the manufacture and trade of the Shahtoosh wool in the early 2000s. After several court hearings and many years later, the law was finally enforced.  

Around 20,000 Tibetan antelopes or Chirus needed to be killed every year for the production of the toosh shawls. As a result, their population declined significantly. From around a million antelopes, the number came down to approx 75,000 by the end of the 20th century. The Chiru became an endangered species. All these reasons contributed to the ban of the Shahtoosh trade.

The sale and possession of a shahtoosh shawl is now illegal in most of the countries and is a punishable offence. 

The Chiru population has now stabilized and is thought to be increasing. Almost 15,000 people had been employed in the trade when the shahtoosh wool was legal.

The livelihood of thousands of families depended on the Shahtoosh wool trade in Kashmir. The weavers were later provided with other alternative ways of earning. But they are rather insignificant.

Since so many people depended on the trade, a parliamentary panel requested that the ban on the Shahtoosh wool trade be lifted to revive the industry as well as the employment opportunities. The traders welcomed this proposal with open arms. However, the request was not accepted and the trade of Shahtoosh shawls still remains illegal.

Any person who infringes the law can be subjected to a hefty fine and may also be sentenced to several years in jail.

Over to You

‘Shahtoosh’ is now a word that is talked about with much hush hush. But despite the ban, the demand for the toosh shawls and scarves still remains high in various western countries. 

Although we don’t know what the future holds for the Shahtoosh Shawl, a great alternative to the Shahtoosh is the Pashmina Shawl – one of the softest, warmest and lightest shawls in the world which is legal as well.

Also Read:

A-Z Guide on Kashmiri Embroidery

A-Z Guide on Kashmiri Embroidery

Just as its beauty, Kashmir’s history is unique. The handicrafts of Kashmir are as breathtaking as the lush green valleys it hosts. The beautiful art of Kashmiri embroidery is as old as the modern Muslim culture of the place.

The first thing that comes to our minds when we think of Kashmiri garments is the intricate embroidery that adorns them. Whether it is pashmina shawls, dress materials, kaftans, kurtas/ kurtis, sarees or even bags, the signature Kashmiri embroidery is what sets all Kashmiri apparel apart.

It is also popularly known as ‘Kashida’ embroidery, kashidkari in full. That’s for the Kashmiris though. The embroidery seeks inspiration from nature all around. Popular designs include flowers, leaves, trees, blossoms, creepers etc.

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If this ancient art intrigues you as well, then read on. In this article, I will give you deeper insights into the Kashidakari, or Kashmiri embroidery and answer all your questions related to it.

History of Kashmiri Embroidery

The Kashida is one of the oldest forms of embroidery in India. It is a centuries’ old art. The history of embroidery in Kashmir can be traced back to as early as the 15th century. However, it was during the Mughal rule (around 16th century) that the textile industry in Kashmir saw a major surge. 

The Mughal emperors are known to have patronized it. It was during this time that Kashmiri shawls and other Kashmiri garments started becoming popular around the world. Similarly, the Kashmiri embroidery too started shaping up and became an important part of various Kashmiri textiles. And since then, its demand has grown multifolds.

Types of Kashmiri Embroidery

History tells us that Art came to Kashmir from Central Asia. It traveled with Muslim traders who entered the valley through the Silk route. It evolved with time and artisans were able to mix and match various art forms they had learned from the traders from abroad. 

So, today there are many types of embroidery in Kashmir. But, the most popular ones include: 

The Aari or Crewel Embroidery

Even though its origin is unknown, it can be traced back to as early as the medieval period. This kind of embroidery is locally known as Zalakdozi. It is a very old technique but also very popular. The crewel embroidery makes use of a pointed crochet or an ‘aari’ as the needle. 

This form of embroidery can be done on cotton, wool, silk, velvet as well as other fabrics. This embroidery can be commonly seen on curtains, drapes and other upholstery, bedding, dress materials etc. Woolen or art silk thread is used for this particular embroidery. Mostly, the chain stitch is used for the crewel embroidery. 

Popular designs for this embroidery include flowers, blossoms, leaves, creepers etc. It has two types:

  • 1-ply embroidery: It makes use of 1-ply woolen thread. It is cheaper but less durable.
  • 2-ply embroidery: It makes use of 2-ply woolen thread. This is more expensive than 1-ply but is more durable.

The 2-ply woolen thread is more commonly used.

The Process: First, the design is drawn on a perforated sheet by an expert tracer. Then, this sheet is laid on the fabric and either chalk or charcoal powder is applied to it to trace the design. After that, in order to make the tracing more visible, some oil is added to it. After the design gets traced onto the fabric, the outlines of the design are drawn with the use of a wooden pen. 

The skilled embroiderer, also known as zalakdoz in Kashmir then proceeds to embroider the fabric. The time taken to finish the product depends upon the fabric and the size of embroidery to be done. It usually takes a few days. This is how the crewel or Aari Kashmiri embroidery is done.

The Sozni Embroidery 

This form of embroidery is quite different from the aari embroidery. A needle is used in sozni embroidery. The Sozni embroidery can commonly be found on shawls, jackets, dress materials etc. The work that goes into this embroidery is very intricate. 

Popular motifs for this embroidery are abstract geometric designs, paisley patterns. The Sozni embroidery is exclusive only to Kashmir and cannot be found anywhere else. The satin-stitch is used for making this type of embroidery.

The Process: The designer (or Naqash) first begins by drawing a design on a paper. The second step involved in the procedure is a very important step. A specialist wood carver then carves the design out of a wooden block. 

With the use of the wood that has been carved, the design is then stamped onto the shawl. After this, an expert embroiderer embroiders the design. This is how the Sozni Kashmiri embroidery is made. 

The Tilla Embroidery

Another type of Kashmiri embroidery is the ‘Tilla embroidery’. This kind of embroidery is done with golden or silver threads. It is mostly done on the Kashmiri traditional garment called Phiran. But now, it can also be commonly seen on shawls and sarees. The beautiful tilla embroidery adorns ethnic wear and gives it a royal touch. 

This classic type of embroidery is a true epitome of grace and class. Initially, real gold and silver were used for the embroidery. Only the rich could afford this luxury back in the day; making it super popular among the royals. However, now, just gold and silver-colored threads are used. 

The Process: First, the designer makes a design on a tracing paper. After the design is made, the trace paper is carefully kept on the fabric. A duster is then dipped in either blue or white ink (blue ink for lighter fabrics and white ink for darker fabrics) is moved all over the fabric. The design, thus, gets transferred to the fabric. 

An expert Tilla artist then works his magic on the fabric. The tilla thread is used to make the embroidery and then a cotton thread is used to fasten it. All of this is done with a special needle. This is how the Tilla Kashmiri embroidery is made. 

The Amli Embroidery

The Amli embroidery makes use of multicolored threads. It is relatively a new type of embroidery. This embroidery is mostly seen on the kani and jamevar shawls.

The Process: First, the design is drawn on a paper. Before the design is transferred, the shawl is first nicely smoothened out. Then it is transferred onto the shawl with the help of charcoal or other colored powder. The design is then embroidered using multicolored threads.

Now that we know about the types of embroidery commonly used in Kashmir, let us get into more specifics.

Which stitches are used in Kashmiri embroidery?

Many different stitches are used in the Kashmiri embroidery. The Kashmiri embroidery stitches are as follows:

  • The Chain Stitch: This technique involves creating a loop of stitches which ends up looking like a chain and hence the name, chain stitch.
  • The Satin Stitch: Another one of the Kashmiri embroidery stitches is the Satin Stitch. This kind of stitch is usually used to cover large surfaces.
  • The Stem Stitch: This type of stitch is mostly used to embroider the boundaries of a design/ motif.
  • The Darning Stitch: This method involves making rows of straight stitches which are placed next to each other.
  • The buttonhole or vata chikan stitch: This form of stitching is used to cover or fill larger areas.
  • The Herringbone Stitch: This stitch is used for making borders.

What are the different Kashmiri embroidery motifs?

Mostly, nature forms the basis for Kashmiri embroidery motifs. Since Kashmir is so beautifully blessed with abundant natural beauty, the embroidery artists need not look anywhere else for inspiration. 

Popular motifs include flowers like lilies, tulips, saffron and lotuses, leaves, twigs, fruits like grapes, apples, mangoes, almonds and cherries and various birds like parrots, woodpeckers and kingfishers. Geometric designs and paisley patterns are also quite common. These elements together form the base for Kashmiri embroidery designs. 

What are the different Kashmiri embroidery designs?

Various Kashmiri embroidery designs include floral designs, animal designs, hunting designs etc.

Some interesting facts on Kashmiri Embroidery:

  • All embroiderers use ‘nyath’ which acts as protection to their fingers. They are leather finger caps or thimbles. Without the use of these, the artists can develop holes in their fingers.
  • Men in Kashmir are known to do the finest embroidery.
  • Every piece after its embroidered gets washed.

Over to You 

Thus, it can be said that Kashmiri embroidery is an art that requires utmost dedication, patience and precision. Initially, only men are involved in the embroidery process in Kashmir. A son inherited this art from his father. But now, since the last few years, women have started participating too. 

It takes years and years’ worth of practice to master this art. Most men who are involved in this profession usually begin practising early, around the age of 9 or 10 and then work up their way to expertise. It is due to their hard work that this traditional art form is still so well-preserved and recognized all around the world.

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All You Need to Know About the Majestic Chinar Tree

All You Need to Know About the Majestic Chinar Tree

The Chinar tree is a magnificent, vibrant tree whose leaves change colors to red, yellow and amber during the autumn season. This tree predominantly grows in the Kashmir region in India. The tree not only is a rare sight but is a form of majestic beauty.

One of the many tourist attractions in Kashmir, chinar grows to a height of about 25 meters or sometimes, even more, depending upon the growing conditions. Its botanical name is platanus orientalis and is called ‘Booyn’ or ‘Buen’ in the local language.

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The Chinar tree is a pride of Kashmir! Its leaves look a lot like the leaves of the famous Maple tree. This tree is known for its longevity and can be found throughout Kashmir.

One of the unique characteristics of this tree is that its leaves change colors. During the summer season, the chinar tree’s leaves are deep green. But, as the autumn season sets in, the leaves change color to a beautiful blood-red, amber and yellow.

Talking about the etymology of the word, ‘chinar’ is word of Persian origin which when translated means ‘What a fire!’. The reason it got this name is for the fact that during the month of November, the tree looks as though it has caught fire. It is a deciduous tree and sheds its leaves once a year.

This tree is also found in Greece, Iran, Kashmir as well as some other countries.

The History of Chinar Tree in Kashmir

It is said that the tree originated in Greece. The Chinar trees of India have been an important part of Kashmir for centuries now and have a lot of historical significance. In fact, the oldest Chinar in Kashmir is 600+ years old and is thought to have been planted in 1374. It is located in the Badgam district in Kashmir and stands tall at 14.78 m.

There is a Chinar in almost every village of Kashmir. The tree is also super popular amongst the locals; for they love to sit under its shadow and enjoy the cool breeze.

It is believed that the Chinar trees of India were brought here from Persia. Mughal Emperors like Akbar, Nur-ud-din Muhammad Jahangir and even Aurangzeb were very fond of the tree. It was even declared as the ‘royal tree’. The great Emperor Akbar is said to have planted around 1,200 trees after he took over Kashmir in 1586.

A Small Chinar Island on Dal Lake

‘Char Chinar’ is a beautiful island on the Dal Lake in Srinagar. The island gets its name from the fact that there are four Chinar trees planted on this island.

These four trees were planted by Emperor Jahangir in such a way that the island will always have a shadow from these trees. They are one of the main tourist attractions in Kashmir.

Kashmiri Literature and the Chinar

The significance of this tree is also predominant in Kashmiri literature, politics, religion and romance. The tree isn’t just an integral part of Kashmir’s heritage but it also has a very special place in every Kashmiri’s heart.

Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, the former Prime Minister of Jammu & Kashmir has named his autobiography ‘Aatish-i-Chinar’, meaning ‘Flames of Chinar’. Makhan Lal Fotedar, a prominent leader of the Indian National Congress who also belonged to Kashmir named his memoir ‘The Chinar Leaves’.

Not just politicians but the first fashion designer from Kashmir has named his brand ‘Bounipan’, also meaning leaves of Chinnar. The mention of this mighty tree is also there in various books like ‘A Dictionary of Kashmiri Proverbs and Sayings’ by James Hilton Knowles and ‘The Valley of Kashmir’ by Sir Walter Lawrence.

Several poets, too, have dedicated their poems to this majestic tree. This shows how everyone fortunate enough to behold the beauty of this majestic tree gets captivated by it. 

The Chinar Trees of Kashmir

The Chinar trees of Kashmir can be found throughout Kashmir’s landscape. Valley, cities, villages, hills; the trees are planted everywhere. A symbol for religion, the Chinar trees can be found in the Khir Bhavani temple as well as other Goddess Bhavani temples across Kashmir. These beautiful trees also adorn Kashmir’s popular mosques and shrines, including Sultan-ul-Arifeen and Hazratbal. 

Not just in mosques and temples but there are also over 100 Chinars planted at the Naseem Bagh garden in Srinagar. This makes the garden a picturesque and must-visit spot for tourists and locals alike. 

It takes a Chinar tree around 30 to 50 years to reach their mature height and around 150 years to grow to their full size! Just imagine the splendor they will bring.

The season of autumn celebrates the Chinar like no other! The Chinar tree of Kashmir, during this season, is at the peak of its beauty. The radiant red leaves that make the whole tree appear red, their rustling sound and a gust of wind in the air make everything look magical. One cannot just not fall in love with this scenery and marvel at the beauty that nature has blessed us with.

The Importance of the Chinar 

The Chinnar tree doesn’t just amplify the beauty of Kashmir but also has a lot of other things to offer. On a summer day, it provides shade in parks as well as on roads. Its wood can also be sawn easily. After sawing, it can be used in making decorative items such as trays, small boxes as well as some furniture items. Kashmir decor is famous for walnut art.

It holds various medicinal properties as well. The bark of the chinar has antirheumatic and antiscorbutic values. The bark when boiled in vinegar is a great remedy for dysentery and diarrhoea. The fresh leaves of the tree can be applied for the inflammation of the eye and also in conjunctivitis. 

The leaves of the tree are still useful even after they have fallen off. They are used to make charcoal to be used for a Kashmiri pot named ‘Kangri’, to keep warm on a cold winter day.

The Chinar trees of Kashmir: A Dying Legacy?

The number of chinar trees that have declined in Kashmir in the past few years is truly a matter of concern. The population of the trees has dwindled down from around 42,000 in the 1970s to about 17,000 in 2004 and the number has dwindled down even more now.

The trees are now nearing extinction. People and the administration cut down the trees for construction and for widening the roads.

Despite the laws imposed by the government on the ban of cutting down these trees, it is heartbreaking to know that illegal felling of the trees still continues.

There are various reasons why the chinar tree population is decreasing, but it is mainly due to:

  • The illegal felling of trees
  • Plant diseases
  • Not planting enough trees as they were being planted before

However, various efforts are being taken by the state to revive the heritage of Kashmir and more trees are being planted.

Over to You

The beauty of the Chinar tree is truly unfathomable. It is an integral part of Kashmir’s rich history and Kashmir is incomplete without its beautiful Chinar. We really hope that this legacy of the Chinar trees of Kashmir never dies and that the trees always stand tall in all their magnificent glory.

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Know Everything About the Traditional Kashmiri Dress & Style

Know Everything About the Traditional Kashmiri Dress & Style

Not only are the different Kashmiri dresses known to the tourists coming to Kashmir, but they 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. 

Kashmiri Traditional Wear 

When we talk about ethnic Kashmiri apparel, it is exactly what you think it is. A traditional kurta and salwar for men actually called the Khan Dress. In the rest of India, it is famous as a pathani. Women on the other hand wear Salwar-Kameez donned with a dupatta. The hair of women is usually covered with a headscarf. In the winters, women tend to wear a pheran along with a Pashmina Shawl.

You would know about a Salwar Kameez, but you must be thinking about what a pheran is. Pheran is a long garment worn both by men and women that covers the entire body up until the knees. Both men and women are known to wear the pheran, and it’s a dress even used by the kids.

Pheran may have a cap, similar to a hoodie or not. And a pheran comes in various forms depending upon the use it will be put to. So, there are pherans for casual daily wearing, others for formal wear and there are varieties that are meant for weddings.

Although movies do exaggerate showing short shinning waistcoats 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 prefers to wear. Whereas most of the women in India have sarees as their traditional dress, Kashmiri women have a completely different style. 

Kashmiri women have traditional dresses similar to that of the Afghan and Persian women. The style and making of the Salwar-Kameez and the jewelry are 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 (waistcoat). 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.  

Kashmiri Dress of Men in the Past
Pandit Dress from early 1900s

Talking about the Kashmiri Dress in Winters

I am going to mention the pheran in detail 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 degrees 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.

Know Everything About the Traditional Kashmiri Dress & Style 21

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.

Traditional Wear of a Kashmiri Family
Traditional Wear of a Kashmiri Family

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.

You can buy the finest variety of Kashmiri products from our online store. Ask for the best Pashmina ShawlsSalwar KameezKaftansKurtisEssential Oils, Carrier OilsWall HangingsRugs & CarpetsPaper MachePrayer RugsKashmiri FoodsKashmiri Dry Fruits, such as Kashmiri WalnutsKashmiri AlmondsDried Apricots, as well as Kashmiri Spices and top superfoods such as Pure ShilajitOrganic Saffron, and top-rated Kashmiri Honey.

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What’s a Kashmiri Wedding Like? {Know it all}

What’s a Kashmiri Wedding Like? {Know it all}

Kashmiri wedding just like any other wedding ceremony is full of fun & emotions. It is a blessed occasion where family, friends and food come 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.

kashmiri wedding

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 Mehendi – Applying the Henna 

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 nowadays 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 

Wazwan Walima

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.

Wazwan Majme

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 arrangements 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 celebration 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.

Kashmir is known for producing marvel products, check out our shopping page for a collection of women’s clothing, men’s clothing, handcrafted decor and jewelry.   

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Kashmir Tourism: 23 Best Places You Can’t-Miss Visiting

Kashmir Tourism: 23 Best Places You Can’t-Miss Visiting

Are you looking to know more about Kashmir Tourism? Why! Perhaps you are going to visit Kashmir soon. Wonderful! So, if you are looking to know the best places to visit in Kashmir, you are at the perfect place.

I will deal with everything that you need to know in order to make your next vacation 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. You know this is sacracsm.

It was not just mere chance due to which the Emporer Jehangir said the famous lines of Amir Khusrau on visiting Kashmir;

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.

Are You Interested in Kashmiri Food, Dresses, Pashmina, Handmade Decor & Jewelry

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 with a tour operator. But those are not the places that we are going to speak about.

Kashmir Tourism

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 small and far away districts hold some of the best sceneries, and ironically they are not present in the ‘Kashmir tourism packages’ you see online. Having traveled my valley far and wide, I want to share about every nook and corner of it, from the narrow lanes of downtown to the food streets of Khayyam. 

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, 23 Best Places to Visit in Kashmir for a Tourist 

Sopore – Mini London  

Sopore - Kashmir Tourism

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 – The Home to Wular 

Bandipora - Kashmir Tourism

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 - Kashmir Tourism


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 

Shopian - Kashmir Tourism

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. 

Baramula – The Cherished Place 

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 

Gujjar - Kashmir Tourism

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 that 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 odor 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. 

Final Thoughts 

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? Is it safe to visit Kashmir? Let me know in the comments below. My team will try to be your online guide

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Kashmiri Wazwan: A Non Vegetarian Delight

Kashmiri Wazwan: A Non Vegetarian Delight

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.

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. 

Kashmiri Wazwan
Kashmiri Wazwan


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
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.  

Prepration of Kashmiri 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:

  • Tabakh Maaz
  • Koshur Kabab
  • Riste
  • Aab Goash
  • Rogan Josh 
  • Naate Yakhin  
  • Goshtabe  

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. All that we say about the ultra delicious Kashmiri Seekh Kebabs is an understatement. They are awesome, and everyone must try them at least one. They are best taken with onions dipped in vinegar and Kashmiri chilli powder.
  • Tabak Maaz – Crispy ribs of lamb simmered in yogurt till tender, then deep-fried turning the fat hard and crunchy. If you talk to any Kashmiri, this is the dish that he loves. Cooked on rare occasions, it has an ultimate crispy feeling that leaves your mouth buttery for hours after the meal.
  • 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 : ) 

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