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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 way in which we get to know, how Kashmir and Kashmiris set themselves apart.

Today, I am going to narrate to you another bulletin on Kashmir. It is the story of Kashmiris and their dressing sense. Their clothing and fashion. So, hold your breath and enjoy some information on the traditional Kashmiri dress & style. 

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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 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, as already stated. Now when I say pheran don’t get confused thinking that a pheran is for wearing in winters only.

Pherans are used to cover the bodies. They 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 headscarf. 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.

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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 to wear a long full-length outer robe with long bell sleeves which are called the Chogha. Older folks wear it with a girdle around the waist. A headgear 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 the cloth varied among the Pandits and the Muslims. Sometimes, on special occasions such as marriages, the turban of a Muslim man resembled 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 am!

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 complete preparation. In the past, people used to prepare for it months in advance. 

Pheran is the first item that comes to mind when someone talks about winters in Kashmir. Yes, the Pehran!

It is 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, it 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.

Small Girl in Pheran with a Kangri
A Little-Mittle Girl with a Kangri

The women folk wear the pherans in a much more fashionable way. It is not just a winter garment but also 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 those 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 modern times popularized global fashion in the valley, our clothing has drastically changed. It has paved the 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 side 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 nowadays. 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 in sizes and shapes, they can be short or long and with our without a collar.

Also, they can be either typical salwars or pants like salwars. Some men wear trousers or jeans under them. Not only is the Kashmiri dress comfortable, but it’s also elegant and stylish.

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.

Kashmiri ornaments are typically made of gold and silver and are studded with multi-colored stones or pearls. Kashmiris love birthstones. 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 the forehead. They can be triangular, semi-circular, or circular in shape depending on the use and occasion.

Atta-Hor (earpiece) 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 trademark jewelry pieces 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 is 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 the 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?

To summarize, 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 is the Best Time to Visit Kashmir?

What is the Best Time to Visit Kashmir?

If you are wondering about the best time to visit Kashmir then we are here to clear that doubt for you.

Kashmir is often regarded as a paradise on earth. It is on every traveler’s bucket list at one point or the other. Kashmir’s immense beauty attracts tourists from everywhere and every person who visits this place has a special place for the valley in his heart.

Many poets including Mirza Ghalib have spoken highly of the beauty of the region.

So, whether it is Indian or international tourists, thousands and thousands of people flock here every year to witness the magic that Kashmir holds. And whether it is families, honeymooners, or solo travelers, you will spot every kind of tourist here in the valley. 

If you too are planning to visit this beautiful valley of Kashmir then you have made a lovely decision. But when planning a trip to any destination, deciding when to visit it actually plays a huge role.

The time that you visit a place plays a huge role as it will determine the weather, climate, whether it is a peak season, etc. for the place. And it is very important to consider all these factors before you plan your trip.

While some destinations are suitable for tourists all year round, others may be unsuitable for tourism for specific seasons. So, here, in this article, we will tell you about the ideal time to visit Kashmir.

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What is the Best Time to Visit Kashmir?

There are four main seasons in Kashmir namely summer, winter, spring, and autumn. Each season brings out an altogether different version of the valley. While the snow-capped mountains during the winter look nothing short of a wonderland straight out of a fairytale, the summer season has a charm of its own.

So here, we will tell you about the best time to visit for every kind of traveler and every kind of trip.

Best Time to Visit Kashmir According to Seasons

1. Summer and Kashmir

The summer in Kashmir starts in early May and ends in late August. While the rest of the country is battling the scorching summer heat, Kashmir still has pretty pleasant weather with the temperature soaring to not more than 30 degrees celsius.

So, if you are someone who lives in a hot or humid area and are looking for some time away from the scorching heat, summer is the ideal time for you to visit Kashmir. 

The climate during this time is also ideal for sightseeing as it is neither too hot nor too cold. You can explore the area by going for long morning walks, treks, boating on the Dal lake, going trout fishing, golfing, and enjoying a number of other activities. You can play some cricket too.

The temperature during this time is lovely as the gushing streams, the Chinar trees, the dense forests, the orchards, and the flowers, everything appears very enticing. The winter snow has started to melt and is forming rivulets, filling the brooks and rivers with fresh water.

All in all, summer is a wonderful time to visit Kashmir and enjoy the pleasant weather and plan out a host of different activities. But you also need to know that as summer is the peak season for travel in Kashmir, you need to book your trip months in advance.

Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Tangmarg, Sonmarg, Yousmarg, and some Mughal Monuments are a must-visit in summer. Some facets of Mughal Architecture you will find in Kashmir are just amazing. It is different and a lot more natural.

2. Autumn and Kashmir

Now, let’s discuss if autumn is the best time to visit Kashmir. The Autumn season begins in September and lasts till November in the beautiful valley of Kashmir. 

It is a magical time to visit the valley as this season is known as Kashmir’s ‘golden season’. In autumn, the afternoons are warm, nights are cold and the Chinar’s leaves have turned a beautiful golden yellow. 

The rustle of the leaves that have fallen down, the vibrant valleys, the misty atmosphere, and the beautiful gold-colored Chinars beautify Kashmir’s landscape all the more.

Autumn is also the harvesting season in Kashmir and you will find the harvesting of the most expensive spice in the world – saffron in full swing. So, you can enjoy the sight of the beautiful saffron fields or go apple picking in the vast apple orchards. Kashmir during this time is a beautiful treat for the eyes.

If you are there, don’t forget to get the best saffron along.

Autumn colors the valley in shades of browns, yellows, and oranges and the views are as beautiful as they can get. Autumn spent in Kashmir will charm you like nothing else.

Also as this isn’t a very touristy season, it will be easier to get good deals on hotels and flights. Keeping all of this in mind, autumn is definitely a good time to visit the valley. Dachigam National Park has to be on your visit list in Autumn.

Autumn is also the wedding season in Kashmir, you must have a few gushtabas, and ristas if a friend can arrange an entry for you to a Kashmiri Wedding Feast. Kashmiri cuisine is famous all across the globe, especially Wazwaan.

3. Winter and Kashmir

The coldest season of the valley begins in November/ early December and lasts till the beginning of March, with the temperatures going down to minus degrees. At this time don’t miss any Kashmiri tea such as the Kahwa and the Nun Chai.

Snowfall in Kashmir is magnificent and with white snow-carpeted mountains, the valley looks nothing short of a winter wonderland. It is undoubtedly a very magical time to visit Kashmir. However, winter is only the best time to visit Kashmir if you can enjoy very cold weather and snowfall. 

The whole of Kashmir is filled with snow and so this is also a wonderful time to enjoy some snow-related activities such as skiing and snowboarding. So, if you are someone who loves adventure sports, this is the best time to visit Kashmir for you.

Covered in a blanket of snow, Kashmir is sure to mesmerize you during the months of winter. So, if you are someone who loves and enjoys snow, visiting Kashmir during winters will be an unforgettable experience for you. 

Enjoy adventure sports and activities, take a cable car ride for a spectacular view of the snow-clad mountains, enjoy the local winter delicacies and behold the beauty that Kashmir has to offer.

Make sure that you pack lots of warm clothes and prepare yourself for an adventure of a lifetime. The easy pace of life in winter helps in arts such as Kashmiri Embroidery, rugs & carpet making, pashmina, etc.

4. Spring and Kashmir

Lastly, let us talk about what Kashmir is like in the months of spring and whether it is ideal for travel. The spring here starts in March and ends in April.

The spring season has pleasant weather during the day with the nights getting relatively cold. 

Whether it is the cherry blossom trees, the Chinars, or the tulip fields, there is a new freshness to everything. This is a time when you can experience nature at its finest in the valley. 

Nature isn’t just immensely beautiful but this is also a time that you can enjoy visiting all kinds of sights and monuments, whether it is the gardens, the Dal lake, the valley of flowers, mountains, valleys, etc.

Spring is a very enjoyable time if you are planning a trip to Kashmir. So, if you are looking for the best time to visit Kashmir then you can definitely consider the spring season.

Especially if you are a nature lover and enjoy pleasant temperatures that don’t exceed 20 degrees celsius then this is the perfect time for you to visit the valley. You can always try some street foods during this time.

What is the Best Time to Visit Kashmir for Honeymoon?

For years and years, Kashmir has been a very popular destination for honeymooners. If you have also planned to spend your honeymoon in the beautiful valley then we will tell you about the best time to visit.

You will find a ton of romantic places in Kashmir, each offering a different experience.

If you wish to spend some time with your loved one in the midst of beautiful white snow then visiting Kashmir from December to February is the best time for you.

However, if you are looking for some pleasant weather to enjoy your honeymoon then April to June would be the best time for you to visit.

Best Time to Visit Kashmir to Enjoy Snowfall

Without a doubt, the snowfall season in Kashmir is very exciting. If you are a snow lover then Kashmir is sure to be a paradise for you.

While the winter here starts in October/ November, December actually marks the onset of snow. For you to be able to enjoy enough snow and related activities, then December to early March would be the perfect time for you to visit the valley. It is the perfect time to enjoy snow-related activities.

However, remember to come packed with lots of warm clothes as the temperatures during this time tend to fall down to zero or minus degrees celsius.

Best Time to Visit Kashmir for Tulips

Kashmir is also very widely known for its beautiful tulip fields and as these tulips only bloom for about 30 days, that makes this sight even more special.

Depending upon the exact weather and temperature conditions, the tulips can bloom anytime between the end of March and the beginning of April. So, if you wish to witness the magic of these amazing flowers, April would be the best month to visit.

Best Time to Visit Kashmir for You

Undoubtedly, Kashmir is a beautiful place to visit all year round. Each season brings out a different version of the valley and honestly, it is difficult to figure out which one of them is the prettiest.

No matter which season you visit Kashmir in, it is sure to awe you with its beauty.

However, to make things easier for you, here are a few points to keep in mind to know the best time to visit Kashmir for you.

  • Your purpose of travel
  • Your budget
  • Most preferred season
  • Places to visit

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The Most Well Known Kashmiri Cricketers

The Most Well Known Kashmiri Cricketers

Are there any well known cricketers in Kashmir? Is cricket even played in Kashmir?

Well, yes!

Kashmir and cricket has always been a unique love-affair. From breaking TV sets, to celebrating in the streets, there’s no other place in the world with such a high emotional quotient that results in tear-gassing of crowds. 

Kashmir does not have world class cricket grounds but the craze of cricket doesn’t suffer even then. From playing on terraces, to having 22 cricket pitches on Sunday in the ground of SP College in Srinagar, the valley is simply cricket crazy. I played a few matches there, and O’ God, I am happy to be still alive.

Not just that, bats from Kashmir are from the finest variety of cricket bats in the world. They are exported to all of the cricket playing world due to their durability and ping. If you want to know more about Kashmir Willow bats, you can read this article: Kashmir Willow Vs English Willow: Which Bat to Buy?

While Moeen Ali is celebrated as the first Kashmiri Muslim to lead the English Cricket Team, we’ll take a look at many other cricketers who belong to Kashmir and have made it to the International Cricket from around the world. 

1. Vivek Razdan

Vivek Razadan is one of the most well known Kashmiri Cricketers in the country. On the 1989 Tour of Pakistan, Vivek Razdan bowled in just two innings for India, taking five whopping wickets in the second one which was only his debut. 

With the help of swinging conditions, Razdan claimed 5-79 in the final Test match at Sialkot helping India with a 74-run lead in the first innings.

Interestingly, he was selected for international cricket on the basis of just two first class appearances. Razdan was a product of MRF Pace Foundation.

Vivek Razdan with Sachin Tendulkar
Rare picture of Vivek Razan and Sachin Tendulkar

2. Suresh Raina

The Maverick batsman, Suresh Raina became a permanent player of the Indian Cricket Team in the early 2000s. He is by far the most well known international cricketer from Kashmir. His family hails from Rainawari in Srinagar. They later shifted to north India in the 80s. 

The coach of Indian team Gary Kirsten of during the World Cup of 2011 had said that Raina had won them the World Cup with some crucial knocks. 

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina

3. Parvez Rasool 

The Bijbehara Blaster, Parvez Rasool, became the first Kashmiri to play International Cricket from the Indian cricket team as well as for Jammu and Kashmir in the Ranjhi Trophy. He joined India against Zimbabwe and was benched throughout the series. 

He had performed significantly well in India’s A team where he took 7 wicket haul in a match against Australia. Parvez is very popular in the local Kashmiri cricket circles.

Parvez Rasool
Parvez Rasool

4. Abid Nabi 

Recognized as a rising speedster in India’s domestic circuit, Nabi is a boastful and vivid Kashmiri. In an Under-19 match against England, he gave an exceptional performance by taking five wickets. However, his switch to ICL ended all hopes left for him to play for India. The ICL was banned by the BCCI as they launched their own league called the IPL – one that is extremely famous nowadays.

Abid Nabi
Abid Nabi in the nets

5. Haroon Rasheed Dar 

Dar is a retired Pakistani cricketer who played over 20 Tests and 12 ODIs between 1977-83. In a weird incident, he was pulled out from his car and beaten by some youngsters for his poor batting performance in the 1979 Semi-Final match. 

He later went on to become a U19s selector and coach. During the series in Kenya, Dar was asked to send a U19 player, so he sent a 16-year-old boy who scored the fastest century in ODI. He was none other than Shahid Khan Afridi

Haroon Rashid Dar
Haroon driving the ball

6. Tahir Naqash 

Between 1980-85, Tahir played 15 Tests and 40 ODIs for the Pakistan cricket team. He played alongside Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, and Sikander Bakht during the early 80s. 

He was also a part of the team that made it to the World Cup in 1983. He was born in a Kashmiri family, in Lahore which has a presence from both sides of the Line of control. 

Tahir Naqash
Tahir in action

7. Salman Butt 

Salman Butt is a Pakistani cricketer, YouTuber, and controversial figure. He was banned for five years for his involvement in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal. He currently plays for Lahore Qalandars. 

Salman was one of the finest modern day openers for Pakistan. He was sometimes criticized for his low strike rate, but overall was a fine batsman.

Salman Butt
Salman Butt

8. Afaq Raheem 

Raheem is a batsman from Mirpur, in Kashmir and was selected to play a test against Sri Lanka. Although he wasn’t a popular player, he remains a recognized figure in Pakistan’s domestic cricket. Since Kashmir is divided into two parts, that is why you see players from the region featuring in the teams of both the countries.

Aafaq Rahim
Afaq receiving an award

9. Kabir Ali 

Ali is a cricketer of Kashmiri descent and is known as ‘one test wonder’ for he took 5 wickets against South Africa in 2004-05. His career didn’t scale up as much and he played for Lancashire. His Kashmiri descent made us to pick him for this list of Kashmiri cricketers.  

Kabir Ali
Kabir Ali

10. Moeen Ali 

An all-rounder with the beard-that-is-feared and one of the emerging stars of cricket of Kashmiri descent, here comes Moin Ali. He is a terrific all-rounder and had had a great spell in all forms of cricket.

Moin Ali
Moeen Ali

11. Amjad Khan 

Amjad Khan is the closest a Kashmir-born cricketer that came to feature in a World Cup team in 2003. But due to board conflicts, he was left out. He holds the record of scoring the highest individual score in North America – 304*. As per Cricinfo, Amjad remains one of the only three players in the world to have scored triple centuries in limited-overs cricket.

Amjad Khan
Amjad Khan

12. Sikandar Raza Butt 

Born in Sialkot, Pakistan, Sikandar Butt has become a permanent feature in the Zimbabwe cricket team. His exceptional cricketing has earned him fans from all over the world. His ancestry also traces back to Kashmir. So, he makes a mention in our list of famous Kashmiri Cricketers.

Sikandar Raza
Sikandar Raza

How Many of these Kashmiri Cricketers do you Know?

While I leave you, just out of curiosity, how many of these Kashmiri cricketers do you know? And better yet, if you knew any, how many of them did you think of being Kashmiri? Let us know in the comments.

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Top 10 Street Foods of Kashmir [Must Try]

Top 10 Street Foods of Kashmir [Must Try]

I just thought of blogging about the street foods of Kashmir. It was not out of a blue that I decided to blog about Kashmiri street foods. The tale goes like this.

I was sitting at one of the prime locations of Srinagar, that is the Hazratbal area which is known for a historical mosque. The mosque is said to be housing the holy relic of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), but there is little evidence to prove its truth. I say, it is more of a folklore than anything else.

The beauty of the Hazratbal area attracts a multitude of tourists everyday. It is situated on the banks of Dal Lake, making it a perfect place for people who want to spend a quiet and serene evening. And it is a place o chill with your friends and family. It has beauty, spirituality and some amazing street food culture that you will enjoy, for sure.

As it’s a place that is generally crowded, it also has a variety of Kashmiri street food available. You will also find Lebanese food, Mughlai foods, Wazwan, Italian foods and a lot of other typical Kashmiri foods that you can savior. Those dishes are also available across different places in the city and other districts of the valley. 

Here’s a list of 10 must-have foods on your next trip to Kashmir: 

1. Monji Gaade 

If you love seafood, especially fish, then this is something you’re missing out on. It’s a fish snack, in which the fish is first dipped in rice flour and besan, to which then is added salt and a little food color, and then deep-fried. It is a perfect snack for the fish lover in you! 

Monje Gaade
Monji Gaade

2. Halve-Parathe 

This dish comprises two parts. The first one, Halwa, is made of Semolina or Suji. The second part is the Paratha which is made out of flour. What’s special about this paratha is that it has a 3ft diameter! It’s something that Kashmiris live to buy. It’s a sweet delicacy, must be eaten hot, and definitely, a must try! 

Halwa paratha
Halwa paratha

3. Laayeh 

Laayeh is colored puffs, which are made out of rice, sugar, and some food color. As soon as you put it in your mouth, it melts right away leaving behind an ethereal sweet taste. 

Laayeh
Laayeh

4. Khandh Gaziri 

These delightful candies are made of flour dough and ghee, which are then dipped in sugar syrup. It’s a traditional and crispy snack, that not only children but adults love too, and it gives out flavor as soon as you eat it. 

Khande Gaazre
Khandh Gaziri

5. Mongh Masalah 

Mongh Masalah is the Kashmiri black steamed beans. The Black gram (Kala Mongh) is steamed with very basic ingredients like salt, and red chili powder then served hot. A simple dish that you can easily try at home for a quick snack. 

6. Basrakh 

Basrakh is another traditional sweet dish. It is made out of flour and ghee, then is baked and dipped into the sugar syrup. Dry fruits are then sprinkled over to enhance the taste of Basrakh. 

Basrakh
Basrakh

7. Lale Shangram 

This food is as interesting as it sounds. It is a delicacy made out of flour, suji, and sugar and then deep-fried in ghee. It is crispy and rough on the outside, but it has a spongy texture as soon as you chew it. 

Lale Shangram 
Lala Shangram

8. Kaanak Masaal 

All the health-conscious people, this one for you! It is free of fat, cholesterol, and oil (like a dream.) The preparation is simple. It involves boiling the wheat and beans till they become tender, then mixed with a few spices and served hot. 

9. Nadir Monji 

The main ingredient is the Lotus stem in this dish. The stem is dipped in rice flour and besan. Salt and other spices are added and then fried. The outer covering is very crispy, and when you eat it, it melts in your mouth leaving behind a taste that’ll keep you craving for more. 

Nadir Monje
Nadir Monji

10. Masaale Tchot 

Masaal Tchot is the Kashmiri version of a wrap or taco. Channa that tastes like hummus and radish chutney are wrapped in a bread known as Lavasa. This is a filling dish, and will satisfy your hunger, but not the craving. 

Masale Czot
Masaal Tchot

Try these Street Foods Whenever You are in Kashmir

These were some of the most famous street foods of Kashmir. From my childhood, I have been munching on these street foods, on the banks of dal lake, on the slopes of Gulmarg and even in Pahalgam. If you decide to travel to Kashmir someday, you must try them out.

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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.

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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.

Srinagar

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

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

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!

Pahalgam

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.

Baramulla

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.

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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.

Akhnoor

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.

Yousmarg

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.

Ladakh

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.

Sonamarg

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?

Lamayuru

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.

Bhaderwah

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.

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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.

Buy Antique Silver Jewelry from Kashmir

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.

Livun

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.

Wanvun

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

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.

Maenziraat

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
maenzraat

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
Yagneopavit

Divagone

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
Divagone

Kanishran

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.

Kanishran
Kanishran

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.

Baraat

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.

Everything that You need to Know About a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding 6
Lagan

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

Vidai

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

Conclusion

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

Everything that You need to Know About a Kashmiri Pandit Wedding 9
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
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.

Ingredients:

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.

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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.

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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.

You must visit Kashmirica’s Shopping Page for Kashmiri Dresses, Pashmina Shawls, Salwar Kameez, Kaftans, Men’s Pashmina, Attar Perfumes, Kashmiri Jewellery, Rugs & Carpets, Wall Hangings, Kashmiri Foods, Organic Kesar, Pure Shilajit, Organic Honey, Almonds, Walnuts, Dried Apricots, and other Dry Fruits.

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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 the 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 multi-folds. 

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

4. The Lush Valleys:

Gulmarg
Gulmarg

The untamed and unspoiled 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 by 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. The early winter 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:

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Know Everything About the Traditional Kashmiri Dress & Style 361

Right from the adventurous soul, the trekking enthusiast, the nature lover, leisure seeker, and 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 the 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. 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 photography enthusiasts. 

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2. Gulmarg:

Also known as the ‘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 snow lovers and adventure seekers. 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. From 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.

Wish to Travel to Kashmir?

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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