Kashmiri Fun-facts

The weekend’s approaching and let us help you celebrate the days. Take a 15 minutes break from whatever you’re doing to treat yourself with these Kashmiri fun-facts, it can be great fun and done just anywhere. These fun elements can be a mental relaxation and de-stress for the ones who’ve had a rough week. For the ones who are bored and have 15 minutes to kill, check out this weird but true list.

As they say, “Kindness and a generous spirit go a long way. And a sense of humor. It’s like medicine – very healing.”
And the good news is, not only are we kind and generous we’re also known for our sense of humour. These are not our words,

Let’s start with the embarrassing ones. All Kashmiris have a tragedy in life, we have a substitute for our given beautiful official names. And hang on, our nicknames are very different from the rest of India and can be humiliating to the power of infinity as well.

Family reunion?
The big Kashmiri family tree concept is still real and full. Every random gathering in Kashmir is a meetup with your extended family members whom you’ve never seen.

The best pickup line, literally.
Okay, one second, we are literally aware of this secret nonetheless most of us believe in it or we’re just too lazy to even correct them.

My dear Kashmiris, we speak way too much Kashmiri, and it’s true.
A conversation in Hindi works just alright with our hilarious. We are a species in ourselves and here is why.

My favourite one.
Have you always been a fan of Kashmiri music? Thank us later for reviving your memories associated with the song. The heaven on Earth also sing these songs.

Always have room for more? Well hello there!
We will bring our guests food that can overcome their satiety signals, so even though you are full you eat it because we force you to.
May all who come as guests leave as friends.

Mealtimes are fantastic.
We love our food and we know you’d do too. We consume our food voraciously. Kashmiri food satisfies everyone’s taste bud, but if you disagree, let’s face it, we don’t trust your taste bud. Our identity is solely by what we eat.

  1. S – This section has been created to bring forward what/how/when we do in a humorous way. Hurting sentiments or feelings of anyone is not intended.

Source – THANK YOU http://kashmirasitis.com/kashmiri-fun-jokes

With this we come to the end of the article with a positive thought. Looking for more funny quotes? Keep following the space.

KASHMIRI KANGRI – A love of Tradition

While taking a stroll on the banks of Jhelum River and soaking in the beauty of the stunning place during the harsh winters you can feel the severity of the cold.
The valley of Kashmir is cold; a bone-chilling temperature with the wind chill, when woolen and thermal wears are not enough. Have you ever imagined how do we beat such extreme conditions? Well, we have our own moving heater – the Kangri, our Cultural Way of Fighting the Cold.

The one thing that will surprise a first-time visitor to Kashmir during the winter season is to find people carrying fire in their hands or in their laps.  Yes, we carry red-hot charcoal filled in an earthen pot inside our dress. Amazed? It might sound dangerous but don’t worry every Kashmiri knows how to handle the apparatus with care.

“What Laila was on Majnun’s bosom, so is the kanger to a Kashmiri’.
This is an infamous Kashmiri proverb that easily sums up the relationship between a Kashmiri and the kanger. The term Kangri is used by Kashmiri localities.
A thing you cannot unsee in Kashmir during winter is Kashmiri’s walking with their hands hidden under their voluminous Kashmiri cloak, the phiran. The fact that a kangri which is beneath their traditional dress is helping them keep the chill at bay has fascinated travelers too.

The Kangri is an ancient cheap and portable heat source that’s keeping Kashmiris survive the biting winter.
“For us winter means Kangri. When temperatures dip to sub zero, we fill our Kangris with burning charcoal and use it inside our phirens,”
How does a Kangri work?
The kangri is a clay pot filled with glowing coals and encased in pretty handmade wicker baskets. All you have to do is to fill the koundal (earthen pot encased with wicker) with tsini (charcoal) and embers and take this inexpensive source of warmth everywhere as a personal warmer.

Everybody cannot make a kangri. It needs skill, labour and local craftsmanship. Twigs are collected from deciduous shrubs, scraped and peeled and go through a process of soaking, drying, dying and are finally woven around the bowl-shaped earthenware decorated with colorful thread , mirror-work and sequins to make it look beautiful. A Kangri can cost anywhere between rupees 50 to 3,500 a piece, depending on the work and design.

Besides being used for heating purposes Kangri has become a popular handicraft as well.
Kangri has deep roots in Kashmiri culture and its folklore. Just as a person is first greeted with a glass of water & sweets in other states, a Kashmiri host will greet you with the warmth of a kanger.
In the valley no celebration is complete without the gift of kangri. Be it a marriage, or the beginning of any ceremony, the warm heart of Kashmir, the kangri is there to spread its warmth.

But as the idiom goes by – “A coin has two sides”.
Kangri cancer is atypical to the valley of Kashmir, attributed to the use of Kangri by people of all age groups to warm their bodies. The prolonged use of Kangri may result to Kangri Cancer, a heat-induced skin carcinoma, which is found in the abdomen and inner thighs.
With the increasing winter cold, modern heating equipments sales soar in markets and have started replacing our traditional kangri. The production of Kangris has declined over the years due to increase in availability of alternate heating equipments.

Kashmir – The Paradise of Migratory Birds

Hi friends, it’s that time of the year again when you’re expected to start thinking about winter vacation. And, without any doubt Kashmir wins the competition when it comes to decide for a best place for vacation.
Nothing in the world looks prettier than Kashmir in winter. It has always been synonyms for paradise, and rightly so. The place becomes magical during the winters. The bright golden Chinar carpet swiftly rolls out into white snowy carpet making it look magnificent.

Autumn brings the magic on the landscape of Kashmir with the Chinar trees changing their leaves while in winter you can see the magic in the migratory birds taking refuge in the gloomy landscape of Kashmir.
‘Bird watching is a lifetime ticket to the theater of nature.’
If you’re tired of winter’s snow and cold, take to watching our feathered friends.
Winter is the best time for bird-watching in Kashmir. The winter landscape of the Valley, a bare lonely tree, frozen fields and gloomy days comes alive with countless colours of three lakh winged visitors from places as far as Central Asia and Europe.

The onset of winters leaves the water bodies of Kashmir blanketed with thousands of Mallards, Common Mergansers, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Brahminy Duck, Northern Pintails, Common Pochards, Red-crested Pochards, Ruddy Shelducks, Northern Shovelers, Common Teals, Eurasian Wigeons, Garganeys, and Greylag Geese.

The navigation skills of birds might leave you in awe. They can migrate thousands of kilometers across the sea without getting lost. Birds that nest in the Northern Hemisphere tend to migrate to avoid freezing to death in their native habitats.
Besides Hokersar wetlands, 10km from Srinagar city that serves as a safe haven for these migratory birds they also flock the Wullar Lake and other wetlands like Hygam, Shallabugh.
“We have recorded around three lakh bird arrivals in the wetlands of Kashmir so far. This is very good number as the concentration of migratory birds will peak around first week of February.” – Wildlife Warden (Wetlands), Roauf Zargar.

Kashmir lends its landscape to the birds during the winters. The birds feeding on insects, worms and fish in the water bodies adds colour to the valley thus presenting a beautiful picture.

Make sure to follow these steps in order to be greeted by their chirpy music:
-Be a morning person. Venture out early in the morning to get their chirpy best.
-Dress like your surroundings just so that you might be surprised by birds sitting next to you.
-Don’t be noisy. Sit quietly and enjoy their music.

However some survey reports by the state government, reveals that the number of migratory birds arriving in Kashmir has declined in the last two decades. The main reasons being rapid urbanization and noise pollution which acts as an irritant that puts off the feathered visitors.
“Noise of all kinds causes disturbance to the birds. This can lead to the birds finding alternate places to spend the winters in,” Zargar said.

Ideally the wildlife department should strive to protect all ground water and the birds habitat presenting them a comparatively hospitable alternate habitat. The Wildlife department took a series of steps to restore the natural habitat of these birds which were threatened by unfamiliar interference.
“The wildlife department is striving to protect and revive water bodies and prevent their encroachment.” Zargar added.

The migratory birds start return journey from Kashmir by the end of January month giving way to new grasses, tress full of new green leaves, cloudless skies and a pleasant, comfortable weather. Nature’s time to wake up once again.

Enjoy close interaction with nature while birding.
From kings to subjects, rich to deprived, humans to birds those who truly love nature – the valley of Kashmir attracts them all

Masterpieces from the land of magical embroideries, Kashmir.

My friend Stella had come to India and was staying with us for five days. On a Saturday afternoon, post lunch while we were lazying around, a local ‘kashmiri-shawl wallah (vendor)’, Gulzaarbhai visited our home to show his exquisite hand embroidered shawls, pherans, namdaas etc. He often visits us for kahwa and Krippè and shows up with a range of unique Pashmina. As he unfurled some of the finest Pashminas one after the other, Stella’s eyes lit up as she saw a black shawl with overall floral motif and fringes at both ends. A wise man that Gulzaar chacha is, he didn’t take a minute to grab the opportunity and said “Sozni embroidery of this kind is rarely seen these days. Should I pack it for you?” And guess what? Stella ended up buying three sozni embroidered shawls, one for herself and the other two as gifts. She told me she had loved the piece the minute she saw it and wanted to own it.Kashmir is blessed with a myriad of cultures, customs, traditions and a rich and ancient heritage of craftsmanship. It is called a land of wonders over the centuries. Mastering Kashmiri craftsmanship, the unique motifs and designing techniques takes years of training. The rich and ancient heritage of craftsmanship and designing shawls is an art that has been carried forward through generations of craftsmen.

One such exquisite embroidered form of Kashmiri shawl is a Sozni Pashmina shawl, locally known as the ‘setchni kaem’. Most of the Kashmiri shawls are incidentally inspired by ancient techniques. As a matter of fact, the shawls are produced by either of the two techniques – loom woven or Kani shawls and needle embroidered or Sozni shawls. The Sozni embroidered shawls are also called ‘amlikar’.

It’s a form of embroidery using thin needles spreading life in the intricate patterns that reflects the craftsman’s exceptional attention to detail. Minute and elaborate embroidered patterns are created by working on the root of the plain pashmina with the help of a needle.

We have often come across the word ‘less is often more’, but sozni shows that not always! The floral patterns are so closely embroidered with single silk threads with no place left for the pashmina base to be visible. Sozni embroidery needles vary in size, and one shawl may be worked on by as many as two or three artisans who work meticulously to make the exquisite wrap. Sozni weaving requires hard work and patience as each shawl takes two to three years to complete. The master craftsman must sit with the shawl for six hours every day to create the colorful motifs that adorn the shawl.  It is impossible to believe that they were needle woven. These fine yet intricate masterpieces are example of impeccable art.
Often you’ll find left hands of Sozni weavers to be full with pockmarks from the needle pricks.

Considering the delicacy of the work, you could easily believe that each shawl takes about two to four years to embroider, and it is such a painstaking and slow work.
A valley in the Himalayan mountains brims with stories about crafts that have been practiced here for hundreds of years.

Kashmiri embroidered shawls, scarves, pherans have been popular the world over for years, a heaven for shawl buyers. Just like my friend Stella, cozy up this winter in a typically pure Kashmiri Pashmina and flaunt it to the world.

Photographs do not do justice to these essential luxuries; you have to see them close up, feel them, peer at their amazing patterns to realise what treasures these are. Heirlooms in the making, just like the red one I treasure.

The winds of winter carry the local flavor of Kashmiri dishes.

“Winters are coming!”
Got reminded of Game of Thrones? Well I bet this blog will not be any less exciting than your favorite American TV series! Winter hits ‘Winterfell’ the hardest but our ‘Kashmir’ is also very well known for its harsh winters and nothing can keep you toasty this winter than the warmth and pleasing aroma of delicious food cooked in our very own ‘Koshur Kitchen’. Let the winds of winter carry the local flavor of Kashmiri dishes.

So get set to tickle your taste buds with these favorite winter dishes of Kashmir

Its Harissa time again in the vale.
We, Kashmiris welcome the winter chills with this traditionally prepared delicacy. It is a true experience to relish the age old local recipe. It is originally served as a winter breakfast in Kashmir. The sizzler crackle of the hot oil over the Harissa topped with a tender Kebab and served with a hot Kander Czoth (traditional Tandoori bread) is enough explanation of the delectable dish. The dish will offer you the smoothness of the mutton with an amazing kick of fennel, cardamom and other spices. The making of the perfect Harissa requires tough cooking skills that might put you off. But since we Indians love our meat we will put every effort to nail the Kashmiri Harissa.
Would you like to make an attempt? Thank us later: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/kashmiri-harissa-authentic-recipe-zubair-kirmani-lifefd/1/692564.html

The sun-dried variety
Hokhegad (Koshur Dry fish)
As the time has arrived when the NH1A would get snapped because of heavy snowfall, locals in Kashmir would be ultra-carefully sun-dry their vegetables and fishes and store them for the time when the availability becomes scanty. Hokhegad which is sun-dried fish finds a special place in this variety. Hokhegad has a shelf life of several years just like other dried foods. These dried fishes can be found in market during winter and runs well into mid-summer month (March-April).
If you have asthma, Hokhegad is a good source of protein and acts as a medicine.

Hokh Syun a boon from our Nains – Wangan-Hachi, Al Hachi & Ruwangan Hachi 
And to save all you vegetarians out there, here we are with a lot of options! These recipes are enough to convert all carnivores to vegetarians. Wangan Hachi is actually dried brinjal which is split into 4 sections that are not separated. The sectioned brinjals are then tied on a rope set up like a clothesline and dried in sun. Wangan-hachi is mostly cooked with Moong Dal or Green Gram. Choki Wangan Hachi (Tamarind flavored dried brinjals) is also a favourite dish of ours.
Al Hachi is dried long and slightly thick strands of bottle gourd whose drying method is similar as that of Wangan Hachi. Later these are either cooked with light spices of with tender mutton.
Ruwangan Hachi is dried tomatoes. It can be powdered and used in curries or dishes. This spice mixture is prevalent in most of India.

 

Make a garland of turnips – Gogji Aar
Looking for more vegetarian meal? Here’s one more from our winter menu – Gogji Aar or dried turnips.
We have a very particular way of drying turnips in Kashmir. The turnips are peeled, washed and thickly sliced and a little hole is carved out in the middle of the slice and then they are added to a string which is then tied and sun-dried. Gogji aar is then cooked with cottage cheese, mutton etc.

Handh
Kashmir is a treasure of herbs that has several medicinal uses, let’s end this list with one such sun-dried Handh or spinach green that grows in the wild and can be cooked with chicken in winters as well. These are cooked, famously in the house of a new mother, because it is believed to cause heat in the body and thus benefit both mother and newborn. The feast is called handhbaata.
It also possesses medicinal value and is helpful in treating back-pain, common cold and chest infections. It is also given to anemic patients.

The Kitchen is truly the heart of any Kashmiri home and cooking is love made visible. Our food has the ultimate love and warmth to bring everyone together. To beat the blues this winter try menus from our Kashmiri Kitchen where meals and memories are made together.

The Forgotten Floor Mat of Kashmir – WAGU

If you imagine a real traditional Kashmiri room, chances are you have visualised a clear mental image of a warm and well heated room made of wood /stone masonry wall, traditional thick mud roof on timber structure and traditional ‘Wagu’ flooring which provides excellent protection against a harsh environment.

A few decades back the much valued reed mat, ‘Wagu’, which was a reflection of comfort, versatility, biodegradability and affordability, has now lost its sheen.

This unique reed mat of Kashmir, the environmental friendly ‘Wagu’ was part of our heritage but in course of time the synthetic mats started to flood markets and took over this floor matting technique.

Traditional matting of Kashmir also includes ‘patej’ and ‘gabba’ (Kashmiri names for different kinds of floor matting) were once very common and popular seen in both rural as well as the urban households. Matting in rural areas mostly entailed use of ‘patej’, while urban areas, with no access to the paddy straw saw higher use of ‘wagu’ matting prepared of ‘pechi’.

Originally the material that makes ‘wagu’, a soft and spongy mat, was made of a grass growing in wetland and lakes commonly known as ‘Peich’. After it reaches a height of 6 feet it can be harvested to make these mats. Traditionally after plastering the floors by a thin layer of clay mixture, dried, these floors are covered by the ‘wagu’ mat. It acts as an insulation material to beat the harsh winters.
In mosques, residences and shrines the mat was used and due to its economical nature it was accessible to most households. But now the story is different. Modern Kashmiri homes have become concrete and the concept of floor matting has disappeared.

The art of ’wagu’ mat weaving was not easy as it required a great deal of expertise to shape up a mat out of the raw ingredients and no electrical power was used. Over time ‘wagu’ matting emerged as an art form and a section of people adopted it as their profession. The ‘wagu’ makers gradually took their product to the rural Kashmir and established commerce in villages.

Interestingly enough 53 families residing in Khoon Mohallah in Hazratbal, Srinagar used to be weave the mat by hand. It used to be a hub of ‘wagu’ weavers and all the in the area were involved. But as of today, only handful women across Kashmir practice the art, or profession.

We buy the grass from Bandipora and transport the same to this place on Tongas (horse-driven carts). It consumes too much time and hard word to weave a Wagu and in return, we get just peanuts that too if some Showkeen (man of taste) wants to buy one” quoted Ghulam, ‘wagu’ weaver.
Bashir Ahmad, who still weaves Wagu says that two to three decades back it was the mainstay of income generation for the young, old, men and women. According to the erstwhile weavers the demand for ‘Wagu’ has petered away and customers are hard to come by.

However, with the demand even in rural areas fading, they have started abandoning the trade and are shifting to vegetable farming, paper machie and embroidery work.

It is not the question of a few people losing jobs but of a people losing their heritage,” said a University teacher.
And even though this proverb ‘Old is Gold’ is short, it is most valuable. Sometimes in order to make way for new things letting go of the past is harmful. Losing the heritage of a state is more than just material damage.

 

Kashmiri red chilli powder

Kashmir is known not only for its exalting beauty but also for the rich culinary history dominated by Kashmiri spices. Spices of Kashmir is the soul of the valley of royal cuisines, which adds colour, flavour, aroma and taste. We Kashmiris love our food and each ingredient has its utmost importance in providing flavor to the dish. Kashmiri Mirch is one such secret spice behind the flavourful Kashmiri foods. The mouth-watering Kashmiri delicacies has a special red colour which is because of this famous Kashmiri Mirch (Red Chilli). The rich aroma of this Kashmiri spice intensify the richness of dish. As they say, you first eat with your eyes and nose and then with your mouth and tongue, Kashmiri Mirch makes any dish qualified for such divine food experience. Exotic Kashmiri Mirch is a special blend of medium hot quality red pepper which is used for Tandoori dishes or other dishes mostly prepared in clay ovens called Tandoor; when used in curry it imparts bright red colour making food more appealing and palatable.

Kashmiri Mirch is less pungent in taste, are smaller in size and are of round in shape. The specialty of Kashmiri Mirch is that it lends a bright red colour to any food. The roasted Kashmiri chilli has a very pleasant aroma. It can redden anything that is capable of absorbing colour such as the oil present on surface of meat etc. Mutton Roghan Josh is a Kashmiri dish that looks delicious, and one of its basic ingredient is Kashmiri Mirch. The colour and distinct taste of this delicious Kashmiri dish completely depends on usage of Kashmiri Mirch.

They are used in all forms, either fresh, dried, wrinkled or grounded.

Also fried or dried chilli is used to make spicy chutney, a bottled condiment or hot sauce. Fresh Kashmiri Chilli are used for making pickles because of the less content of pungent taste. Apart from rich colour content and flavour Kashmiri Mirch is high in nutritional value.

It is a good source of vitamin A and Vitamin c which helps to boost immunity. The nutritional value of this spice makes its high usage worth.

Kashmiri red chilli powder is grown mostly in Kashmir region and is available in different forms such as whole, grounded or wrinkled form.

The profit earned through the export and import of spices is anyway marvelous. Kashmiri Mirch is one of those spices. India is the largest producer, exporter of Kashmiri Mirch and the exciting fact is, it is also the largest consumer of this spice.

Hence, we can now easily calculate the demand and usage of Kashmiri Mirch which is high and also this spice covers a good market around the globe.

Have you tried it yet? Below are some sources from where you can buy Kashmiri Mirch.

1.) http://www.kashmirispices.com/

2.) https://www.kashmirbox.com/healthy-living/exotic-foods/spices-and-herbs

Long Live Street food of Kashmir

A mouth-watering journey. Long Live Street food of Kashmir!

How to tell if you are a street food addict? Firstly, you’ll be salivating over this Blog’s title ‘Street food of Kashmir’. Secondly, you’ll look on different websites to collect detailed information about these foods and last but not the least you’ll immediately plan a trip to savour the exceptional flavors of streets of Kashmir with us.
Kashmir is known for its wonderful food and it has been home for food loving people from all walks of life! We all know that Kashmir is rich in culture, tradition, arts and crafts, but how many of us have actually experienced the mouthwatering wazwan, the winter delicacy of harissa or the famous street food of Kashmir? The food here is as rich and as old as our culture, arts and crafts.

So let’s start the journey through the soul of Kashmir, the street foods of Kashmir. Let the smell guide you to a plate full of cholesterol rich food.
For all those health conscious people out there after reading the blog you might have to spoil your resolve.

1. Kashmiri lotus stem snack: NADER MONJE

 Long Live Street food of Kashmir- kashmiri life
These are lotus stems pieces dipped in subtle spiced besan(gram flour) batter and usually fried in oil and served with spicy onion chutney. We tested French fries and nader monje and we can tell you for sure these French fries stands nowhere when compared to our very own Nader Monje. After having a plate of this oil dripping delicacy you’ll understand why we crave Kashmiri street foods.

2. A parantha as big as your dream – TOBRUK HALWE-PORATH

A parantha as big as your dream - TOBRUK HALWE-PORATH - Kashmirilife
It’s usually yellow in color made from mixing sooji with ghee and lots of dry fruits. The parantha has a diameter of 3ft and tastes sweet. Sure it will taste better when it is eaten hot.

3. The poor man’s wrap – MASALE TZHOT/MASAAL TCHOT & KRUHUN MASALE

The poor man's wrap - MASALE TZHOT/MASAAL TCHOT & KRUHUN MASALE- kashmiri life
Wanna satisfy your taste buds and end your hunger at the same time? After biting into this Kashmiri version of a wrap you’d have killed two birds with one stone.

4. To compliment your ‘Kahwa’ – SHANGRAM/LALA SHANGRAM


This sweet and gooey delicacy is made by mixing flour, sooji and sugar and deep frying in oil. What’s better than a little crisp outside and the soft spongy centre just melts in your mouth? Yummy it is!

5. For the fish lovers out there, we’ve got you – MONJE GAAD/ GADDE MONJJE

For the fish lovers out there, we've got you - MONJE GAAD/ GADDE MONJJE
If you like fish, I would recommend this snack of Kashmir. Deboned fish deep fried in spiced rice flour and besan. Rich and tasty!

6. A sugared treat – KHAND-E-GAZIR

A sugared treat - KHAND-E-GAZIR - kashmirilife
Crunchy bites into hard candies made from flour dough and ghee followed by a dip in sugar syrup is a sweet-tooth satisfaction. Very popular among children.

7. From the sweet family – BASRAKH

From the sweet family - BASRAKH- kashmiri life
The sugary delicacy from the traditional sweet family made from flour mixed with ghee and then dipped in sugar syrup leaves an after taste in your mouth that’ll leaves you craving for more. A snowball in desert.

8. The eye candy – ANCHAR/PICKLE

The eye candy - ANCHAR/PICKLE- kashmirilife
Tease your brain by looking at the appetizing color of the fresh and tasty vegetable pickle aka Kashmiri style. I don’t want to know the science behind why my mouth waters when I see the colorful, vaer spiced vegetables as long as it is served to me as a side dish with roti or rice.

9. It’s time for you to try Kashmiri Kebabs – TUJJI/TUJJ

It's time for you to try Kashmiri Kebabs - TUJJI/TUJJ- kashmiri life
It’s time to try our home-made Barbeque. A meat lover’s tip for you: You are not a true food lover if you feel ashamed about not wasting a single savory bite of the smoked Kashmiri barbecue, tujje!

10. KULFI/MATKE ICE CREAM

Matka Kulfi- kashmiri life
So if you have a sweet tooth and demand a dessert after meals, don’t shy away from grabbing an ice-cream matka(earthen-ware pot).

Looking for all these street foods at the same place? Try the lanes of Hazratbal.

I rest my case here.
If you have already tried any of these street foods of Kashmir please share your experiences with us.

1.-Header - Kashmiri Gift giving 101: Traditions and customs - Kashmiri life

Kashmiri Gift Giving 101: Traditions And Customs

Let me share a secret today! If you are like me, you love giving gift as much as you love receiving them. There’s absolutely nothing like receiving a gift. Today let’s talk about the gift giving traditions of Kashmir.
Along with its beautiful and vibrant landscapes, lakes, pleasant weather, the valley of Kashmir is culturally and traditionally so unique and vibrant that even people from other states would agree upon it. In our state the idea of congratulating people on new beginnings with its elaborate gifts has been well established since ancient times. This very old tradition that we religiously follow is called ‘Mubarkas gasun’ (Going to each other’s household to congratulate one another on auspicious occasions).

We celebrate almost anything and everything! And as a token of love we present gifts. Just like us our gifts are also unique.

Shower your love on different occasions with a unique gift from this list:

1.Kashmiri Almonds in a gift box

Let Kashmiri Almonds save your time and make your ‘mubarakas (congratulations)‘ even more special. Because of its superiority of taste they are very popular with the consumers. You won’t find almonds like these anywhere outside Kashmir. This festive season make things sweet by not forgetting to put some candies and the fancily pleated money intermingled with the almonds.

2.Kashmiri Almond - Kashmiri Gift giving 101: Traditions and customs - Kashmiri life

2.The power of a Juice crate

Short on time but looking for the perfect gift box? This gift crate combines tradition, savings as well as satisfaction. Tasty juice gift pack is highly in demand owing to its flavor varieties and durability. Aunties’ carrying a juice crate is a common sight here in Kashmir.

3.Juice-crate- Kashmiri Gift giving 101: Traditions and customs - Kashmiri life

3.Perfect and always on demand – Fruits

A basket that has colorful, farm fresh and 100% ripe and juicy fruits is the perfect gift to express happiness on different occasions. Not only that this is also a perfect a gift of wellness you can carry. One gift that was shaped to serve two purposes: share happiness and health.

4.Fruit-basket - Kashmiri Gift giving 101: Traditions and customs - Kashmiri life

4.Bakery and confectionery

From cakes to pastries to patties we Kashmiris are very fond of our breads and buns! Need the best bakery that is sure to impress your guest? Try Just Baked, Crème Bakery, Baker Boy and many more. No get together is ever complete without bakery items. We all have very well know local small bakeries that aare the best place for affordable yet good quality bakery items.

5.A gift that can stand the test of time.Gold

Extravagant generosity. Gold makes an unbeatable impression when given on big career achievements of our children, weddings, the birth of a baby and even when a girl child in the family gets her ears pierced. We gift each other gold as it brings good luck and can even multiply in value.
Popular in this section are the gold coins with a King Edward posing on it.

6.Gold- Kashmiri Gift giving 101: Traditions and customs - Kashmiri life

Having a hard time buying the perfect gift? Why not gift Money to each other in fancy envelopes as a token of love! This is called ‘Vartaav karun’. Giving cash in Kashmiri weddings is a very common practice and we can buy the gift our choice.
7.Money- Kashmiri Gift giving 101: Traditions and customs - Kashmiri life

6.The irreplaceable love for Sweets

We are sweet and we love our sweet treats as well.
Ditch your diabetes villain for a day and go for a box of sweets from the popular ‘Shakti Sweets’ or ‘The Modern Sweets‘ on the Residency Road. This also makes a good gift to bring on an auspicious occasion.

8.Sweet- 7.Money- Kashmiri Gift giving 101: Traditions and customs - Kashmiri life

7.Copper

Copper is recognized as a symbol of wealth. Gifting ‘Traam‘ is an old tradition still treasured in Kashmir.
Forget gold, the traditional wedding gift we love getting and giving is Copper. It comes in various forms, some may bring you ‘Traamuk Toor’ or ‘Kyenz‘ which are traditional rice bowls with intricate designs on the outside and on weddings one also gifts the bride/groom things like the ‘Samavar‘ (Traditional Kashmiri Copper Kettle) and the ‘Isband Soz’ (The Traditional Copper Incense Burner)

Probably the last on our list is the warm hugs. What can replace the indescribable joy of receiving warm hugs? Nothing!

And if you take pleasure in reading then this article is a gift for you from our side.

You do not have to be rich to be generous.”
Kashmiris are generous people and giving makes them happy. Their lifestyle and traditions are very different from the rest of the world. We cherish our traditions and absolutely love them!

 

kashmiri_henna - The Big Fat Kashmiri Hindu Wedding - kashmiri life

The Big Fat Kashmiri Hindu Wedding (Customs and Traditions)

Do you have enough time to spend on the internet today, reading this blog? Then this will be an affair to remember! Far away from the chaos of the city life, in nature’s splendor and hospitality at its best, would you like to read a story of the most unique and remarkable ‘Yes, I do’? You got that right; today we are going to talk about the most beautiful Kashmiri Hindu wedding.

Read on to know about the series of rituals observed before and after the wedding thus making it a prolonged affair.

The stunning Valley of Kashmir becomes even more stunning with the charm and luster added by these weddings. The warmth and simplicity of the Kashmiri people are reflected in their wedding ceremonies. A marriage is considered to be unique and unrepeatable, a once-in-a-life-time moment for both the families. And the most important, not to be missed out part is the ‘jealous ristedaars’ that makes a marriage celebration successful. 😉

To make arrangements distinct, preparations starts a year ago after tecknis (horoscopes) of prospective bride and groom are matched and a wedding date is proposed by the bride’s parents. And well, besides the bride and groom the purohit (priest) is the third most important person. With the consent of the parents the purohit fixes an auspicious day for the wedding.

WEDDING DATE FIXED!

The power of Pre wedding rituals

Marriage is not all merry making! The pre-wedding ritual is the time to ‘set the bar’. You would definitely need a desperate dose of patience to get prepared for the main day. And as elders would say, ‘Patience is the key to a lasting Marriage’. So, hang in there!

And for all you readers out there take a glimpse at the pre-wedding rituals of a Kashmiri wedding:

Kasamdry (the Formal Engagement)

An engagement ceremony takes place fixed as per the Kashmiri calendar. Var (a special rice pudding) is prepared and distributed by the eldest aunt separately in each house.

Livun

Before you want to jump into the wedding celebration head-on, cleansing of the house marks a major preparation in the Kashmiri homes.

Wanvun

Following the livun ritual, till the marriage ceremony, a small sangeet (music) session is held in both the bride’s and the groom’s houses as the next steps in the marriage. The house will prepare and serve guests noon or sheer chai (a salted pink tea) at the end of such singing sessions.

Maenziraat

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One week prior the wedding countdown begins decorating the doors of the houses of the bride and the groom takes place. Following that day on the evening after an elaborate bathing ritual, the eldest aunt of the bride decorates her hand and feet with maenz (henna).

Divagone

A ceremony that marks the transition of the bride and the groom from brahmacharya ashram (Celibate) to grihastha ashram (Householder).
As a sign that suggests that the bride is now ready for the marriage an essential jewelry known as the dejaharu, an ear ornament is worn by the bride after kanishran (bathing in water, rice, milk and curd).

Last in the order but definitely not the least Duribat

Food is an important part of any wedding celebration regardless of culture or religion. As the consumption of meat and meat products is traditionally forbidden in Kashmiri Hindu weddings, a traditional vegetarian lunch is served. The recipes are so satisfying that you’ll want to go meatless for the entire time. Maternal relatives of both sides are invited for the lunch.

THE SIGNIFICANT WEDDING RITUALS

Kashmiri Bride The Big Fat Kashmiri Hindu Wedding - Kashmiri life

You want to look and feel stunning on your wedding day, don’t you? You want to look a bit unreal, yet stylish and elegant. And when speaking of an elegant Kashmiri bride, how can we forget about the ‘Pheran’. Kashmir is a haven for colorful bright pherans. Brides either chose from the ones displayed there or go for a customized tailored Pheran designed with colourful elements. The groom wears a stylized but plain pheran with a sword in his waistband and jootis to match that.
A wedding dress can be lovingly restored as a family heirloom and later on you can narrate stories of the dress to your grand children while reliving the memories.

Grooms are also not spared from wedding rituals. Before the baraati leaves for the bride’s house, the groom must stand on a vyoog (rangoli pattern made of rice flour and colours). And as the ceremonial practice goes, a conch shell is blown to announce his departure and as a gesture of goodwill the family gives away two pots containing some money as alms to poor.

Lagan (Tying the Knot)

The long wait is finally over.
On arrival of the baraati(the bridegroom’s party), the bride is brought out to the place where the groom is made to stand by her maternal uncle. Before the couple is being led to the lagan mandap(an awning below which the wedding rituals are performed) a dwar puja is performed.
Agni (the sacred Fire) plays an important role in various aspects of the Hindu Tradition. The wedding rituals are all performed in front of this sacred fire. Nervous and excited bride and groom see each other for the first time through the images formed in the mirror. After seeing each other to the heart’s content they are made to hold hands in a firm grip symbolizing that the grip doesn’t be weak with the passage of time. Then a cloth is used to cover their hands. This tradition is called Athwas in Kashmiri. Theories of folklore point out that whoever is able to pull out the engagement ring of the other first, that person will be dominant in the relationship. This is followed by the saath pheras (the seven circumambulation of the sacred fire) of Hindu marriage). The first phera is made by stepping on seven one rupee coins putting always her right foot forward first.
The Vivaaha is complete and the couple are now husband and wife in the sight of God, and of course all people!

The Big Fat Kashmiri Hindu Wedding.-Daya Bataah- Kashmiri life

The wedding stuff is all over, and now it’s time to delight the guests with some awesome Kashmiri vegetarian dinner prepared by the waza (cook). The Daya Bataah ceremony is held where the bride and groom are made to eat from the same plate.

Posh Puza

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Many ends aren’t really endings. At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom are made to sit in a comfortable position while a red cloth is placed on their heads. Along with Vedic chants, posh (flowers) are offered to the couple by all people around them.

It’s time for the Bidai(the farewell)

The dream marriage is over and now it’s time for the painful moment. It’s time for the bride to leave the most favourite place, her house and go to a new place to new people. Before bidding good bye to her friends and relatives she throws a fistful of raw rice over her shoulder towards that house. It is a tradition most of us are familiar with.

POST-WEDDING TRADITIONS

For those attending the wedding party more than half of the time is spend on a lot of fun filled activities and buying and gifting new clothes and things.

Satraat

Traditionally the couple goes to the bride’s house in the evening where they are presented with new clothes, some salt as shagun and cash. The groom is also presented with a dusa (six-yard pashmina shawl).

Roth Khabar

On the first Saturday or Tuesday after the wedding, the bride’s parents send a roth (traditional long freshly baked cake decorated with nuts) to their son-in-laws family.

Gar Atchun

The bride’s brother and sister comes to the marital home to escort the bride back to her parents home for a day. This ritual is known as Gar Atchun. A grand meal is prepared by the bride’s family. After the meal it’s finally time for the couple to return to her new home while carrying all the gifts presented to her by her parents.

The ‘Lakshmi( Hindu Goddess of prosperity, in the case of the bride)’ is finally home. The last ritual brings us to an end of the authentic Kashmiri Hindu wedding and as we come to the end of the blog,
Here’s to the new beginning and everlasting days of laughter and love.
“A happy marriage is about three things: memories of togetherness, forgiveness of mistakes and a promise to never give up on each other.”