Kashmir, a proud backdrop to many Bollywood movies.

While thinking of a topic for this week’s blog, I wanted to come up with a different aspect of Kashmir, since we’ve already explored Kashmiri beauty and culture a lot. Reading the same topics, again and again, may get you bored, which is also part of my plan to diversify your reading.

One day while I was watching the movie ‘Yeh Jawaani hae Deewani’ and saw ‘the trekking trip’ scene, I thought of one of the most famous and widely accredited trekking in Gulmarg, and much to my surprise I learnt that the scene that was actually passed off as Manali in the film was actually our very own Gulmarg. Can you believe it?
This is why I thought why not to write a post about the bonding of Indian movies with the most romantic, tourist-friendly destination of Kashmir.

‘The heavenly beauty of Kashmir could echo perfectly the heavenly emotion of romance’, and why not? The destination of Kashmir has served a proud background for scenes in many famous Bollywood movies.
While the likes of
“Kashmir Ki Kali’, where the scenic Dal Lake became a backdrop to the evergreen peppy song ‘Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra’,
‘Junglee’, Shammi Kapoor’s first colour film was shot majorly in the valley,
‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’ where the story revolves around a Kashmiri boatman falling in love with a tourist,
to Aap Ki Kasam, Silsila” are among others, that romanticised the valley’s natural beauty in the 1960s and 70s, let’s move on to more recent releases that you probably did not know was shot in picturesque Kashmir.

Here then, let’s take you through some of the most notable Bollywood movies set in Kashmir!

  1.       Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

An amazing blend of trek, romance and never-ending friendships create a riot of adrenaline as they set out in the breathtakingly beautiful location of Gulmarg, Kashmir and not Manali!

  1.       Highway

Did the locations of Imtiaz Ali’s, Highway get you moving? Well then, a significant portion of the film was shot in Kashmir, including Aru valley, Pahalgam and the famous Srinagar-Leh highway!

  1.       Jab Tak Hai Jaan

While the scenic beauty of especially the song ‘Jiya Re’ is evidently shot in Kashmir, amidst the beautiful green valley, and houseboats lined up, many scenes were also shot in Ladakh and Kashmir besides London.

  1.       Student of the Year

Thinking of visiting the place where the song ‘Ishq Waala Love’ was shot? Think no more, pack your bags and leave for Kashmir. Yes, the indescribably beautiful snow-covered backdrop is majorly shot in Kashmir!

  1.       Rockstar

A portion of director Imtiaz Ali’s film, Rockstar was also shot in Kashmir. From food served in the traditional tram to Nargis Fakhri’s character and traditional outfit/ jewelry, the director has gone to great lengths to present the culture and tradition of the valley.

  1.       Lamhaa

Madno, from the movie Lamhaa, was shot at various locations in Srinagar such as Pari Mahal, Dal Lake and some gardens.

  1.       Tahaan

A must watch award-winning film shot entirely in the Kashmir Valley. A story of a young Kashmiri boy and his beloved donkey set in the beautiful landscapes of Pahalgam, Kashmir.

  1.       Saat Khoon Maaf

A song from Priyanka Chopra’s Saat Khoon Maaf was picturised in the mesmerizing backdrop of Gulmarg, Jallani House and Shalimar Gardens (in Srinagar).

  1.       Yahaan

This movie was shot entirely in never-before-seen locations in Kashmir!

  1.   Fitoor

Kashmir has always remained a fan of Bollywood, and as a fan, the Valley was once again eager to welcome the film fraternity for the shooting of Fitoor. Don’t miss the awe-inspiring beauty of Kashmir shown in the love story that surpasses social divide.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever!” Bollywood doesn’t seem to get over with the everlasting infatuation with the beautiful Valle of Kashmir. The love affair has only grown stronger.
Pack your bags immediately and travel to the most breath-taking backdrop for romantic scenes in Bollywood.

Raabta- a ray of hope.

At a time when negative news dominates the headlines around the world, there’s something very positive about this story that’ll brighten up your day.

“Happiness is meeting an old friend after a long time.” 
Let’s start with this optimistic note. ‘Raabta’, a small endeavor to re-establish broken links between Kashmiri families, friends, classmates and neighbours divided by decades of insurgency  and social bitterness is surely the need of the hour.
Raabta, which translates into “connection”, is a Facebook page helping search and reconnect people we grew up with. The ones we haven’t heard from each other in the last 28 years.


Our concept of ‘Kashmiriyat‘ is incomplete without Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits. We were/are one society, one family.
Better late than never, almost a month since the page with over 21,000 followers was created; Raabta has already been able to connect five Kashmiri Hindu Pandit and Muslim families who live far away from each other, reviving our composite culture, our ‘Kashmiriyat‘.

Behind the initiative is a Kashmiri advertising professional based in Gurugram named Jaibeer Ahmad.
Despite polarisation, we continue to share bond as individuals. Bound together by our common heritage, culture, music, poetry, food and the pheran (the Kashmiri traditional overcoat),” Ahmad, 43, told IANS

Raabta, the name itself brings forth an explosion of emotions. A friend-to-friend, people-to-people connect.
“To that extent, Raabta is completely driven by organic search,”

Jaibeer hopes that the initiative he runs along with other Kashmiri friends — both Muslims and Hindus —will bridge the gap between the divided communities that together made “Kashmiriyat”, Kashmir’s unique composite culture.

As Ahmad puts it, “(Before 1990) there were no acronyms of KP (Kashmiri Pandit) and KM (Kashmiri Muslim). We were all Kashmiris.”

If you’re on Twitter and Instagram, you’ll be lucky enough to find Raabta there as well. But it is mainly the FB page that is driving the platform.
This amazing initiative has been generously supported by some major newspapers.

We are not Kashmiri. We are not Hindu. We are not Muslim. Our only identity is that we are Indian.
We at Kashmiri Life would request everyone to join ‘Raabta’ and spread the word to fill the gaps and bring the Kashmiriyat back.
Let souls reconnect and reclaim their friendships that had gotten trapped under the debris of time.

India’s one and only floating Post office.

Jammu and Kashmir, one of the most beautiful places on Earth is set as the crown of India and crowns aren’t always made of rhinestones, but sometimes made up of  snow capped Himalayan mountains, picturesque valleys, magnificent chinar trees, vibrant tulip flowers, the beautiful Dal Lake and last but not the least – India’s first floating Post Office.

Are you packing your bags for Srinagar anytime soon? Then let us tell you, along-with the floating vegetable and flower markets and the unique experience of staying on a houseboat, you can also take a boat ride right up to the floating post office and send a special postcard to friends and family back home!
Now isn’t that a souvenir and memory worth cherishing for life?

For the ones who want to go beyond the highlights of a destination and experience the place in a more unusual way, a government post office that floats amidst scores of docked houseboats and bright yellow shikaras ferrying tourists and locals, is an obvious on the itinerary.

The “Floating Post Office, Dal Lake” is claimed to be the only such in the world and is built on an intricately carved maroon houseboat, anchored on the western edge of the Dal Lake.

We’ve got more surprises for you. The post office also includes a museum with collection of stamps and also a shop that sells postage stamps among other things. These include picture postcards, greeting cards that bear pictures of the beautiful Dal Lake, and have a distinctive stamp that depicts a man rowing a shikara, local souvenir items, stationary and several books on Kashmir.


These pictures will reach wherever these letters will be posted and will promote Kashmir as a tourist destination across the world“.
There are so many visitors to Srinagar who just visit the post office to send a postcard back home to their loved ones. That’s not all, other services at the post office allow tourists to call and email their friends all across the world.

A tourist enjoying in India’s first floating Post-Office

Inaugurated by then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Minister of State for Communications and IT, Sachin Pilot in 2011, this post office offers regular postal services on water and is frequented by both locals and tourists. Since then, it has been attracting tourists from all across the country.

It is a befitting tribute to the lake, which is one of the most famous and often quoted symbols of Kashmir, and often referred to as the crown of Kashmir“.
Set on the gorgeous view of the hypnotic Dal Lake, reflecting the grand Himalayan peaks dominating the horizon, this heritage post office is a tribute to the beautiful Dal Lake. This lovely floating post office just adds more to its gorgeousness!


The most popular saying about Kashmir is “Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast,” which roughly translates to “If there is heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here”.
The vibrant valley of Kashmir is known not only for its beauty, carpets, shawls, paintings, metalwork, woodwork and paintings but also for its delicious food. I’m sure; the sheer beauty of the place along with the food of Kashmir continues to give meaning to Amir Kusrow’s famous words.
And ofcourse, the point of pride for every Kashmiri is the lavish multi-course wazwan meal.

Well, for a meal to become a wazwan you need to have a waza (master chef from Kashmir specialized in making ‘wazwan’) cook it for you. For our brothers and sisters who are missing their home town, or for the ones who simply want to show off their culinary skills, here is a four-course meal from the famous wazwan that you can begin with.

“A wazwan feast is not an everyday affair in Kashmir.”
Although wazwan usually contains around 15 items, but that number could just easily go up to around 36.

“Like a short story, a good recipe can put us in a delightful trance.”
Have you ever thought why recipes are written in the ‘imperative tense’ (heat the pan, peel the onion)? Before I explain to you, here are a few recipes we suggest you prepare to satiate your desire for the famous wazwan or simply present your guests with.

Everyone loves appetizers. Entertain your crowd with this perfect Paneer Gulnar from wazwan.

We’ve picked these two top rated dishes from the diverse range of main-course items that ‘wazwan’ meal offers. Go ahead & give these a try.

Who needs a special occasion to satisfy the sweet tooth? Just bring it on!

A dessert to conclude the main meal.

As you read the recipes on a slow day at work, or while trying to kill some time, sparing a moment in your busy day or simply with your head drowsily on the pillow, there is no onion, no lamb or dry fruits, but you’ve watched yourself peel that onion, cooked the fiery lamb and even soaked the dry fruits over night, but, all in your minds.
That’s how you’ve been fooled but at the same time gotten the most pleasure and satisfaction of a good meal. Thanks to the imperative tense used in the recipes. Yes, you might do the actual cooking tomorrow, but right now, you’ve sharpened your cooking skills, virtually with us.

Trust me, the very name wazwan is enough to bring aroma of Kashmir wherever you are even outside the valley – ‘the King of all feasts’.

P.S. I am already craving for it! Being Kashmiri


Sufism In Kashmir

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any“–Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, June 1, 1921

 Our Kashmir is a living, breathing example of a society that has, traditionally taken the best from various cultures and infused those elements into its own best traditions. One such tradition is the noble, spiritual and humane Sufi tradition that is Islamic at its core and, while retaining the God-fearing attributes of piousness, has melded these attributes with the mercy and the all-encompassing compassion of the Almighty.

Unfortunately, our Sufi traditions have tended to suffer at the versions of Wahabi rigidity steadily exported from Pakistan and disguised as a vehicle for Azadi. It is against such impositions that Kashmir is gradually responding by declaring that “I refuse to be blown off my feet”. The campaign to preserve Sufi traditions, being an inseparable part of Kashmiriyat, has fortunately found a response among the Valley youth and is slowly, but surely, gathering momentum.

Sufi Music

One aspect of Sufism is the expression of devotion to our maker by way of pious and soulful dance, poetry and music (remember the dances of the dervishes?) often at the dargahs and mazars of men who, by their piety and virtue, attained the status of Pirs. Sufi devotional poetry and music were composed in the Kashmiri and Persian languages and their lilting sound, so full of devotion and immersion in the greatness and goodness of God came to distinguish Kashmiri Sufi traditions.

Although Sufi singers and dancers in the past have invariably been men; the women of today are taking an equal interest in the Sufi art forms. Shabnam Bashir, a bright and spirited Kashmiri teenager, took to learning classical Sufi music three years ago. She practised her singing in low profile at first, being diffident about opposition by her family but the family, upon seeing her talent and her application, relented subject to her commitment to Sufi music not affecting her regular studies. Today, Shabnam Bashir is a proud member of what her teacher, Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh proudly mentions as the first Sufi singing ensemble in Kashmir. Shabnam Bashir says her interest in Sufi music was primarily inspired by the desire to save ‘Sufiyana’ that symbolises the cultural ethos of Kashmir. In the wake of the trail blazed by Shabnam Bashir, her teacher has trained nearly 50 other Kashmiri girls and women in Sufi music, a cultural heritage that they shall proudly pass on to future generations.


Sufi Paintings

The austere harshness of life was mellowed by the softness of Sufi painting.  In March 2016, a solo Sufi painting exhibition, titled “Rhythm of Life”, by Shafique Farooqi was placed on display at the Alhambra Art Gallery on The Mall in Lahore, Pakistan.A book featuring the artist’s work was also launched with the same title to mark his 10,000 art pieces, 100 exhibitions and 50 years of working as an artist. The exhibition was organised in collaboration with the Lahore Sufi Festival.

Tragically, while Sufi culture receives so much attention in Pakistan, it is sought to be stifled and subdued in Kashmir by doctrinaire hardliners. It is, thus, heartening that Badr un Nisa, a Kashmiri girl, has shouldered the responsibility of reviving the rich Sufi tradition through her paintings. She began as a child painter but has achieved distinction with exhibitions of her paintings being held in places as far afar as Turkey and Austria.

Sufi Architecture

Although Sufi saints were not architects, the people of Kashmir evolved a unique architectural style in the construction of mausoleums and shrines of these saints such that Kashmir also came to be known as “pir waer” or the Alcove of Saints. These are wooden edifices that are gloriously conceived and designed marvels of architecture. The oldest and finest example is the shrine of Shrine of Hazrat Syed Sharif-ud-Din Abdur Rehman ‘Bulbul’ Shah who arrived in Kashmir, from Turkistan in 1324 AD. Over time, people came to describe the Sufi shrine architecture as “Reshi Architecture” being an allegorical reference to the Sufi saint Nundreshi whose shrine was built at Charar-e-sharif.


Although ‘Bulbul’ Shah’s shrine was recently restored, many of these symbols of veneration and masterpieces of architecture have tragically suffered from neglect over the years eroding our heritage. The moment produces the man.  Iqbal Ahmed from Kulgam, a graduate with a Diploma in numismatics, archaeology and heritage is an accomplished cultural historian who has produced as many as 12 books on Kashmiri archaeology and heritage. Iqbal Ahmed has embarked upon a programme of forceful advocacy to preserve the iconic “Reshi Architecture’ of Kashmir arguing that it is an inseparable part of the Kashmiri culture, tradition and history; something that the Kashmiri people cannot afford to lose anymore.

Pakistani architect Kamil Khan Mumtaz has explained the spiritual dimensions of Sufi shrine architechture. He points out that the mausoleum consists of a cube, representing the earth, material body, and a dome, which symbolises the spiritual sphere. The point at which they meet indicates the human and divine.

The Glory of Sufism in Kashmir

“Old is gold,” is an English proverb that held true yesterday and would continue to hold true today and tomorrow.

Today let’s share our views and thoughts on the hoary and priceless culture of Sufism in Kashmir. While there is no doubt that the Heaven on Earth, Kashmir located in the lap of snow-clad mountains is world renowned for its apple orchards, the shade of fallen Chinar, lush green grass meadows, Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam valleys, magnificent Dal lake, water bodies like Jhelum, Indus and Chenab, Mughal gardens, world famous elegant Pashmina shawl; it is equally well known for the Sufi culture.
The presence of Sufism in Kashmir has added the sparkle of tolerance to the beauty of the valley.

The word Sufi is derived from the Arabic word ‘al-tasawwuf’ adverting to the inwardness or the inner mystical dimensions of Islam.. Sufism’s essential message, a message holding true for all Sufi saints, is this; ‘to remember God and serve others’.
“Love is the divine essence in man and is due to God alone. saidHazrat Inayat Khan one of the most respected and honoured preceptors of Sufism..
A Sufi’s path is a path of love. Islamic mystics are called Sufis which includes an allusion to the softness of ‘Suf’ i.e. “wool” and their way of life is Sufism.

The Glory of Sufism in Kashmir
Ancient Kashmir has been a protected place of stay and meditation for the saints, Sufis, Rishis and other devoted worshipers of God. History suggests that these saints belonged to different religions that include Shaivism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Sufism evolved and developed a credo among Muslims which emphasised bonds of love with and surrender to the almighty.The philosophy spread along the valley after the arrival of Sufis from Central Asia. There is a strong belief that eclectic practices came to define a Sufi and the growth of Sufism in Kashmir.

Haven’t we heard beautiful stories of communal harmony? For centuries the Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir have lived together peacefully. The Muslims of Kashmir had a strong influence on Hindus, and vice-versa. During the rule of Chaks and Shahmiris there existed six orders of Sufism which were Qadiria, Sahurwardia, Kibrawiya, Naqashbandia, Noorbakhshia and Rishia. While the first five had arrived from Iran and Turkistan, the sixth one was originally from Kashmir and sought to combine the very best elements of the different religious orders.
The beautiful valley of Kashmir exerted a special attraction on the Sufis saint sat whose shrines, people flock in large numbers to pay homage. The most dominant influence on the Kashmiri identity, in terms of our Kashmiriyat, is that of the ‘Rishi’ order of Sufis. According to a scholar: “Where Sufis are Rishis and Rishis are Sufis”. The term `Rishi’ itself is clearly a derivation from Sanskrit and Indian traditions, though some Medieval Muslim scholars have tried to show that it is derived from the Persian word raish or rish meaning the “feathers or wings of a bird.”
Among the Muslim rishis, the most famous rishi is SheikhNur-ud-din (RA). Out of a feeling of deep respect and love, both the Hindus and Muslims call him ‘Nandrishi’. The shrine of Nandrishi is located in Chrar-e-Sharief, a small village about five miles from Nagam. Both Hindus and Muslims gather at this shrine to make floral offerings.. He was known not only as a Saint, Rishi, and Spiritual head of Kashmir but also as a great writer and poet who, through his verses, taught Kashmiris the importance of Islamic virtues of justice, sincerity, equality, truth, morality and spirituality.
It is also believed that Sheikh nurtured the ‘Koshur’ language that plays a role in our identity formation.

“We belong to the same parents.
Then why this difference?
Let Hindus and Muslims(together)
Worship God alone.
We came to this world like partners.
We should have shared our joys
and sorrows together.”

The Sufi traditions of Jammu and Kashmir still play an important role in the lives of people in the region for whom the traditions connote an understanding of the world in all its spiritual dimensions.

We shall revisit our roots and also talk more about Sufism in Kashmir in our next articles.

KASHMIRI FUN-FACT, Guaranteed to PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE and Brighten up your day.

We at Kashmiri Life had decided to collect the most interesting Kashmiri fun-fact and no, we will not fail you. Put aside all your work for ten minutes and check out this list of some more Kashmiri fun-facts that’ll keep you entertained for some time and boost your productivity at work as they say, “Happiness inspires productivity.” Without wasting much time let’s dive into Kashmiri fun-facts straightaway.


Kashmiri fun-fact – An adorable thing that every mom does and we absolutely love it.


She loves you more than her life but is also the one who keeps pricking you on all your mistakes trying to make you a better person, and no prizes for guessing she is ‘A mother’. Here I’d like to take an opportunity to quote the legendary actor Mr. Shashi Kapoor, “Mere paas Maa hae”. ‘Maa/Mother/Mouji/Ammi’, a word that evokes strong emotions. Let’s start with an adorable thing that every Kashmiri mother does. Keeping us before herself always proves her unconditional love for us. Here is our summarized experience. Her drama is never ending but that is what lights up your life, isn’t it?


Kashmiri fun-fact –Kashmiris Hindi speaking skills.

We are known for our notorious Hindi speaking skills. When it comes to speaking the Hindi language we simply get confused. Here’s a proof.

Kashmiri fun-fact – Kashmiri English vs. Indian English


We have a different accent in pronouncing things. As per pronunciation is concerned Just as it is difficult to remove ‘heaven’ from Kashmir, similarly, it is difficult to remove an extra ‘a’ from our pronunciations. I can give you a list of mispronounced words, but wait, mistake me not; Koshur is honey-sweet on the ears.

Kashmiri fun-fact – Our way of mastering the wedding dance

Fearing the wedding season as it’s time to get your groove on? No need to fear, we are here with a step-by-step guide to an easy dance move that anyone can master. Yes, heard about the ‘screwing those light bulbs’ step? A simple extending your arms outwards and bringing them in and repeating the step five to six times are all about our dance.

Kashmiri fun-fact – Our showing off skills

Apart from showing off our dance skills we can randomly enter an artifacts shop and show off how much we know about the products and leave the shop without buying anything and without even feeling guilty about it. Part of our strategy is to make the shopkeepers feel that their product is not worth buying.


Kashmiri fun-fact – The love of our life(Food)

How can we write an article on Kashmiri Fun-facts and not talk about food even once? If food is what you think all day and all night, you are a true Kashmiri. We may be sharing this common interest with the rest of the country, but our love for food is one step ahead.  “People who love to eat are always the best people.”

Conclusion: We will weave in more fun-facts you didn’t know about a Kashmiri. Trust me there are so many Kashmiri fun-facts to share with you! Bet our list is so far the unique!

Chillain Kalan – 40days of biting cold

When the sun burns coldly under a low grey sky and when the only alternative source of heat is the kanger , the traditional fire pot, you know that winter is putting footsteps in the Valley. At sunset the clouds gathered again calling it a night but of-course as they say, with the promise of a new dawn, the flowers sleep and trees show their bony limbs once more and a smile plays upon your cold face, yes ‘Chillai Kalan’ has come upon the people of the valley once again.

While the coldest seasons of the year is ordinarily known as ‘winter’ everywhere else, we Kashmiris call it ‘Chillas’. The most severe times of winter spread through three months and divided into three parts – ‘the Chillai Kalan’, ‘the Chillai Khurd’, and ‘the Challai Bache’.


‘Chillai-Kalan’ is the traditional 40-day period of harsh winter. It begins from December 21 and ends on January 31 next year. Instead of a gentle breeze the air turns into sub-zero temperatures, frozen lakes and rivers, and the demand for Kangri, electric blanket goes up.
According to a tradition, 21st December is celebrated as Shab-e Chelleh (Night of Forty), which refers to the beginning of the first 40 days of Winter. It is believed to be the longest night of the season, but not scientifically proven. The onset of Chillai Kalan is celebrated by preparing 40 kinds of dishes; people are dressed in their traditional dresses and perform traditional dance forms like Dumhal.
Kashmir Valley dons a white cloak. The air is tinged with blue and grey, and pools of water freeze on streets only to squeak when stepped on. The chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum in Chillai-kalan. Life takes a slow pace in the valley till the end of January. People usually stock up essentials including dried vegetables, coal and kerosene.
During these winters when your floors are getting too cold to handle, ‘Hamam’ comes to the rescue. Hamams are rooms where firewoods are used beneath the floor, made of special stones, with the goal to keep it warm. And the secret of keeping oneself warm is by effectively layering up in woolen clothing, pheran, jackets and the fire-pot beneath the dress.

There is also a saying of Chillai Kalan- ‘A garlic a day for a healthy stay’, referring to have a garlic every day as a precaution to stay away from the common effects of cold and be healthy.

Thankfully, the harshest period is followed by the 20-day-long ‘Chilai Khurd’ (small cold) at the end of January that occurs between January 31 and February 19, and subsequently the 10-day-long ‘Chillai Bacha’ is from February 20 to March 2 (baby cold) which won’t be as harsh as the 40-day-period. Any snowfall during this season does not last long.

The colors of winter paint the valley with shades of grey and white. Winter here is not just a season, we hear about people going back to their roots in the biting cold.
Last but not the least, remember my friends, “No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”