The Story Of A ‘City Of 7 Bridges/Kadal’-From The City Of Kashmir

The old city of Srinagar – An Indian city that still holds on to its medieval charm with its meandering roads, smells and sounds from its bustling bazaars, the muddy brown river Jhelum and the of-course the lifelines of the city, the Kadals. It’ll seem as if you have stepped into the pages of an enchanting storybook.

Today let us dive into one such page of the book. About 80kms south of Srinagar, the integral part of the city, the muddy brown river Jhelum passes from Verinag to the Wular Lake in the north. Settlers relied on this river for commercial vitality.
The two banks of the river are knitted together with the help of the bridges which are naturally divided by the Jhelum. There are a total of eight bridges connecting the two banks of the river. And as love connects one to the other, it takes both sides to build a bridge.
Therefore I guess the same word ‘Kadal’ means ‘a bridge’ in Kashmiri and ‘love’ in Tamil.

Jhelum- Kashmiri Life- City Of 7 Bridges/Kadal

The Jhelum River runs eight bridges spanning the city. The bridges are, Amira Kadal, Habba Kadal, Fateh Kadal, Zaina Kadal, Aali Kadal, Nawa Kadal, Safa Kadal and Zero Bridge. Each of these bridges has a history as rich and unique as the place itself.

Don’t be surprised if you get a view of Kashmir, having buildings of old bricks and stone work lining both sides of the river, from any of the old city’s bridges.

Amira Kadal – The first bridge

amira kadal_old_Bridge in Srinagar 1950s - Kashmiri Life
The heart is the first organ to form during the development of the body. Probably that is the reason ‘Amira Kadal’ is referred to as ‘The heart of Srinagar’. Dating back from the 1770s, during the Afghan rule over the valley through the re-construction in 1982, the bridge adds to the feel of the local life and livelihood. Flocks of friendly welcoming bunch of fisherwomen are seen doing business sticking to the walkway. Take out your camera and show your photography skills or simply buy them to cook some Kashmiri style fish.

Haba Kadal – The second bridge

Habba-Kadal-old-bridge-Kashmiri Life- City Of 7 Bridges/Kadal
A very familiar view from the window of the small lower houses located across the river during the 1980s was that of goods being transported on horse carts. The mountain peaks of Kashmir Valley formed a magnificent backdrop of the Habba-Kadal area. Take a walk of the entire historic bridge to get a sight of the hub of commercial activity. Recently there’s an ongoing work at the bridge.

Fateh Kadal – The third bridge

Fateh kadal - Kashmiri Life- City Of 7 Bridges/Kadal
The kadal was built during Fateh Khan’s rule and thus it is known how the bridge got its name. Being one of the oldest among all the bridges it is now in a crumbling state.

Zain Kadal – The fourth bridge

Zaina kadal - Fateh kadal - Kashmiri Life- City Of 7 Bridges/Kadal
The city was divided into two halves by the Jhelum which finally united after Sultan Zainul Aabideen built the only connecting link, the Zaina Kadal. It is one of the city’s oldest bridges. A hope of togetherness stands tall with the Khanqah-i-Moulla on one side and a temple on the other. The architecture of this bridge is the best preserved example of ancient Kashmir.

Ail Kadal – The fifth bridge

ali kadal srinagar vintage - Kashmiri Life- City Of 7 Bridges/Kadal
Earlier, the rulers had all the time and privilege to adjust things to their heart’s content. Sultan Ali Shah had also done something similar. In a wish to get the beautiful panoramic view of the splashing water of the Jhelum and to enjoy the gentle breeze that blows, he created this bridge. However now you might not get such a view as the old bridge was burnt down.

Nawa Kadal – The sixth bridge

The New bridge or Boat Bridge was destroyed completely and rebuilt by the then CM Sheikh Abdulla.

Safa Kadal – The seventh bridge

Saffa Kadal 7th bridge 1915-Kashmiri Life- City Of 7 Bridges/Kadal
The Safa Kadal in Kashmir is perhaps the oldest bridge in the league. It depicts a long story of achievements of the skilled workers who hand-crafted the bridge on the gushing Jhelum.

Though there are a total of eight bridges that connects the two banks of the river, yet Srinagar is known as the ‘city of seven bridges’. Well, this is the story of ‘Zero’ who has no place. There’s a bridge in Srinagar by the name of Zero. And the story goes like this; this bridge was built by a deaf contractor and was therefore called ‘zorr Kadal’. In the due course of time the name changed to become ‘Zero bridge’. Therefore it did not find its place on the list.

“An address of Kashmiri culture and heritage, the bridge provides a grand view of the main city, now usually being referred as the old city.”
From then to now, most of these bridges have witnessed the history of Kashmir.

A small tip for the travelers, make sure to take a walk around the city instead of just spending hours at the stores. You can see stories and histories unfold while you walk instead of realizing that you’ve walked for hours.

Go for this walk to see this Kashmir, you haven’t seen otherwise!

Fruit variety in kashmir - kashmiri life

Varieties Of Fruits Grown In The Valley Of Kashmir

Have you ever painted an image of Paradise in your mind? Typically you must have imagined people lying on clouds, wearing wings and playing harps. It is a place to endless kashmir fruit gardens and vineyards whose wilderness you shall rejoice. There is peace and joy in the place where God dwells.
And going by Amir Khusro’s famous words “Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, hameen asto, hameen asto, hameen ast” literally translated as” If there is Paradise on Earth, it is here, it is here, it is here”, Kashmir, is that Paradise on Earth.

Yes, to visit Heaven while you are still on Earth you must come to Kashmir- India’s most picturesque state. You will feel the grey blanket of clouds hanging low on your face, and as the gentle wind will guide you around the orchards you will feel happy and contented.

Surrounded by the snow-hooded Himalayan Ranges, Kashmir is an endearing abode of scenic charisma.  Along with its scenic beauty there’s a bountiful supply of fruits in the heaven on earth whose taste and flavor has no match. It has been rightly described as the land of fruits. Today let’s take the route to fruit.
Keep your eyes on the page; you’ll be surprised to know the list.

Let’s start with the popular ones:

1. An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor away

Did you know, 80% of the apples supplied to the rest of the country come right from the valley. The sweetest and the finest varieties of apples grow here in Kashmir. Explore Srinagar, Budgam, Baramullah, Anantnag, Pulwama and Kupwara if you want to reach for the best apples.

Apple kashmir-  kashmiri life
2. Nourish bowl for the soul-Pomegranate

Orchards of Kashmir are naturally laden with the nutritionally rich fruit Anaar, primarily in the month of September. As always, the Kashmiri variety of the ruby red fruit is different from other varieties. Don’t be surprised if the air smells of pomegranate and around every corner you catch a glimpse of the rounded shrub while on your way. Pomegranate tress are scattered all over Srinagar city.

pomegranate kashmir - Kashmeri life
3.Pretty as Peach

How, many a times you’ve stopped near the fruits section and glanced at the tempting peaches whenever you’ve gone grocery shopping in a mall. Will it excite you to know that not all peaches on the stores are imports? Yes. The temperate areas of Jammu and Kashmir grow a variety of Peaches known as ‘Prabhat’. Peaches grow here from April to Late June. This summer may be try some sweet velvety peaches along with the always favourite mangoes.

peahes kashmir - Kashmiri life

4.You are ‘Pear’fect!

Pears are some of the oldest fruit in existence which we see in the valley today. The land has been growing several varieties of centuries old traditional fruits. A superior variety of good firm pear with a rich aroma is grown in Kashmir.

pear kashmir - kashmiri life

5.Evergreen Olives.

Many of you will be surprised to know that olives were found in Kashmir. Yes, apart from New Zealand and parts of Argentina, olives are successfully grown in Srinagar. Uri, Banhihal and Ranban areas of Kashmir have the most suitable weather conditions for the cultivation of olives. The evergreen olive trees are famous for their therapeutic character.

olives kashmir - kashmiri life

6.You are Plum perfect!

Welcome to Rawalpora in Srinagar where you’ll find an entirely carved out plum orchards in between vast farmlands. This ‘sweet-soury’ fruit is grown largely in Srinagar and many other districts. One of the main varieties produced in Kashmir is ‘centrose plum’. The other two varieties are ‘silver plum’ and ‘Chogandhra’ and are grown only on a small scale.

PlumTree kashmir - kashmiri life
7.Don’t let the outside fool you-Kiwi

Who would’ve thought that the brown fuzzy skin on the outside would cut open into a bright green flesh dotted with an array of tiny black seeds? Ripe Kiwi fruits taste sweet and mellow with a mix of a refreshing tangy flavor. The growing of Kiwis in Kashmir shows how much potential the land has in terms of horticulture and floriculture.

PlumTree kashmir - kashmiri life

8.Ripe and Golden Apricots

Belonging to the family of plums and peaches, apricots are a daily diet must have to lead a healthy lifestyle. This wonder fruit is good for a lot of organs from the human eye to the heart and also the bones. Kashmir is the home to such wonders of fruits. The soil, environment and climate facilitate growth of these temperate fruits.

Apricot fruits kashmir, kashmiri life
9.You stand out like a Strawberry in a bowl of peas

Have you seen a strawberry bed? The red juicy strawberries stand out in the vibrant green ground cover. Strawberries are mostly grown in kitchen gardens. Besides Srinagar, the always in demand strawberries are grown in Ganderbal, Budgam, Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, Islamabad and Pulwama.

strawberry kashmir - kashmiri life
10.With the Cherry-on-top

Not surprisingly this mouth-watering delicious fruit thrive in the colder climate of Jammu and Kashmir. Cherries are also considered as pre historic fruits cultivated all over the world. As of 2014, Kashmir, in India dedicated the most land to cherry production.

cherry kashmir - kashmiri life
No wonder, the valley of Kashmir has been rightly termed as the ‘Fruit Bowl of India’ with such vast varieties of fruits.

The much promised beauty is waiting to be unraveled. Come, visit Kashmir!

mogra-kashmiri-saffron- kashmiri life

Saffron: The Incredible Secret Of Authentic Kashmiri Spices

“Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies.”
What do you see in your mind when you read the above line? I can only imagine a vast green/brown field with bloomed saffron crocus at the start of winters in Kashmir.

Kashmir-the land ‘owned by God’, has been decorated with all the beauty and rarity and Saffron is one of those rare and beautiful things that grow here in Kashmir. Kashmir is a proud owner of the world’s most precious and expensive spice-Saffron.

The ‘Red-Gold’ has been grown in the fields of Pampore near Srinagar for close to 2500 years. It is believed to be one of the oldest crop that is grown in Kashmir. Saffron forms a remarkable adornment of the beautiful valley of Kashmir.

saffron-in-Kashmir life
Kashmir is India’s prime producer of Saffron and Pampore itself accounts for 80% of the main produce. Pampore has rightly lived up to its reputation of being called the ‘Saffron Town’.
Saffron blooms over the course of a brief three weeks in the fall every year. Carefully plucking the crimson stamen which changes the colour and flavor of the palates is a labour-intensive process.  Hundreds of men, women and children descend on the undulating plains to reap the blooms of the saffron flowers, extract the stigmas, dry them over heat and hand pack with love, for sale.

Among several names given to Saffron -Zafran, Kesar, Kang, Kang Posh are the widely used ones. The hue of the flowers of Saffron represents freshness and purity and is world famous for its delectable taste and aroma. Among several other noted uses, saffron is widely famous as a colouring agent.

Who doesn’t love a colorful and flavourful melting pot of tender meat, rice and dry fruit? A lovely plate of Biriyani is literally incomplete without Saffron. Its delectable taste and aroma is world famous and favours many delicious cuisines. Starting from rice dishes to various sweets, saffron has been used everywhere. Even the much-admired ‘Kahwa’ tea of Kashmir is incomplete without the use of Saffron for its olfactory property.

Saffron is that secret ingredient which has enhancing properties be it for any particular dish, skin or hair. Do you at times envy the fair skin of Kashmiris?

In Kashmir saffron is extensively used to clear skin color and keep it healthy.
But, we don’t encourage the infatuation of some people with fair skin. Remember, every skin colour is beautiful and the color of your skin cannot define the color of your heart.

The king of spice, Saffron has also been used for many centuries for its myriad medicinal properties. Which is why saffron is by far one of the oldest herbs ever used for medicinal purposes in the history of mankind and is still being used in some regions of the world.
Besides being used as a spice and medicine the flowers of the valley is also engaged in the production of dyes, and perfumes.

Once in Pampore, along with the two popular shrines, the lovely sight of millions of purple pods of saffron flower blooms, emanating the sweet scent of autumn to the passersby is undoubtedly the main attraction.

Ladies-with-Pehran-dancing- kashmiri life

PHERAN- A Dress Defining The Richness Of Kashmir

Kashmir has always been adored because of its beauty, rich culture, the spices, the cdress (Pheran) and a lot more. Kashmir has been described as one of the prettiest gift from nature.Once you visit Kashmir you will get emotionally attached to everything there. The feeling of belongingness automatically generates as you explore Kashmir. Kashmir is the place which has been beautifully decorated by god himself.

The place carries a rich, beautiful and a healthy culture. The shikaras, the kahwah (Kashmiri tea) and obviously the “pheran” are the symbols of richness of Kashmiri culture. The pheran is a complete traditional Kashmiri outfit which is worn by both male and female of Kashmir. It is a long gown type dress which is designed according to the climate of Kashmir. The length of pheran reaches to the ankle.

kashmiri-wearing-Pehran- kashmiri life

The term pheran is derived from the Greek word that means “APRON”. There are also beliefs related to pheran that it got its name from Central Asia i.e from Tajikistan as peraband. The actual origin of pheran can be found from the “MUGHALS” who inspired the tradition of long dress.

A pheran is carried with the combination of poots by local Kashmiri people to protect themselves from cold weather. Pheran and poots are the mostly in the same pattern but of different fabric. A poots is long loose cotton dress in the same pattern of pheran. It differs from pheran just in the term of texture. A pheran is made up of pure wool which keeps the body warm. Pheran and poots makes a complete set of attire. Pheran and poots are carried one above the other. This attire looks majestic with narrow sleeves. Pheran has been designed in such a way that it goes completely perfect with both the gender. The embroidery is done on pheran worn by female, and the one worn by male is kept simple without any embroidery.

Tourist wearing pheran traditional dress- Kashmiri life

Pheran was designed according to the cold and snowy winters of Kashmir, but later this became popular because of its distinct design and beautiful style. It started becoming popular around the world. Number of tourists who have visited Kashmir must have got clicked in traditional Kashmiri attire.With its complete styling, a proper pheran is designed and dressed with lots of accessories such as ‘Kasaba’ which is a headgear.
It is stitched just like a turban and tied at back side of head. The front side of head is covered with beautiful silver accessories, those attractive designed jewellery covers the half round of head in a very beautiful manner. The jewellery looks best with pherans. Heavy silver earrings in the designs of jhumkas go perfect with pheran. The embroidery done on pheran are of silver, gold, silk, zari and many more.
Pheran comes in much attractive color with beautiful embroidery. This beautiful dress has a different beauty and has a different charm. This attire has now reached to a different level. Pheran has been introduced to different fashion shows. Many actors and actresses while acting as a Kashmiri are seen in this beautiful attire. It is a beautiful as well a decent outfit, gives the perfect essence of Kashmir!

kashmir cafe culture - kashmiri life

Café culture in Kashmir

Kashmir is often seen as a city with its quintessential natural beauty with the place changing its color from green to yellow to orange with the season. Indeed Kashmir is rightly termed as ‘the Paradise on Earth’ for its own peculiar beauty.
Keeping the beautiful backdrop in mind, on a cool sunny morning how would you feel spending endless hours at your favourite café sipping on some hot coffee? Freaking awesome right?

The café generation and café culture has already found its way in the country and is growing ever since. The scent of freshly brewed coffee has spread in the Paradise too…All you nature lovers out there make a list of these amazing cafes from Kashmir, that’ll satisfy your hunger and quench the thirst of your soul.

These days’ cafes are springing up in the summer capital, Srinagar. These modern-day cafes are designed keeping in mind the change in preferences of the new/younger generation. Next time you are visiting Kashmir keep this list handy.

1.Books and Bricks: For all you bookworms out there.

Address: Gogji Bagh Rd, Opp Amar Singh College, Iqbal Park, Wazir Bagh, Srinagar.

Books and Bricks - srinagar/kashmir cafe- kashmiri life

If you don’t shamelessly indulge in other people’s conversations, or take note of what people are wearing then you should definitely give this place a try. The name matches the reality. Enjoy your quite time surrounded by a rack full of best seller English classics.
And as quoted “Happiness is a cup of coffee and a good book.”

2. 14th Avenue: A café with a beautiful sight

Address: Lal Mandi, Rajbagh (Near Foot Bridge), Srinagar.

14th Avenue - Cafe in srinagar- kashmiri life
Soak up the beautiful sight of the river Jhelum while having some of the yummiest cakes and bakery stuffs from the café. A typical European style café in the midst of the city. Apart that, its cuisine ranges from Italian to Indian, Lebanese and Mediterranean. Spend your evening sipping some coffee while enjoying the sunset.
Oh! What a beautiful sight. Coffee anyone?

3.The Other Side Café – Here, choices are for everyone!

Address: Sarah City Centre Mall, 2nd Floor – Exhibition Crossing, I.G. Road, Srinagar.

The Other Side Café- cafe srinagar- kashmiri life
This is a place where everybody eats and does things they love. Wanna sit back and watch some television shows? Yes of course you can, and no, nobody will be judging you! You can also soothe your mind and free your stress with a choice of melodies from Coke Studio or Bollywood for endless hours while satiating your hunger with delicious food. And you Bibliophiles need not worry, go ahead and choose a quiet corner for yourself.
They have made all efforts for you to return to the restaurant again.

4. Hukus Bukus : Trying to find a café with an outside sitting area?

Address: Honda lane, Rajbagh.Srinagar.

Goodfellas cafe- cafe srinagar- kashmiri life
This café offers you an open space in the backward. You can enjoy your food and coffee while relaxing in the open-air instead of the loud chatty indoor. Well the café also provides a well-lit glam indoor environment.

5. Goodfellas café : A blend of traditional and contemporary.

Address: The Bund, Residency Road.

Goodfellas - Cafe Srinagar- Kashmiri life
This café seems quite determined to provide its visitors a counter balanced architecture. The café reflects the traditional construction of Kashmiri homes that made use of planks of woods for the walls. A perfect blend of modern and traditional architecture is reflected in every piece of furniture. While appreciating the interior views don’t forget the tasty appetizing food plate.
Everyone has a favorite place to visit; who knows may be this will become yours.

Whether you are visiting Kashmir for the first time or you are a local, you must definitely try any one of these cafes or rather all these amazing café.

Kashmiri Apple Crops In Demand In Asian Markets- kashmiri life

The Apple of Paradise

Kashmir, so much diversity!
The many shades of Kashmir will leave a sense of deep joy, contentment and satisfaction in you. It is only nature that will never fail you. Nature adds its dash of color to the dimmed overcast day.
apple orchard Cropped kashmir farm - kashmiri life
Today, let’s walk you through the ‘apple orchards’ of Kashmir. Kashmir is referred to as the ‘famous fruit bowl’ of India. The green apple orchards dotted with snow capped peaks rising above the horizon is a feast for the eyes.
picking apples from kashmir farm - kashmiri life
Kashmiri  apples have gained popularity among the people across the globe for its unique yet delicious taste. These Kashmiri apples are locally termed as “Chunt”. In India, apart from Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, Kashmir is the prime source of the total Apple production of the country. Apples in India are largely grown in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir’s geography ultimately is the boon for the optimal growth of Apple and thus Kashmiri Apple is the king in quality. You can make an instantaneous judgment on its uniqueness by seeing the distinguished color, shape and quality of the apples. There are around 113 varieties of Kashmiri apples that the valley can boast of.

Chinar tree kashmir - kashmiri life

Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Kulgam – the four districts of south Kashmir are known for their tranquil, red as ever apple orchards.
As the chinar leaves slowly starts shedding its green colors while changing its hues towards brighter darker golden, with the incoming autumn season, the orchards will be soon packed with red blooms of apples.
Sopore has the quantity, Shopian has the quality.”

For a breathtaking and stunning experience, a visit to the apple orchards during the summer season is recommended. And, we can give you one reason why May might be the best month for the visit, as you can catch a glimpse of the best of the harvesting season.
And as “The Giving Tree” says, “Come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy”.
You will surely enjoy plucking the juiciest Kashmiri apples from the tress.
harvesting season apple farm- kashmiri life
August is here, and in the Valley around this time the countdown to picking apples from orchards and carefully packing them has begun. Kashmiri apples are specially hand-picked with love and carefully packed in wooden or cardboard boxes waiting to be shipped to the rest of the country and abroad. The home grown apples make their way to almost every home in the world, fresh as ever.

The famous Chinese pilgrim Heun Tsang had mentioned about Kashmiri apples.
All the high praises and compliments from people belonging to different ages and nationalities is enough to turn Kashmir pink.

 

picking apples from kashmir farm - kashmiri life

And while you are holidaying in Kashmir, your journey isn’t complete if you’ve not tasted the freshly fallen apples below the trees right from the orchards. En-route Pahalgam and Gulmarg via Srinagar you can stop your car to fulfill this wish.

Amidst the sparkling streams, the snow capped mountains and the jaw-dropping beauty of the valley once for all you’ll feel like flying away from the hustle-bustle of regular life.
For more information on the diverse culture of Kashmir, visit kashmirilife

Namdah carpet famous kashmir carpet - kashmiri life

The Magic Of Numdah Carpets

Just as the long-revered beauty of Kashmir, the bright orange, brown, red, gold, and yellow scattered leaves on the country roads gives a warm welcome to travelers from all over the world, a brief gaze at a beautiful Numdah carpet is also enough to bring out the art of poetry.

From the spell bound beauty of the valley to its traditional art forms to rich cuisines, the land of poetry, Kashmir, has a multi-faceted soul.

Namdah carpet famous kashmir carpet - kashmiri life

In India carpet weaving first travelled to Kashmir in the late 15th century (600yrs to 700yrs) from Iran along with a Sufi Saint, ‘Amir Shah-el-Hamdan’.

Technique

The valley of Kashmir offers a range of floor covering. Likewise, the hand-made Numdah carpet from Kashmir, a tradition inherited and passed on over 500 yrs. The technique of Numdah art was inherited and inspired by their ancestors from Iran. Mostly Numdah carpets the floor of Kashmiri homes during winter and the bright colors & designs turn your home into a place of warmth.

Namdah carpet famous kashmir carpet - kashmiri life

Numdah involves the craft of making carpets by felting. These colorful hand felted carpets from Kashmir are made out of unspun wool and cotton, in certain proportions, or entirely of 100% wool. The felt decorations are seamlessly layered with the base without a stitch. They not only brighten up your spaces but also feel soft and warm below your feet.
The technique requires taking unspun wool and pounding it with water and soap multiple times until a flat base of wool is achieved. They then sketch the pattern on to the Numdah rug base. The bold patterns and rich muti-coloured designs often depicting nature are then embroidered with a hook. The sizes usually range from 2’x3′ to 6’x9′ in square, rectangular, round and oval shapes.

Namdah carpet famous kashmir carpet - kashmiri life
The felted carpets are predominately made of pure sheep wool. The sheep wool ‘kat yer’ required for this technique is locally bought from Badgam, Pahalgam as these regions have been inhabited by shepherds and Naushera (where the Govt. House for wool distribution is stationed).

These Numdahs are generally sold through ‘Craft Bazaars in Kashmir’.

It continues to be one of the prime occupations and the main source of livelihood of many people of the valley even to this day. But this craft making seeks a whole lot of physical strength and the remunerations are hardly comparable. This is the reason that the art form is fading with time and a handful of people are recently left to make Numdah.

Reviving The Art

But 29 year old Arifa Jan from Kashmir has taken up the daunting task to revamp this 11th century rug making technique, Numdah, which is indigenous to the valley.
“I had no interest in a government job. I always wanted to have my own business.”~Arifa
Even after facing a lot of challenges at every step, her love for the craft and the zeal to take it ahead has inspired many around her.

Just as no one can stop the beauty of nature from spreading slowly into the eyes of the beholder, no matter the circumstance you cannot stop the power of art to travel far and wide. We completely appreciate the enterprising spirit of the Kashmiri craftsman and today’s youth who have struggled to keep the art alive, while himself being surrounded with negative situations.

If you want to be a proud owner of the beautiful handmade rug, you could try out these website: www.IndiaMart.com

A Feast For The Eyes – Great Lakes Trek in Kashmir- kashmiri life

A Feast For The Eyes – Great Lakes Trek in Kashmir

“Sometimes we all get dusty by a few mundane and tiring affairs and merely need a gentle soul wash to see, and get deeply entangled with, the fervor’s of life again.” ― Pawan Mishra

Do you want to find some magic beyond the mundane chores of life and wrap yourself in the peace and solace of nature?

To make yourself free from the everyday works of life and to realize that you are not just mere animals of the society, you should go on a trek every year. Trek helps you to cleanse your spirit. Surrender yourself to nature. Away from the comforts of your home, as you trail through the mountains you’ll be able to read the friendly signs of nature like the rays of sun entering your tent to wake you up.

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek-A feast for the eyes - kashmiri life

Kashmir Great Lakes Trek-A feast for the eyes

When it comes to deciding a place for your next trek, there is no place better than the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. The famous quote for Kashmir “If there is heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here” still stands true in every sense. Climbing the mighty range of the snow-clad Himalayas will offer the most exciting trek experience in
India.

Monsoon appeals the trekkers & is the best time to conduct a trek on one of the most popular trekking locations-The Great Lakes of Kashmir. Going by the name, the Great Lakes trek comprises of a trek amidst some of the major lakes of Kashmir including Gadsar, Vishansar, Kishansar, Nundkol & Gangabal. It looks like as if each lake is
competing with the other for the glory of who’s most beautiful. On this trek you’ll be able to see five beautiful alpine lakes that come right after the other. So you have something beautiful to look forward to each day.

Blankets of clouds(Nandkhol Lake) - kashmiri life

Blankets of clouds(Nandkhol Lake)

 

Monsoon in the Himalayas holds a special charm for trekkers. Grey clouds hang low in the sky to touch and of course the pitter-patter of the beads of rain adds rhythm as you walk. Walking in the rain is one blissful experience. The skin tingles at the sight of the lush and springy green valley studded with exquisite flowers and a never-ending
tinkling of the rivers.
You’ll be able to watch the beautiful effect of the playful slide of snow off the mountain into the lakes.

You will feel as though you have stepped in to the pages of a story book or a scene from the movies.

The real climb-A walk away from civilisation(Sitkari to Nichnai)- kashmiri life

The real climb-A walk away from civilisation(Sitkari to Nichnai)- kashmiri life

The Kashmir Great Lakes trek has been categorized as being moderate to difficult trek and is meant for physically fit enthusiastic trekker. A prior high altitude trekking experience is a plus point. Covering an average of 10 km each day for a week is not an easy achievement. The trek comprises of an ascent and descent which takes its toll on your knee joints. While you trek some more steps ahead, away from the civilization, you will certainly not get any mobile connectivity.Prepare yourself for a breakup with your cell phone for at least a week.
The 8 days trekking trip for Kashmir Great Lakes with the unending blue sky, the fresh smell of green meadows, the fluffy clouds, the rain drops and the lakes flowing through the valley is a trekker’s delight. These will remain imprinted in your mind for ever.

A BRIEF ITINERARY OF THE TREK:

Day 1:- Arrive at Sonamarg (7800 ft)
Day 2:- Sonamarg to Nichnai via Shekdur. (7,800 ft to 11,500 ft)
Day 3:- Nichnai to Vishansar lake via Nachnai Pass. (11,500 ft to
12,000 ft via 13100 ft)
Day 4:- Rest day can be use at Gangbal camp site.
Day 5:- Vishansar lake to Gadsar via Gadsar Pass. (12,000ft to
12,000ft via 13,750ft)
Day 6:- Gadsar to Satsar. (12,000 ft to 12,000 ft)
Day 7:- Satsar to Gangabal twin lakes via Zaj Pass. (12,000 ft to
11,500 ft 13000)
Day 8:- Gangabal to Naranag Drive to Srinagar. (11,500 ft to 7,450 ft)

Lakes tucked well into the ranges of the Himalayas - kashmir life

Lakes tucked well into the ranges of the Himalayas – kashmir life

With each passing day as you trek ahead through the boulder pavements, the ascents and descents, the warmth of the sun, the pains of the body are all forgotten as you reach a new point and surrender yourself to the beauty stretched as far as the eyes could go. The beautifully tucked glacial lakes between the mountains are a feast for the eyes.

spend a perfect day talking to yourself(Gangabal Lake) - kashmiri life

spend a perfect day talking to yourself(Gangabal Lake) – kashmiri life

The humbling huge mountains that surround you everywhere melts down your earthly pride and arrogance and you feel really small in the wonders of the nature. You could just talk to yourself praising the beauty and appreciating
things around you.

Make sure to update your travel planner with a trek to the ‘Great Lakes in Kashmir’ and share your experience with us in the comment section below.

 

Amarnath temple- shivji - kashmiri life

Security arrangements in place for a religious trek to Amarnath Yatra

The Amarnath temple (the adobe of immortality), located in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the prominent religious destinations dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. The 5,000 year old temple is situated in a deep, narrow gorge at the farther end of the Himalayan Lidder Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir every year thousand of followers of lord shiva go on amarnath yatra.
Situated at an altitude of 3,888 metres (12,756 ft), 46 km from Pahalgam and 14 kilometres from Baltal, water bodies freeze here in Amarnath. Inside the Amarnath cave, nature works miraculously; stalagmite is formed when the water drops that fall from the roof of the cave on to the floor starts to freeze and grows up vertically from the base taking the shape of a ‘Shiv Ling’. The Shivling at Amarnath is made from ice wax during May to August and gradually wane from then on due to a rise in temperature.

amarnath yatra- kashmiri life- BSF- CRPF

One of the miracles of Divine Intervention is the holy ‘Amarnath Cave’ that is located in Jammu and Kashmir.

Each year,lakhs of Hindu devotees from all walks of life plan a trip to Amarnath cave around the ‘Shravan Month’ to pay obeisance to the ice Shiv lingam, and get a darshan of the form of Lord Shiva that is formed inside the cave.
The 5-day trek to Amarnath by the pilgrims, which is 40 miles back and forth, is popularly known as ‘Amarnath Yatra’. Every year during this month, the J&K government organizes the Yatra where almost over 3 to 4 lakh devotees brave extreme weather conditions, adding a touch of adventure, for a darshan of the ice lingam and offering prayers. Extreme & uncertain weather conditions, with temperature at times falling to as low as -5°C are also part of the 5-day trek.

Entrance-to-the-holy-Amarnath-cave-Amarnath-Yatra-amarnath yatra- Pilgrimage - Kashmiri life

The Amarnath Yatra 2017 began from Jammu yesterday (28th June, 2017, Wednesday) amid the highest-ever multi-tier security setup. An intricate arrangement has been put in place by the Govt for the 40 day long annual pilgrimage. The PM of the country has extended all the necessary support to the state keeping in mind the law and order situation of the state.

Security CRPF-BFS - kashmiri life- amarnath yatra

The government has already organised a heavy security blanket including the police, the Army, the BSF and the CRPF for active services. The Amarnath Yatra will be eight days shorter against last year and shall bring to a close on Shravan Purnima i.e. Raksha Bandhan on 7th of August.

amarnath yatra- BSF- CRPF- Kashmiri life

Measures are already in place to ensure an incident free yatra & for the safety and security of pilgrims. High level security arrangements including CCTV cameras, jammers, RoPs, dog squads, bullet-proof bunkers, QRTs, satellite tracking and other security gadgets are being used along with thousands of security personnel guarding the route.
Apart from the existing CRPF in the state, 250 additional companies of paramilitary forces, over 2,000 BSF troops, 5 army battalions and additional 54 companies of police, Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs) of the state police, rescue teams of various security forces, well-equipped fire fighting teams have been deployed at pre-determined points.

pilgrimage camp- kashmiri life- amarnath yatra

Doctors from Safdarjang Hospital, Delhi, have been deputed at Baltal Base Hospital. Oxygen cylinders, ECG machines, defibrillators, oxygen concentrators, CPR machines, X-ray machines, ventilators, resuscitation sets have been installed and all required medicines are also available in the hospital for the pilgrims.
The facility of separate residential accommodation and mess for about 250 medical personnel, including those arriving from different parts of the country also been put in place.

amarnath yatra- kashmiri life- BSF- CRPF

The Govt and CRPF has assured on putting forward all possible measures to overcome the big challenge of ensuring a smooth and incident-free Amarnath Yatra this year.
flavors of kashmir- kashmiri life

Tracing the flavors of Kashmir spices

Kashmir along with its beauty is famous for the mouth-watering Kashmiri cuisine which is popular among the connoisseurs. Jammu and Kashmir, a state in Northern India can boast of several spices that bring out the authentic Kashmiri taste in various dishes.
Spices like Saffron (Kesar), Kashmiri red chili powder (koshur martsivagun or koshur marchwagan), shahi jeera (shahi jeera, black cumin, Kashmiri jeera, Himali jeera, Koshur zur, or kala jeera), which have been used traditionally in the cuisine of Kashmir Valley region. The genuine cuisine from Kashmir is mild in taste and recognized through its rich flavour with the use of different spices.

  • KESAR

Saffron - flavors of Kashmir spices - kashmiri life

The first name that’ll cross your mind whenever we are talking about Kashmiri spices is Saffron (Kesar). Kashmiri Saffron is often called as “Lachha” or “Guchhi”. It is world’s most expensive spice in the world that grows exclusively in the valley. Saffron can be used as a colouring, flavouring agent and as a spice. Saffron has a particular crimson shade and is added in special meals dishes and drinks additionally, that require this spice. The Saffron is derives from a very small plant that grows on well-drained fields of Pampore. It is also known as Soul of ‘Koshur ‘delicacies.

  •  KOSHUR MARCHWAGAN

kashmir lal mirch - flavors of Kashmir spices - kashmiri life

For most of us Indians, what is good food if we are not burning over some red chillies? The pungent taste, bright red colour and off course the freshness is never too bad. Red Chilly, the most integral part of any Kashmiri cuisine is referred to as koshur martsivagun/ koshur marchwagan. It’s present in pod form and is powdered and utilized. It however is gentle in heat and provides a red wine color to make the dish more appealing.

  • SHAHI JEERA

shahi kashmiri jeera -flavors of Kashmir spices- kashmiri life

North Indian cuisine has been influenced by Shahi cuisine as a result a no of highly aromatic spices are found in this region. Shahi Jeera is one such spice being cultivated only in the valley region. Though it might replicate the black common cumin, there’s a vast difference in the flavors. Shahi jeera is a mix of very mildly and slightly sweet notes. Shahi Jeera when cooked gives out an excellent smell of earthiness. This spice is variously called shahi jeera, black cumin, Kashmiri jeera, Himali jeera, Koshur zur.

  • SONTH

dry-ginger-powder-sonth - flavors of Kashmir spices - kashmiri life

In typical Kashmiri gravies a mild brownish powder referred to as sonth or shount is used. It’s actually dried ginger powder a general used spice in Kashmir Valley. Once more its presence is well recognized and added to particular dishes solely. That is distinctive spice comes from fresh ginger that is dried before being used. It is utilized in authentic Kashmiri dishes.

  • BAEDYN

fennel seeds - flavors of Kashmir spices - kashmiri life

Another spice which is used extensively in real Kashmiri cuisine is baedyn. The fennel seed is lightly dry roasted and grounded to a powdered form. It is the main ingredient that is used in many regular veg and non-veg cuisines all over Kashmir. This positively enhances the style and brings a fresh scent of nature to the dishes.

  • ZERESHK

zereshk - flavors of Kashmir spices- kashmiri life

Zereshk is one other spice of Kashmir. These are a mild, slightly sweet, tangy Currant Berries that are utilized in few particular dishes. These seeds are used extensively in Persian dishes. These berries add a gorgeous color and flavor to the dishes. Its use is confined to a handful of dishes.
Kashmir has always been a gourmet’s paradise. Kashmiris are so much particular about their spices and they know the exact combination of spices to get the authentic flavor of a specific dish. So when you land up in Kashmir be sure to be greeted with pure authentic Kashmiri delicacies. Plan a trip soon, we’ve given you a reason to visit Kashmir.