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The Food Street of Kashmir

A hunger spot for the hungry souls in the center of busy Srinagar near Khayam Chowk.

Trying local cuisines while traveling is one of the most important parts of the itinerary.
Similarly, if you are visiting Jammu and Kashmir, Jannat would welcome you with open arms to try out the tasty Kashmiri Cuisine from Food Street.

“Food Street” is a paradise where a bunch of locals, as well as the tourists, flock in to relish their taste buds with the lip-smacking food offered by the Food Street at the best affordable prices near Khayam Chowk. This market has got a total of fifteen shops in a narrow lane.

Out of the fifteen shops the biggest shop in the Food Street belongs to Yasir Dharma, who inherited the business from his father some twenty-five years back.

This place is a paradise for barbeque lovers. As the evening hours arrive the Food Street gets packed with barbeque longing souls. This place is visited by people from different walks of life; be it a civilian or renowned personality, this street has witnessed it all.

“I have had the honor of serving my barbecue skewer to the chief minister (Omar Abdullah), who came here once with a friend and had my skewers inside his SUV parked alongside the road,” said Imran Barbecue Cafeteria owner Iqbal.

Ghulam Nabi Kumar, a government employee who says, “I eat my lunch here every day, I cannot afford to visit the posh restaurants.”

An amazed blogger of named Indrajit Lahiri who tried Seekh kebab that was around 12″ long, paired with 4 types of chutneys and 2 pcs of Lavasa from Muneer Cafeteria.

When you enter the street early in the morning you can see the cooks busy preparing the dishes so that they could be ready to be served by 10 a.m. But as the clock moves towards the lunch-time, the Food Street is shrouded with an appetizing aroma that could pull in anyone.

This place offers you a range of scrumptious food at affordable prices. Though there are only limited items included in the menu like lentils, vegetables, cheese, and a few non-vegetarian dishes; you get the best Kashmiri food that tastes like home.

Another noticeable fact about this street is that it works like a buffet system. If you want to ask for more Batte (rice) for yourself, you can definitely do without any hesitation.
That is the reason why this street is also proclaimed as Batte Gali (Batte means rice in Kashmiri and Galli means street).

Almost a decade ago, Food Street was taken up by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation for renovation. A proper entrance was made with red brick pillars and gates at the entrance of the street with a board on the top “FOOD STREET – Developed by J&K Tourism Department. The renovation included installation of street lamp posts and red baked tiles interred into the street.

Though the street lamps have lost their glow due to lack of maintenance; Food Street has maintained its aura and originality throughout the years.

Years have passed by but this Food Street has stood strong against the new cafeterias and shops that came up with the passing years and also has never compromised on its taste and authenticity.

So, next time when you touch down in Kashmir, don’t forget to witness the actual flavors of Paradise on Earth. This living palatable beauty in Khayam Chowk will always welcome you.

KULFI KING OF KASHMIR

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
With heatwaves soaring upto unbearable degrees, summers have officially arrived, and so have our urge to beat these merciless days with tasty ice creams and kulfis. Summer would not be summer without ice creams and kulfis.

Kashmir, a place that Shah Jahan proclaimed as Jannat (paradise/heaven); a place that is famous for its scenic and serene beauties, fruits, weather, is also best known for home-made ice creams and kulfis.
Kulfi in Kashmir is yummy and full of nostalgia, the taste that ruled hearts over half a century and is still fondly remembered in the entire valley.
Many kulfi walas have come and gone but no one could match up to the kulfi-maker of Bohri Kadal – Ama Buda.

In every field there would be an ultimate master; just like Karate has Jackie Chan, Kulfi has Ghulam Ahmad Badoo who is famously known as Amma Buda. He is known as the “Kulfi King of Kashmir”; his kiosk was set up in Bohri Kadal, Srinagar. He started off his stall in the year 1931 and ran it for about more than 50 years. There are many people who miss the taste of the kulfi he made.

KULFI KING OF KASHMIR- Ghulam Ahmad Badoo 2

His life has been like a roller coaster ride. He set up his kiosk after he was released from his detention period as he actively took part in the freedom movements. Ghulam’s uncle swayed him to open up an ice cream shop but he was dicey about the decision because no ice or ice machines were available in the valley.
But later few locals agreed to bring the ice from the forests of Mulfaq and Dara. The laborers used to spend the night in the forest to bring back 40 kg of snow wrapped in grass, the next day.
This cycle went on for a few years. Later Amma took a sigh of relief when finally an ice machine arrived in their place in the year 1953. However, the ice machine was not up to the mark to produce the quality and quantity that Amma was looking for. Hence, the process of carrying the ice from the forest to his kiosk continued.

KULFI KING OF KASHMIR- Ghulam Ahmad Badoo 3

Amma’s ice cream kiosk is considered to be the oldest kulfi shop in the valley. His secret ingredients to make this divine Kulfi had left everyone wanting for more thereby increasing the sales.
Even though he has become a part of past he has still reminisced as Amma serving kulfi on Chinar leaves. Such was the taste of his unique kulfi.
His son still recalls many incidents wherein his father’s kulfi was in demand; “he says that once a foreigner mentioned his about his father’s kiosk in “Guide magazine”, saying that if you are ever visiting Indian Kashmir do visit Bohri Kadal to taste Budoo’s ice cream. It’s a class apart”.
A couple who once tasted this kulfi in Kashmir still cherished the memories on their next trip to Kashmir after 15 years.
The former Prime Minister of J&K Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah along with his wife and son used to visit Amma’s kulfi kiosk to have special sugar free kulfi. Along with taste and flavor, Amma took care of health too and that too in the 19th century.

KULFI KING OF KASHMIR- Ghulam Ahmad Badoo 3

Mehraj Ahmad (stall owner in Srinagar) stated that his quality was so impressive that he would attract customers from far places. He also added that the Matka Kulfi they sell nowadays is no match to that of Amma Buda’s.
Truly he was a legend in his own. He stood alone in the kulfi business for 25 years and then many competitors came along but no other person could match his level of taste in Kulfi and of course his talent.
“The true test of leadership is how well you function in a crisis” and this quote stands true for Amma Buda for he set himself apart from the others through the ups and downs and remained the first priority in terms of Kashmir’s kulfi.

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Amarnath Yatra starts from July 1

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is a home of many religious places. One of the most important is Amarnath Temple. The cave is an altitude of 3,888m. It is 141km away from Srinagar and can be reached through the town of Pahalgam. This shrine is considered to be one of the holiest in the Hindu religion. It is covered by snow capped mountains from all the sides throughout the year.

Amarnath Yatra starts from July 1

Amarnath’s Discovery
It is believed that Bhrigu Muni was the first one who discovered Amarnath Cave. Centuries ago, Kashmir Valley was submerged under water. It was Kashyap Muni who drained it through a series of rivers. When the water was drained out, Bhrigu Muni was the first person who had Darshan of Lord Amarnath. Then after that, people heard of the Lingam, it became the abode of Lord Bholenath for all believers. The locals of Gadaria community were the first one to discover the Amarnath cave and saw the first glimpse of Baba Barfani, according to some researchers.

Yatra to Amarnath
This year the Amarnath Yatra will start from 1st of July that is supposed to be called as Masik Shivratri according to the Hindu Calender. It will continue till 15th of August. It is a 46-day-long annual pilgrimage. The Yatra starts from the Nunwan and Chandanwari base camps at Pahalgam. It reaches cave-shrine after night halts at Sheshnag Lake and Panchtarni camps. A good amount of revenue is earned by the state government by imposing tax on pilgrims. It is also a good time for the localites to earn some money as they can offer services to the Hindu pilgrims like accommodations, food, etc.

Amarnath Yatra starts from July 1

Since the day registration began, more than 50,000 people have already registered themselves for this year’s yatra on the very first day. The online booking of helicopter tickets for yatra was commenced on May 1. This year Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) has made arrangements with Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd. and Himalayan Heli Services Pvt. Ltd. on the Neelgrath (Baltal)-Panjtarni-Neelgrath (Baltal) route and UTair India Pvt. Ltd. on the Pahalgam-Panjtarni-Pahalgam route.

Amarnath Yatra starts from July 1

Umang Narula who is Chief Executive Officer SASB said, “Based on competitive bidding, the one way per passenger helicopter fare for Neelgrath (Baltal)-Panjtarni has been fixed at Rs1804. Similarly, the one-way Pahalgam-Panjtarni fare will be Rs 3104.”

The CEO even advised yatris to beware of the frauds when they are booking tickets for helicopter. Tickets only from the authorized helicopter operators won’t mislead them like others. People who are having some health issues should carry their health certificate otherwise they won’t be allowed to take a ride.

Children under the age of 13 years and those who are above 75 years of age and women who are more than six weeks pregnant will not be registered for the yatra.
The board had decided that 7,500 Yatris will be routed per day, excluding the ones travelling by helicopters. The officials have directed the pilgrims to consider the difficult climatic changes and terrain in the high altitude region of the yatra. They should prepare themselves before starting the pilgrimage.

The governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik also reviewed security arrangements to ensure the safety of pilgrims. We also wish the same for the pilgrims. Stay safe and enjoy the beauty of Kashmir.

Srinagar is in the race to be on UNESCO creative cities network

Srinagar is in the race to be on UNESCO creative cities network

Srinagar, the summer capital of our state Jammu and Kashmir is the largest city in the region. The first thing that comes to our mind when talk about Srinagar is the iconic Dal Lake. And that’s the main attraction of the city. It’s beauty led it in the race to get included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) creative cities list as the ‘City of Crafts and Folk Arts’.

Srinagar is 2,200 year old and has a very rich history. During the reign of the Gupta king, this historic city traces its origin. Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, a great contribution was made by him to the cultural and artistic landscape of Kashmir.And this is what it has passed to its generations. This city is full of extraordinary craftsmanship, designers, entrepreneurs, traditional business houses and what not. Undoubtedly, it indeed has, what is takes to be on the list. And if it manages to do so, the image of the city as a hub of intricate art and craft will get a great boost from which we get benefitted for the years to come.

Srinagar is in the race to be on UNESCO creative cities network 1

UNESCO Creative Cities List was the project that was created in the year 2004. The main reason why this project was created was that they wanted to take those cities globally who has invested in culture and creativity. The UNESCO Creative Cities have a common mission — placing creativity and cultural industries at the core of their development strategies. Currently, the network brings together 180 cities from 72 countries from all regions of the world.

The Institute of Hotel Management, Rajbagh here, a workshop of stakeholders on preparation of dossier for inclusion of Srinagar City in UNESCO Creative Cities Network was held. Many stakeholders from different walks of life attended the workshop as part of the ‘Restoration and Strengthening of Livelihoods’ component of the Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project ( JTFRP) funded by the World Bank.

Director Technical, JTFRP Iftikhar Ahmad Kakroo said,” the aim of the workshop is to provide a platform for all the stakeholders involved with the various aspects of Kashmir Handicrafts and obtain their valuable inputs for the preparation.”

Srinagar is in the race to be on UNESCO creative cities network 1

Saleem Beg, convener, Intach, J&K chapter, said “there was a need for more pilot projects in the field and stressed on inclusion of artisans in the policy formulation.”

The benefits of getting included in UCCN will be many. We will get a great boost for our city both culturally and economically. It will be a boon for heritage and culture tourism too as people will love to see artisans and the process of making exquisite artefacts. The other major benefit will be that there will be protection of the art and craft that was fading over time.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites and cities receive many tourists and it make billions of dollars worth of trade annually. If Srinagar find its place among the next UCCN city list it will be a moment of great honor for all of us – we are eagerly waiting for that.

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Newspapers of Old Kashmir

Journalism is what maintains democracy. It’s the force for progressive society change.” –Andrew VachssJournalism is one of those professions that educates the society, brings information out to the world. The history of Journalism in the state of Jammu and Kashmir started in the year 1924. There was a birth of weekly newspaper called RANBIR. It was named after Maharaja Ranbir Singh and was first published 24 June 1924. In this paper, only the things about king and his highness used to publish. It was in Urdu language. Government Press printed the newspaper. Lala Mulk Raj Saraf was the publisher and editor of RANBIR and also known as Father of Journalism.

Old Newspapers of Kashmir picture

Till 1929, this paper continued. The state inclined towards some development when Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and his friends started their reading room group. They used to assemble and read books. Journalists like Abdul Majeed Salik and Maulana Abdus Salam Meher who used to run INQALAAB and Zafar Ali khan who edited ZAMINDAR tried to cover the news about common people too. They got sympathy from the common people and created a great buzz in the society. Government became suspicious and imposed a ban on them. In 1932, Prem Nath Bazaz did some negotiations with the government and started VITSAS. It used to published weekly and mostly had facts about Kashmir. But unfortunately it lasted only for a year, but Bazaz’s efforts was encouraged.

Old Newspapers of Kashmir picture

During the rule of Hari Singh, the evolution of journalism in Jammu & Kashmir began. He allowed the publication of several newspapers and magazines. The newspapers published during this time were Jahangir, Rehbar, Sadaqat, Hamdard, Millat, Tawheed, Hidayat, Vakil, Khalid, Albarq, Khidmat, Khalsa Gazette, Roshni, Noor, Jyoti and Kashmir. English papers like KASHMIRI TIMES and KASHMIRI CHRONICLE also came to the limelight but had a short life span.

Some of the most prominent newspapers were:

Pukar

Balraj Puri was the editor of this paper. Before Pukar, he started Kashmir Sansar. The main policy of the paper was to support nationalist movement in India. As he was a minor, he got the declaration in the name of somebody else. Six months were quite smooth then his publisher demanded 50% of his income which he refused. Then through his brother in law, he got another declaration under the name of Pukar. That’s how it all got started.

Aaina

This was started in July 1964 by Shameem Sahib. It was effectively accepted in the society. It highlighted some important issues of the society. The first page of the paper was called ‘Tabsara’ and was given space for important issues. In the next column, there were letters from the people. It was very popular among the people and used to called mirror of society.

Print media has continued to maintain its place though has a rough draft of history. People who contributed to the journey of print media, were from different walks of society and made a change through their writings. Today if we talk about newspapers of modern times, people are doing quite well in their stream and that’s what we need in our valley. A positive change through writing!

The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of India, is a melting pot of different ethnic groups and communities. In this blog post, Kashmiri life introduces you to the rich ethnic diversity of Jammu and Kashmir.

The state comprises of three regions- Ladakh, Jammu and the Kashmir valley, marked with their religious and ethnic differences. While Ladakh, situated along the Himalayan range, marks the residentship of 2,90,490 residents, Jammu and Kashmir valley have 53,50,311 million and 69,07,622 residents respectively, as per 2011 census.

With a population of 12.5 million people, Jammu and Kashmir is formed out of multiple ethnic groups like Dogras, Gujjars, Ladakhis and Hanjis other than Kashmiris; divided on the basis of their cultural inheritance.

Kashmiris

The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmiris, the term generally used by outsiders to refer to all the people of Kashmir, is actually a term used to refer to people living within the Valley of Kashmir, Neelam Valley, LeepaValley, Kishtwar, Bhadarwah, Doda and Ramban tehsils of Jammu Division. People living elsewhere and outside of these premises in the state belong to other ethnic groups of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Kashmiris” can either be Muslim (Sunni) or Hindu (Pandit) who immigrated to the valley from ancient Iran, Turkey, Central Asia and Afghanistan. Common surnames among Kashmiris can be Malik, Lone, Bhat, Dar, Tikoo, Wani, etc.
Most of the Kashmiris are either involved in agriculture or business. The ones in agriculture produce crops of paddy, saffron and orchards; of which both fruits and saffron are world famous.
The others (generally from urban Kashmir) are involved in businesses like carpet making, papier mache, wood carving, embroidery, tourism, hotel management and other handicrafts.
Next time when you visit the valley, find out who made the pashmina you bought for your loved one. Your greetings will be a blessing for people.

Ladakhis

The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

Ladakh, also known as the “land of high passes”, is every traveller’s roadtrip dream destination. It is, however, difficult to understand how Ladakhi’s maintain their lifestyle in the arms of cold mountains that extend from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range to the Great Himalayas to the south.
Ladakhis, the hard- working, tolerant and honest lot, are a mixture of Indo-Aryan race and Tibetan descent. Ladakh is therefore a blend of “Dards”- the Aryans and Mangolians, who can be traced back to Tibet. Unfortunately, due to extreme climate and economical boundations, the population of Ladakhis is not increasing. Despite difficult situations, they have built high resistance to work even in temperatures as low as 23 degrees Celsius.
One thing you will enjoy the most with Ladakhis is playing ice hockey. For Ladakhi kids, ice hockey is what cricket is to the kids on plains. Infact, the all Women Ice Hockey Team of India comes entirely from Ladakh. Yes Indeed!

Hanjis

The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

The Hanjis of Jammu and Kashmir are the water dwellers who are confined to Jhelum River, Dal, Anchar, and Wular lakes situated especially between Chattabal, Srinagar and Khanabal, Anantnag. Though the descent of Hanjis is not confirmed, they are said to belong to the ancient racial group called “Nishads”, meaning boatmen.
For Hanjis, your visit to the beautiful land of Kashmir plays an important part for their income. As they are boatmen, they are widely engaged in hotel management and houseboat industry. The type of boats that Hanjis use to make a living define their social status and class. These boats can be differentiated on the basis of their shapes and sizes and are named as Khoch, Bahatch, Kara Nav, Demba-Nav, War, Parinda, Tchakawar and Houseboat.
As the saying goes, the customer is really god for Hanjis of Jammu and Kashmir.

Dogras

The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

The ethnic group Dogra belongs to the Jammu Division of the state. Traditionally, Dogras were the inhabitants of the area between Shivalik mountain range, Saroiensar and Mannsar lakes who later shifted to the entire Jammu region. Dogras’ belong to the Indo-Aryan race and are Brahmins with the sects of Varnashrama.
Before the independence of India, Dogra Dynasty was the last to rule Jammu and Kashmir and reigned for an entire century from 1846 to 1947.

Gujjars and Bakarwals

The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

Gujjars and Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir form a significant part of the population of the state. They live the life of nomads and their livelihood simply depends upon flocks and cattle keeping. The Gujjars and Bakarwals have no written language or history beyond what is in the folklore, word of mouth tales and traditions. While a school of thought says they were the inhabitants of Georgia, a territory situated between the Black sea and the Caspian Sea in the Soviet Union, other tales say their forefathers migrated from Gujarat and Rajasthan.
However, Gujjars and Bakarwals are an important part of Jammu and Kashmir. With changing times, Gujjars have developed land connections, even though the Bakarwal community in Gujjars keeps on oscillating from one place to another. The main concentration of Gujjars and Bakarwals can be found in Jammu, Rajouri, Udhampur, Poonch, Uri, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Daksum, Narang and the Kandi areas of the Jammu and Kashmir Divisions.
Gujjars can be further classified on the basis of their occupation & settlement as Cultivators, Transhumance, Dodhi-Gujjars and Bakarwal-Gujjars.

Indeed, diversity is the beauty and strength of Jammu and Kashmir! As Catherine Pulsifer rightly said, “We are all different, which is great because we are all unique. Without diversity, life would be very boring.”

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Burzahom- History of Stone Age Kashmir

“Evidence doesn’t lie. History maybe accurate, but archaeology is precise”-Doug Scott

Kashmir has a rich history when it comes to artefacts and ancient antiquities. One such archaeological site which is situated around 16kms north-east of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir is Burzahom. It is the oldest proof of existence of humans in the valley of Kashmir and was even nominated for the tag of UNESCO World Heritage Site

Burzahom- History of Stone Age Kashmir

Burzahom is the combination of two Kashmiri words- Burz and HAMA which means Burza trees and home respectively. It is believed that this place got this name because it was on high altitude and had numerous trees of Burza at that time. It is the first archaeological site in the country that revealed the existence of Neolithic Settlement in Kashmir.

In 1936, during the British rule, for the very first time, a survey was carried out and it lasted for about 10 years. After investigation, proofs found here belong to 4 different periods. Periods I and II represent the Neolithic era; Period IlI the Megalithic era; and Period IV represent the Post-megalithic period. Through these proofs, information about the lifestyle of the people, tools they used for hunting and farming 5000 years ago was gathered.

Burzahom- History of Stone Age Kashmir

Let’s look at the discovery of each period.

Period I

One of the most important discoveries in this period was that of ‘pits’ which were circular and oval in shape due to compact Karewa soil formation. Some deep pits had steps and ladder access, some had ash and charcoal layers, some were shallower and some were used as dwellings. Stone hearths were also found showing habitation activities at the ground level. All these things depicted human occupancy.

Period II

It was revealed that people moved out from pits and started to build structures at the ground level. They filled the pits with mud plaster and painted the mouth in red ochre. Floors were made of rammed Karewa soil. One of the most interesting features was a red-ware pot with a horned figure painted on it. Hunting tools such as rectangular harvesters with a curved cutting edge, long sized needles, a long hollow bones, etc were found here.

Period III

It suggests a gradual transition between the two phases. Huge Menhirs rough in shape were brought down from the hills. It was installed to mark notable events of the community. Few copper arrowheads were found that suggested people had knowledge of metallurgy.

Period IV

It was the last phase of human occupation at Burzahom. Mud bricks were used to made houses. Pottery was superior and even iron antiquaries were also found.

Other than these, the most interesting thing that was found here was a female skull with multiple holes in it. Even first ever surgical practice was also emerged during the Neolithic Age. It is popularly known as trepanning or trepanation. Some believed drilling holes in the skull of a living person was related ritual offerings or magical practices or for some medical reasons.

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The history of Kashmir started from this place 5000 years ago. Burzahom is the archaeological site of utmost importance. It’s a storyteller of life of people of Kashmir and should be preserved for the coming generation.

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The Popular Poets of Kashmir

Poetry is the quality of expression of emotions and ideas. Thankfully, it has always been an important part of the culture of Kashmir and forms an eminent part of the Literature of Kashmir.
These poets have portrayed the culture, tradition and essence of life in Kashmir beautifully in their poetry.

Let us take you on a tour and introduce you to some of the most loved Kashmiri Poets of the valley.

Lal Ded of Kashmir
Beginning the list from one of the earliest poets of Kashmir, Lalleshwari, popularly known as Lal Ded and most revered by the people of Kashmir. She was a mystic poet of the 14th century Kashmir and wrote poems in the form of “Vakhs”. While the world knows Lal Ded for her magnificent literary figures and spiritual poetry; she has been venerated both by Muslims and Hindus for centuries in Kashmir due to her poetry that reminded people of the strength of unity. For many centuries, she successfully dodged the possessive claims of religious monopoly in the valley.
Here is an extract from her poetry-
“atshyan aay ta gatushun gatshe
pakun gatshe then kyho raath
yor aya turiy gatshun gatshe
khenata khenata kheneta kyha”
Translation:
The vision of eyes keeps on coming and going and the night keeps on passing. We will return where from we came in daylight. Something is there which is not visible.

Nund Reshi of Kashmir
Another popular poet praised and loved by the valley is Nund Reshi, also known as Sheikh ul-Alam, Sheikh Noor ud-Din Wali, Sheikh Noor ud-Din Noorani. He was a Sufi mystic poet who lived during 1378 to 1438 AD and used his poetry as a medium to spread the “knowledge of absolute”, an expression of reality, in the form of “Shrukhs”. For his benevolent poetry and remarkable lessons, The University of Kashmir has honored his memory by creating and staging the Sheikh-ul-Alam Chair.
Here is an extract from his poetry-
“An poshi teli,
Yeli van poshi”
Translation:
“Food will thrive only
Till the woods survive”

Habba Khatoon of Kashmir
The next poet from Kashmir worth mentioning is Habba Khatoon, popularly known as the Nightingale of Kashmir. Her poetry is the representation of her jilted love in the memory of her dead husband, Yusuf Shah Chak, (the ruler (one of them) of Kashmir in the 16th century) written in the form called “Lol”. Most of her poetry has evolved from the beauty of Kashmir in the form of description of hills, streams, flowers and fruits that stand tall truly with the paradisiacal quality of Kashmir.
Here is an extract from her poetry-
“Ratshi ratshi retakol chhum soraanai,
bara maa gatshan acchi posh
Kuni hita bulbulo yita aki aanai,
chhaav myaany daanai posh”
Translation:
Slow and steadily the summer is going away. Maybe flowers will loosen its bloom. You (Bulbul) come for a reason and enjoy this bloom.

Mahjoor of Kashmir
Apart from the above mentioned classic poets of their times, one of Kashmir’s most loved and popularly known poet is Peerzada Ghulam Ahmad (Mahjoor). A poet of the 20th century, he reflects the ground realities of the valley and uses nature as a metaphor to expand of those realities. He uses patriotism as the guiding theme of his poetry that inspire many Kashmiris towards nationalism.
Recognizing his poetic genius, a film named Shayar-e-Kashmir Mahjoor was released in 1972. There is also a square in Srinagar named after him. As one of his greatest achievements, he is buried near the great poet Habba Khatoon, at a site on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, where two legends lie together.
Here is an extract from her poetry-
“Walov ha bagvanov, navbaharuk shaan paida kar
Phalan gul gath karan bulbul,
Tuthey samaan paida kar
Dazaan tche gar ye basti wale gulan hund trav zear-o-bam
Benul kar vaav kar gagraye
Bey toofan paida kar”
Translation:
O Gardner decorate this new season that has come, the flowers will bloom and birds will chirp, make such a place for us. Leave all differences and come to develop an abode of flowers, create earthquakes, wind, lightning and thunder.

These are some of the most recognized and loved poets of the valley. If we had to talk about all of them, it would have almost been impossible to compress all that beauty into one article.

At Kashmiri Life, our team will continue to add to the list of these great literary figures of Kashmir and bring it to you. Stay tuned!

The Revival of Calligraphy in Kashmir

The Revival of Calligraphy in Kashmir

“Art is not what you see, But what you make others see.”- Edgar Deg

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is extremely rich in its art and culture. The beauty of Kashmir has been a source of inspiration for many artists. Various art galleries and museums have attracted a lot of tourism here. During the reign of Sultan Zain ul Abidin, art was highly appreciated. It is believed scholar Sharaf-ud-Din-Bulbul Shah introduced calligraphy to Kashmir in the fourteenth century AD. After him many calligraphers started to enjoy a degree of royal patronage. And this is how calligraphy became the talk of the town.

The Revival of Calligraphy in Kashmir

The word calligraphy is originated from the greek words ‘kallos’ and ‘graphein’ which means ‘beauty’ and ‘to write’ respectively. During the time of Mughals, a number of Kashmiri calligraphists managed to secure a permanent position in the court of royal artisans; Mohammad Hussain Kashmiri being one of them. He was amazing at Nastaliq style of writing. Such was the beauty of his art that he was highly regarded by Mughal Emperor Akbar and Jahangir as well. He was in fact given a place among the famous navratnas of Akbar.

Over the period of time, as the mughal reign started to decline, calligraphy started to fade away. In modern times some people managed to make it survive. Some young calligraphers even managed to make it wide awake. Nadiya Mushtaq Mir, a 29-year-old from Kralpora Village is a self taught calligrapher, got international recognition for her work.

“I was inclined to art, designs, sketches and drawings since my childhood. I used to draw with crayons which gave wings to my imaginations and dreams. It was then that I decided to be associated with this art,” she said.
With this profession she is able to earn a good amount of money. She believes Islamic calligraphy is an art and it is something where people don’t mind spending. In 2017, her work was exhibited in “Khush Khat”, a calligraphy workshop in Srinagar.

Just like her Ishfaq always wanted to follow his passion for calligraphy. He was always surrounded by art, a perk of living in an area that is famous for papier mache craft. Between his busy job in Police department, he somehow manage to steal the time to create some mesmerising pieces of calligraphy. Many buyers got attracted to his work.

The Revival of Calligraphy in Kashmir

Introduction of technology and computers had waned the interest in this beautiful art but thanks to the youngsters, calligraphy is back with a bang. It is really overwhelming to see people making an effort to hold on to the art that was on the verge of extinction. It got a huge boost after an Islamic calligraphy exhibition (ICC) that was organised in Srinagar. The works of famous Calligraphers such as Fida Hussain Rather, Iftikhar Jaffar and Taha Mughal were also displayed. Many government bodies, NGOs, Individual experts came together to promote and exhibit the art.
The Revival of Calligraphy in Kashmir

The government of Jammu and Kashmir after every interval of time organize different workshops and exhibitions to promote the art of Calligraphy. Calligraphy has a special place in Kashmir and should be cherished forever!

The Vintage Gems of Kashmir

I wonder what made Amir Khusrau Sahab to say this about Kashmir?
Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast”,
meaning, “If there is a paradise on earth, It is this, it is this, it is this.”

Is it its people or nature? Well, we Kashmiris are most privileged to be part of this abundant land and immensely grateful for people who have nurtured this heaven on Earth.
The Kashmir we see today is the artwork of its ancestral kings, queens and natives, who have knitted the rich cultures and traditions of the valley and left it for us to cherish.
Let’s take you back, to some of the hidden vintage gems from Kashmir valley-

1. Poplar Avenue, a row of 1700 trees, photographed by Francis Frith

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

2. Waterwheel and Kashmiri Pandits 1870, photographed by Francis Frith

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

3. Amiran Kadal. First bridge built by Afghan governor Amir Khan Sher Jawan in 1774-1777, photographed by Francis Frith

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

4. The Sun temple of Martand built by King Lalitaditya (A.D. 693 to 729), photographed by Francis Frith

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

5. Srinagar with Safoola Baba’s House, photographed by Francis Frith in 1875, photographed by Francis Frith

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

6. Kashmiri girl at Dancing Shalimar, photograph by Herford Tynes Cowling for National Geographic Magazine in October 1929

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

7. Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev’s boat procession 1955. – Indian Photo Division

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

8. Pandits and Muslims sitting together at the Potter’s shop, 1885, via. British Library. The Potter is making “touk”, a saucer needed for religious rites of Pandits.

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

9. The state emblem of Jammu and Kashmir designed by artist Mohan Raina (1928-1983 ) 1952.

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

10. A page from 17th century musical treatise by Shaykh ʻAbd al-Karīm ibn Shaykh Farīd Anṣārī al-Qādirī al-Jawnpūrī dedicated to Muhammad ‘Adil Shah (r.1626-56), via: British Library

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

11. Traditional accessories of Kashmir 1921
-Tolsi/Tulsi: the choker necklace
-Chaphkael: the long necklace

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

12. The opening of a collection of verse by the celebrated Kashmiri poet, Mahmud Gami (19th century), via British Library

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

13. A map of the Mughal province of Cachemir (Kashmir), 1770, via: British Library

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

14. Copper coin of Didda, the ruler of Kashmir from 958 CE to 1003 CE, around 950-8 A.D.

Amir Khusrau, Jammu and Kashmir, Old Kashmir, Vintage Kashmir

Old is Gold. At Kashmiri Life we plan to protect the old like diamonds.