Kashmiri life | Thangka Paintings of Ladakh

The Famous Thangka Paintings of Ladakh

While wandering in Ladakh, have you ever come across the Thangka paintings in the region? Ladakh, which has numerous names also has a rich art and culture. The lonely planet or the cold dessert comprises of the majority of Buddhist population. The place is mostly crowded with Tibetan Buddhists and monks who are peacefully living their lives in one of the most unexplored places of India. Among the other unique handicrafts of Leh-Ladakh, the famous Thangka paintings are the most antique in nature.

Kashmiri life | Thangka Paintings of Ladakh

Thangka paintings depict the teachings of Lord Buddha:

This beautiful Thangka painting is embroidered on cotton or silk applique that depicts the Buddhists deity in form of a scene or story. Thangka paintings in Ladakh last till a long span of time but need to be kept in dry places so that the moisture doesn’t affect the quality of the silk.

Earlier These paintings in Ladakh were only embroidered but today, these are also painted with colors. Typical thangka paintings are usually small about 20-50 meters high but during festivals in Ladakh, these paintings are giant with much higher painted area.

Kashmiri life | Thangka Paintings of Ladakh

The walls of the monasteries in Ladakh are colored with Thangkas:

There are many historic monasteries in Ladakh which are called Gompas in the local language. The Thangka paintings makes the architecture of these monasteries so beautiful and unique in nature that it attracts tourists from worldwide. The walls, gates, and interior of these old monasteries are colored with beautiful Thangka paintings. Specifically the paintings on the wall are called Devdis paintings.

Thangka painting is mainly done on clothes whereas are Devdis are captured on walls. The Thiksay Monastery located on top of a hill approximately of Leh in Ladakh at an altitude of 3,600 meters (11,800 ft.) is a twelve-story complex and consist of many fine Thangka paintings.

Kashmiri life | Thangka Paintings of Ladakh

The Thangka paintings exemplify the art and craftsmanship of the Ladakhis living in Jammu and Kashmir. These paintings depicts a true sense of Kashmiri life in a Kashmiri way.

So, whenever you are in Ladakh, don’t forget to buy a native Thangka painting from one of the old and famous Tibetan refugee market situated on Leh road.

 

 

kashmiri life | Kashmir Culture , food

The Traditional Kalari Cheese of Jammu and Kashmir

Just like the incredible beauty of Jammu and Kashmir, the flavors of Kashmiri cuisines are also incredible in taste. Kashmiri cuisines are famous for its unique spices and flavors. Among various varieties of Kashmiri cuisines, there are also some famous snacks which make Kashmiris gather on the streets to have a bite of those delicacies.

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Kalari cheese is one of the favorite snacks of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Kalari is a dense cheese and is also called the mozzarella of Kashmir. Like mozzarella, it melts on heating and hardens on cooling. The flavor and taste of Kalari are just fingers licking well.

kashmiri life | Kashmir Culture , food

Folklore says Kalari is an authentic traditional cheese of the Dogra dynasty of Jammu and Kashmir. Kalari is indigenous to Ramnagar, a town in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir. As shepherds the Gujjar and Bakarwals are highly dependable on Milk, Kalari is popular among the Gujjar and Bakarwal community of Jammu and Kashmir. This cheese is also called “milk chapatti” or “maish krej” in Kashmiri.

kashmiri life | Kashmir Culture , food

Traditionally Kalari is made from Cow’s or Buffalo’s milk but nowadays people also made Kalaris from Goat’s milk, which is whitish in color. Preparation of Kalaris take hard labor and the nomadic women of Jammu and Kashmir have proved to be the best in this task.

Preparation of kalari cheese of Jammu and Kashmir is women power:

Yes, the women play the most important role in Kalari preparation. It is more like a skill that has been passed on among every Gujjar and Bakarwal women folk in Jammu and Kashmir from generation to generation.

Here is how the women of Jammu and Kashmir prepare Kalari:

kashmiri life | Kashmir Culture , food

How to cook Kalaris? It’s an art!

kashmiri life | Kashmir Culture , food

Cooking Kalari is not an easy task at all. Though you can get the raw Kalaris from a store but cooking Kalari is an art in itself. To cook this local delicacy of Jammu and Kashmir you have to master on Kalari. You might also have to take trials before you get the right taste, texture, and color of Kaladi cheese. A well-cooked Kalari is brownish and crispy from outside while creamy and soft from inside. Cooking Kalari might sound easy as it includes frying Kalari in oil and later flavoring it with salt but many fail to cook this local cheese of Kashmir.

Where will you find these yummy cheese?

The production of Kalaris mostly come from some of the remote hills of Jammu but these are available in every milk shop which cost INR 10-15 per piece.

kashmiri life | Kashmir Culture , food

Mostly these yummy cheese are eaten as a snack in Kashmir served with Kulchas (bread). Thus, Kalari Kulcha is one of the favorite dishes which people of Jammu and Kashmir are in love with. The lip-smacking Kalari Kulchas are sold in almost every street of Jammu region at a cost INR 40 or 50. Usually, people like to have these with a cup of tea. There are also Kalari cheeseburgers and sandwiches available at a cost between INR 50-100.In Jammu people also make a curry with it called “Kalari ki sabzi”.

This traditional Kashmiri Life cheese is unique and delicious in taste. Although it is called the “Mozzarella of Kashmir” but has the aroma and flavor to beat mozzarella any day.

 

MARKET

Floating Vegetable Market-A Must Visit Market in Kashmir’s Dal Lake!

shikara ride to the floating vegetable market

 

When we think of Srinagar, we think of the magnificent Dal Lake which is an integral part of tourism of Jammu and Kashmir. Located in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the Dal lake acts as a centre of attraction for the tourists in the valley. Kashmir’s Dal Lake appears like a jewel with crystal clear water and more splendid is the floating vegetable market in Dal which appears like an untouched island. In winters, it freezes to form ice sheets & act as a mirror to the blue skies.

Dal Lake Jammu Kashmir

Dal Lake Jammu and Kashmir

For centuries, Dal Lake has been a place where every aspect of life for Kashmiris, living around the lake, is centred on water. With the first light of the day weaves up many stories in the Dal lake. From Shikara rides to day hikes in a houseboat, every part of the Dal Lake appears to be busy in their own wonderland. Among those beautiful stories are the stories of the sabji walas who depend entirely on this beautiful tranquil lake for their livelihood.

Dal Lake’s floating vegetable market

Dal Lake’s Floating Vegetable Market, Jammu Kashmir

The sabji walas have their own island in the Dal Lake which is known as the world famous floating vegetable market. This floating vegetable market comprises many floating gardens as well local varieties of organic vegetables. It is one of the very famous floating markets in the world.

Floating Gardens, Dal Lake Srinagar

Paddling through Floating Gardens With Lotus Flowers, Dal Lake, Srinagar, Jammu Kashmir

This vegetable market opens at 4’o clock in the morning even before the sun rises and closes within the next two hours. So, not everyone is lucky enough to visit this market due to its operating hours but for the enthusiastic souls, the time just doesn’t matter.

To have a glimpse of this floating market people spend their nights in the houseboats of Dal Lake and the next morning with the first sound of the morning prayers coming from the mosque, they hire a Shikara which row them to the floating market before dawn. It’s not an easy task to hire a Shikara early in the morning. So, tourists often book Shikaras in advance a night before visiting the floating market.

floating vegetable market

The Early Morning Floating Vegetable Market on Dal Lake in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

It takes 1 hour to reach this market and on the way you get to gaze at a lot of beautiful scenes which you might have never seen before. The chirpings of migrating birds, the splendid view of the horizon, and the soothing sounds of Dal Lake produced while rowing the Shikara are just not less than any dreamland.

More pleasant is the view when you actually reach the destination. As many as hundreds of boats adorned with all colors of fresh vegetables, the old Kashmiri women sowing seeds in some of the floating gardens accompanied by their grandchildren, the look of the sabzi walas dressed in their traditional wear, the way they bargain in Kashmiri local language, reflects the true sense of Kashmiriyat. In this wholesale vegetable market, the wealthy shopkeepers buy vegetables from the farmers, which are later sold in the market.

The vegetables are grown in Dal Lake itself on its fertile islands. Amidst this small exchange between one boat to another, some old friends also gather with their respective Shikaras at some point to gossip and smoke hookah. You may also some across some of the oldest and best Kashmiri architecture made of woods. These wooden houses, where the villagers stay, are one of the finest examples of Kashmiri art and culture.

Sabji walas smoking hookah

Sabji Walas Smoking Hookah

This place is a must visit in order to find out how a life goes on for a local Kashmiri and for camera addicts this is one of the beautiful & best places to visit in Srinagar. To capture the view of Dal Lake’s floating market forever in your memories is not an easy task though but definitely worth it.

TULIP

Asia’s Largest Tulip Fest Starts From 1st April in Jammu and Kashmir!

kashmiri life | Kashmir Culture , food

 

 

Many of us might not know that the Asia’s largest Tulip garden is in India. Yes, the largest Tulip garden is situated right near the tranquil Dal Lake of Jammu and Kashmir. Spread over a land of about 12 hectares, this Tulip garden is named after the only female prime minister of India as Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden.

The Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, earlier known as Model Floriculture Centre, was established by Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir as an effort to boost the floriculture industry and eco-tourism in Jammu and Kashmir.
Tulip Garden Srinagar

The Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, earlier known as Model Floriculture Centre

Encircled by the two other famous gardens (Nishat Bagh and Chashma Shahi garden) of Jammu and Kashmir, the Tulip garden, opened in 2007, is located at the foothills of Zabarwan range.

The Asia’s largest Tulip garden offers at least 70 varieties of Tulips for tourists to wonder at. It acts as a magnet to attract thousands of tourists from all over the world especially, in the blooming months of the flowers. The best time to visit the garden is from March-May but April welcomes the maximum number of tourists following the Tulip Festival. Yes, the entire state of Jammu celebrates this different type of Holi with the different colors of Tulips every year since 2007.

Tulip Garden Jammu and Kashmir Srinagar

Tulip garden offers at least 70 varieties of Tulips for tourists

The Indira Gandhi Tulip garden which is Asia’s largest Tulip garden does not only grows Tulip but several rose beds are also cultivated, which adds to the beauty of the garden. A Tulip flower is usually 6 cm long and each Tulip consists of three petals and three sepals. The garden cultivates various shades of Tulips and some of the popular shades are orange, yellow, white, red, pink, blue and purple. These different shades of Tulips forms all the colors of a rainbow, which is the most mesmerizing sight for the tourists.

largest Tulip garden

Asia’s largest Tulip garden is in India

The Tulip festival does not only boost floriculture and tourism in Kashmir but the Kashmiri culture too. A number of cultural events take place during the festivity and different types of handicrafts are showcased as an exhibition in the festival. It is much delightful when the tourists get tired and hungry after walking on the route of 12 hectare Tulip garden, they get the privilege to taste the delicious Kashmiri cuisines at the food court.

Asia's largest Tulip garden

 Kashmiri artists perform at the Asia’s largest Tulip garden

Farooq Ahmad Shah, secretary of Tourism and Floriculture of Jammu and Kashmir said, this year the mega Tulip festival will be part of an event Bahaar-e-Kashmir which means spring in Kashmir. The festival will start on April 1 and will continue till another 15 days at the Asia’s largest Tulip garden in Srinagar.

So, don’t miss out the biggest flower festival in Asia right in Jammu and Kashmir. Go, book your tickets to Srinagar in April and enjoy the mesmerising beauty of Kashmir and have lots of entertainment with the folk music of the state.