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!

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

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.

kashmir tour | Kashmirilife

5 things that should be in your bucket list during Kashmir tour

1.Applaud the beauty of Dal Lake on a Shikara :

shikara kashmir | kashmirilife

Cruising in the calm blue water of Dal Lake is incomplete without a Shikara in kashmir tour. Shikara is basically a traditional wooden houseboat which is an essential part of people in Kashmiri Tradition. To explore the beauty of Dal Lake, a Shikara ride is a must.

While having a Shikara ride in the magnificent Dal Lake, the sight of snow-capped mountains, beautiful gardens, and migrating birds truly look like a paradise. You can’t really have enough of Shikara rides in Dal Lake as there are many beautiful things to explore during you kashmir tour. So, keep exploring till you reach an entirely different island of the vegetable growers and sellers. Yes, Kashmir owns one of the famous floating vegetable market in the world which opens before dawn and closes within the next two hours.

2.Walk The Wildest Trek On The Planet:

chadar trek | Kashmirilife

Do you know that kashmir tour has a Chadar trek is the widest trek in the world? And this trek lies in the Zanskar region of Jammu and Kashmir. Chadar trek is the most difficult trek for even the best of the best trekkers in the world.

What makes Chadar trek more adventurous than other treks is that it happens over the frozen Zanskar River. During winters, Zanskar River freezes to form a sheet (chadar) of ice which is why it is called Chadar trek. The Chadar trek takes place during winters. The months of January and February are considered ideal for the excursion on the frozen Zanskar River. It’s just an apt place for camping as well with the skies full of stars. As you trek by the Chadar, you witness many wildlife species indigenous to Jammu and Kashmir. So if you are bored of trekking on hills, try this trek the frozen Zanskar River.

3.Have an adventure of Lifetime while Heli-Skiing:

Heli-Skiing | kashmirilife

Gulmarg in Kashmir is a hub for winter sports in Kashmir and different types of winter sports take place in winters. With the first snowfall of Kashmir, people start to gather in Gulmarg to enjoy the adventure of kashmir winter sports like skiing, snow-boarding, ice skating, snow kayaking, ice hockey etc. Among the various winter sports, one of the unique is Heli-skiing. In Heli Skiing, skiers are taken to the top of the mountains by a helicopter and then the skiers ski down the hills. Heli-skiing in Kashmir is an ultimate adventure for the good quality snow and the mountain peaks which make the experience one of the best in the world.

4.Taste the delicious Zaika-e-Kashmir:

Zaika-e-Kashmir | kashmir food | kahmirilife

Kashmir is said to be a heaven on Earth for not only its incredible beauty but also for also heavenly tasting food. The land produces some of the best mouthwatering delicacies and that is why you should never miss the opportunity to devour the Kashmiri cuisines. From the famous Kashmiri Wazwan to the winter delicacy Harissa, everything is a treat to taste buds. So, while wandering on the streets never miss to taste the street foods of Kashmir. Here is a list of delicacies you must try whenever you visit Kashmir.

5. Capture the beauty of  Kashmir tour through your lens:

kashmir through lense photography | kashmirilife

Kashmir can never disappoint a lens lover. It is completely up to you whether you want to click selfies or a DSLR picture because Kashmir is heaven-like beautiful. From picturesque natural sceneries to landscapes that can beat the most beautiful places on Earth any day are endless in Kashmir. Be it the architecture of a Kashmiri house, the handicrafts, and the work on Sufi shrines or the Thangka paintings in monasteries in Ladakh everything is jaw dropping.