One of the common aliases to Kashmir is paradise on earth. In the words of Kalidasa, a revered Sanskrit poet – “The place is more beautiful than the heaven and is the benefactor of supreme bliss and happiness. It seems to me that I am taking a bath in the lake of nectar here.”
The beauty of Kashmir is inexplicable in ordinary words, but in truth the happy bliss from Kashmir is elemental of the opulence of the arts and riches exclusive to Kashmir. Behold! The multi-faceted scenic beauty of this diamond on the head of the country reflects in the artifacts that the local artisans concoct. With these products, you’ll take a part of Kashmir with you as you buy them.
While luxuries like ornamental carpets exclusive to Kashmir and the soft embrace of Pashminas may lie a little heavy on the common shopper, they are a must have at least once. But for the humble buyer, we have a compiled a list of things that you must buy from Kashmir. Without doubt, you will turn a lot of heads with these and draw some pangs of envy too.
Embroidered Kurtis, Suits and Kaftans
Kashmiri embroidery is proven to evoke elegance and style on plain garments. You could get cotton or georgette suits with Aari, Sozni or Tilla works. Aari work looks like chain stitch to the common eye, except that it is very prominent and distinctive because of the thread used. A suit with Aari embroidery, works for any occasion you can think of – plain casual, parties, or even formal events; all depending on the hues and density of the embroidery. Sozni uses thin needles on cashmere wool to create intricate, elaborate clothing embroidered with floral or paisley patterns and delivers magical attires. The Tilla on the other hand is an embroidery type that uses golden and silver threads and gives an ornamental look to the fabrics. A Kaftan with Tilla work is en vogue and timeless.
Aari & Crewel Handbags and Clutches
We bet you this is one of the most unique things that you can possess. Handbags and clutches, mostly made of leather are embossed with Aari and Crewel works. The Crewel embroidery looks similar to Aari, only that it looks even more prominent with the heavy density thread put in use– actually wool. A perfect combination of vibrant as well as low key colors help you bag it with eclectic charisma.
Walnut Wood Carvings
And what shall we say about them. All efforts to describe the grandiose of the art fail. Traditional master-men of the art hand carve intricate designs on objects of walnut woods with dragon or lotus flower motifs; shallow carving, done all over the flat surface; open or lattice work, usually portraying the Chinar illustration; and semi-carving, which is a thin panel along the rim of a surface. The Kashmir valley is the sole part of India where the walnut trees are found. Their colour, texture and sheen are unique, and thus the carving and fret work executed on the wood is of the finest quality. The products range from furniture – tables, chairs, dining tables and the like to articles of personal use like cigarette boxes, jewelry boxes, photo frames etc. These articles add a significant gusto to your surroundings and are a great and resplendent way to gift someone. Depending on the work the prices start as low as Rs 100 INR.
Papier-mache knick knacks
Paper Mache is a blend consisting of paper pulp reinforced with some adhesive that hardens upon drying, and which is then enamored with beautiful designs and colors. Popular items include kitchen essentials like coasters, boxes, vases, and mere decors to enlighten your interiors like vibrant patterned animals and Christmas furnishings. You can’t claim to love art and miss on having a few Papier-mâché artifacts.
Aari and crewel bedsheets, wall rugs and curtains
Believe us! They will bestow an unprecedented charm on your interiors. The wall rugs and bed sheets will give your rooms an ambiance of perfection. The embroidered curtains will simply wrap you room with an aura of elegant luxury. We bet, neither you nor your friends and guests can take their eyes off the aesthetic intricacies of the relics.
Dry Fruits and Spices
Indulge yourself in the rich and high quality dry fruits available from Kashmir. Different kinds of walnuts like Kagzi walnuts, Wont walnuts, Burzil walnuts and a variety of almonds and dry figs will leave you wanting for more.
Spices from Kashmir are much more than the Kashmiri red chilli. Yes, King Saffron is unique to this region of the country is something you must acquire not only for its aromatic and delicious properties but also for the variety of health benefits it has for the skin, mind and body alike. Saffron Kehwa or the Saffron green tea is a popular beverage of the valley and is a must have, and very easy to make. Your friends and family are sure to drool over this tea and you’re if you have a nosy neighbor they are sure to pry over it – thanks to it rich aromatic smell.
Kashmiri Willow Bats
So you’re a cricket enthusiast or have someone close who is? Well, then you can’t afford to do without a Kashmiri Willow Bat. Willow is the most preferred wood used for making cricket bats, thanks to the strength and tenacity they furnish the bat with. Willow Bats are found nowhere else in the continent, let alone the country, as Kashmir is the only place where the wood grows. Willow Bats have acclaimed international popularity. They are preferred since they are more durable than their counter parts and require lesser maintenance. Willow bats come in a variety of sizes in Kashmir, depending on the learning level of the user.
It takes a lot of our effort to end the list here. We are leaving out a lot of other goodies that should really be on the list, but we really don’t want to be accused of burning a hole in your pocket. Well, we could create a Part 2 of this article, mentioning more items – maybe after you receive another paycheck!!!