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Culture in Kashmir

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People:

Muslim, Pandits, Sikhs, Christians, Gujjars & Bakarwalas.

Cuisine:

 Wazwan ::

The pride of Kashmiri cuisine is Wazwan - the fantastic 36 - course wedding banquet, now also served on special occasions. A true gastronomic journey of epical proportion it showcases the finesse Rich and redolent with the flavour of the spices used – of saffaron, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom. Kashmiri chilli, curds etal woven into rista (meatballs), seekh kababs, tabak maz (fired rib cuts), rogan josh (mutton curry with generous helpings of red kashmiri chillies), chaman (fresh cottage cheese) and dam allu (potato). Rice and bread . Wazawan is usually served at weddings and parties. The most commonly served items are rista (meat balls) made of finely pounded mutton and cooked in a gravy; seekh kababs, tabak maz, or flat pieces of meat cut from the ribs and fried till they acquire a crisp crackling texture, roganjosh, which owes its rich red colour to the generous use of Kashmiri chillies. Yakhni, a cream coloured preparation of delicate flavour, is made with curd as a base. Gushtaba, which is the last item to be served in a traditional wazawan, are meatballs moulded from pounded mutton like large-sized Rista but cooked in thick gravy of fresh curd base. Dam-Aaloo and chaman are the commonly served vegetarian dishes - to serve more than this would indicate an unseemly tendency on the part of the host to economize! The waza (cooks) preparing Wazawan . 

 FEW FAMOUS RESTAURENTS:-

 Chinese Cuisine:-

• J&KTDC Nun-Kun Restaurant (near Nehru Park)

• Alka Salka (Shervani Road)

• Lhasa (Boulevard)

Kashmiri Cuisine:-

• Mughal Durbar (Shervani Road)

• Ahdoos (Shervani Road)

• Coffee Arabica ( Broadway M.A. ROAD )

• Ruby (Lambert Lane)

• Juniper (Lal Chowk)

Veg & Jain Restaurants:-

• Krishna Dhaba (Durga – Nag)

• Delhi Rasoi (Boulevard )

• Punjabi Rasoi (Boulevard )

• Punjabi Tadka (Boulevard )

Garden Cafes:-

• Café Coffee Day (CCD ) Boulevard& Durga Nag

• Solace (Shervani Road)

• Tao Cafe (Shervani Road)

• Shamyana (Boulevard)

• NATHUS Rasoi (Boulevard)

Bakeries:-

• Dalgate

• Moon Light Bakery ( Opp Kashmir University)

• Shervani Road

Inexpensive Restaurants:-

• Amira Kadal

• Dalgate

Bakery

Kashmiris have variety of breads, like. Lavaasa , Girda , kulcha, sheermaal, baguerkhani, tsochvoru, tsot,

Kehwa:-

Kahwa, traditional green tea with spices and almond, is consumed all through the day in the chilly winter climate of Kashmir. The tea is made by boiling green tea leaves with saffron strands, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods and occasionally Kashmiri roses to add a great aroma. Generally, it is served with sugar or honey and crushed nuts, usually almonds or walnuts. Some varieties are made as an herbal infusion only, without the green tea leaves. Traditionally, kahwah is prepared in a brass kettle known as a samovar.

Samovar Literally "self-boiler", is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Kashmir as well as in. Since the heated water is typically used to make tea, many samovars have a ring-shaped attachment around the chimney to hold and heat a teapot filled with tea concentrate. Though traditionally heated with coal or charcoal, many newer samovars use electricity to heat water in a manner similar to an electric water boiler. Antique samovars are often displayed for their beautiful workmanship.

Handicrafts

Kashmir Handicrafts are world famous .With the rise in tourism, the handicraft of Kashmir is also getting boast. These handicrafts include some vibrant hand-made crafts, which symbolize the cultural significance of the state. The craftsmen are mastered in making items like carpets, baskets, wall hangings, shawls and much more. Different categories of Kashmir handicrafts Shawls Carpets Papier Mache Wood Carving Walnut wooden crafts Namdas Basketry Crewel Chain Stitch Gabba Willow Copperware Khatumbandh

Shawl:

The making of the shawls is not an easy task, as it requires a lot of concentration and patience. Most of these shawls are made of three fibers, namely, wool,Pashmina and Shahtoosh.

Papier Mache is made up of pulp of paper and adhesive. This is another popular craft of Kashmir introduced in the valley in the fifteenth century. This is made by soaking paper in water for days till it falls to pieces. Once done, this paper is crushed and mixed with an adhesive solution, which is then given different shapes over moulds. Later, this final product is dried, painted and polished before selling in the market. This popular craft comes in varied designs, colors and artwork and are of different range.

Wood Carving is the best-known craft. The primary wood used for this craft is walnut and chinar wood of Kashmir. Though expensive, this wood is known for its fine texture and pattern. There is variety of objects where wood carving is done such as furniture and decorative pieces like jewelry boxes, photo frames and so on. The carving and cutwork done on these objects make them unique.

Namdas is another form of craft in the valley. These are rugs or mattresses that are less costly then carpets and are made up of cotton and woollen fibre. These rugs are used as floor covering and are adorned with chain stitch embroidery done with woollen and cotton threads.

Copperware is also popular in the valley. Craftsmen of Kashmir produces interesting cooking pots, tea kettles and other articles out of copper.

Basketry: also creates some unique variety of Basketry and other objects like lampshades, tables, chairs and so on. These are made from willow rushes or straw grass and twigs grown abundantly in the lakes and marshes of Kashmi.

Kanger: A kanger also known as kangri is an pot filled with hot embers used by Kashmiris beneath their traditional clothing to keep the chill at bay, which is also regarded as a work of art. It is normally kept inside the phiren the Kashmiri cloak or inside a blanket .     

Willow Bats: The kashmiri bats are not only popular in India, but also in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.The cost range of these bats is from a mere Rs.500 to Rs.10000. Generally considered heavier than English willow bats, players of the sub-continent prefer these bats because they generate greater speed. The industry, established in Kashmir, combines traditional tools with modern technology. Visitors can see lots of Bat Factories in Sangam Area of Anantnag district.

Fruits & Spices: Kashmir, the land of fauna, flora and fruits possesses a rich history of fruit cultivation. Years before the time of warrior King ‘Lalita Ditya’ ‘Awantiwaraman’ and Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin ‘Badshah Kashmir has remained the symbol of fruits and flowers.

Apple :

Amri (Ambri Kashmiri) Lawrence describes it as "the most popular apple in Kashmir ------- a sweet fruit ripening in October and keeping its condition for a long time and finding favour with the natives of India for its sweetness and its handsome appearance" Ambri is indigenous to Kashmir and continues to enjoy superiority by virtue of its crisp, sweet flesh and excellent aroma. The fruit matures in the last week of September to first week of October.

American Trel (American A pirogue) This variety has crisp juicy, greenish white and sweet flesh and is usually medium-sized, Delicious (Red Delicious) A world-renowned variety. It is one of the most widely grown apples.

Maharaji (White Dotted Red) A large-sized apple with bright red color on a green base with conspicuous dots. Flesh is crisp, very juicy, acidic and aromatic.

Hazaratbali (Benoni) A medium-sized apple with rounds to slightly conical in shape and red to striped skin; white juicy and sweet flesh. It is the earliest variety of apple available from the valley, maturing in mid-July.

Kesri (Cox’s Orange Pippin) An old English medium-sized apple; it is round to conical in shape with skin orange red deepening to bright red. The flesh is yellow, firm, crisp, tender and very juicy. The fruit matures in mid August.

Pear Nakh Kashmiri (Chinese Sandy Pear) This variety gets its name from grained flesh The skin is thick and green in color that turns yellow on ripening. Williams A widely known English variety. The fruit is large-sized and symmetrical. Skin is yellow with faint blush. The flesh is fine, grained, juicy and sweet. The fruit matures in mid July.

Cherry Gilas Double (Bigarreau Napoleon) This variety is large-sized and attractive with cream-red color. The flesh is firm and juicy but slightly acidic.

Walnut

Kashmir walnuts are popular within the country as well as in foreign markets; a source of substantial foreign exchange. On the basis of shell thickness these are grouped as "Burzil", "Kagzi" and "Wont"; corresponding to "Paper-shelled". Walnut Kernels are used in confectionery, as dessert and for extraction of oil.

Almond Kashmir almonds are known for their superiority of taste and are very popular with the consumers. these are also grouped on the basis of shell thickness as "Papery", "Thin-shelled", and "Thick-shelled". Considered as highly nourishing and of great medicinal value, its kernels are used in confectionery as well as dessert. Its trees are the first blooming fruit trees and an enchanting sight that lends glamour to the spring in Kashmir.

Peaches Quetta Fruit medium to above medium, pointed, halves acuminate. Skin thick, downy, Yellow base with scattered red patches. Flesh firm, creamy yellow, moderately juicy, sweet with acidic blend when fully ripe. Free stone. The fruit is ready for harvest in 3rd week of August.

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are the distal end of a carpe Together with the styles, or stalks that connect the stigmas to their host plant, the dried stigmas are used mainly in various cuisines as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron, long among the world's most costly spices by weight . the golden Condiment has a history of many centuries. It is a condiment medicine, a natural dyestuff. used on various functions by adding delicate aroma, pleasing flavor and magnificent yellow color to food. Its color is sharp and peneptating. In Kashmir its is cultivated in Pampore area visitors can see the flower beds of Saffron in the month of Oct & Nov ….

Apricot Gilgati Sweet Fruit medium, from oblong to rather ovate, slightly irregular in shape. Cavity rather deep to medium in depth, regular and acute. Skin yellow when fresh (brown yellow when dried) sweet, moderately flavoured, stone free kernel sweet.

Strawberry Strawberry is earliest fruit available in Srinagar market during April.

Plums Santa Rosa Fruit medium, roundish, regular, skin smooth and thin flesh deep red, juicy, sweet and soft full of aroma, stone cling type.  

Festivals & Fairs :

Ramadan Festival

Ramadan festival celebrated in the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. it is believed that in the Month of Ramadan Holy Quran "was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation". During this month’s Muslims take fast, It is called the Fast of Ramadan and lasts the entire month. It is a time of worship and contemplation.

Eid-ul-Fitr And Eid-ul-Azha Festival

The Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul- Azha are the most popular Muslim festivals in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. If People want to feel and celebrate Eid must visit Kashmir. Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of fasting month of Ramadan. These festival are very auspicious for all Muslims, they wear new clothes and attend many grand feasts. Eid-ul-Azha is equally important festival, which is more prominent for the Qurbani (sacrifice). People sacrifice goats, sheep and some even Camels.

Snow Festival

Every year Kashmir govt organized snow festival or winter games at Gulmarg between January & February like the state sking championship, Kashmir snow festival.

 Tulip Garden Festival

Kashmir has the Asia's largest tulip garden in Srinagar. The festival is held annually in the month of April when more than 60 variety of tulips are in full bloom. The scene is simply captivating with floral charm. It is a visitor's memorable delight. This garden Festival also includes a different cultural programmes, kashmiri folk dances and songs, Kahmiri cuisine wazwan and sale of local handicraft and arts.

Amarnath Yatra

The holy shrine Amarnath Yatra is started each year between June-August Thousands of devotee visit every year to this cave shrine where natural shiv lingam appear in the form of ice.

Gurez Festival

The festival is held in July every year and showcases the traditional folk dances and songs by the Gurez locals besides white water rafting is also held in the Kishenganga river and a camp site in the scenic Dawar valley of Gurez.

Navratri Festival

This holy Festival is celebrated all over the Kashmiri Pandits in the month of October or November, a special fair also held at the Kheer Bhawani temple.

Saffron Festival

The Saffron Festival is celebrated in October during this time every saffron is in full bloom. Kashmiri saffrom is very famous in world. This festival offers an opportunity to see the intricate harvesting of saffron in the colourful fields giving the enchanting view during the moonlit nights.

Urs locally called ‘Warus” The festival urs organized throughout the year at various shrines mostly in honour of the birth anniversaries of saints and seers. The prominent ones include: Urs Milad Hazratbal, Urs Peer Dastigeer, Urs Makhdoom sahib, Urs Naqashband sahib, Urs Nooruddin Noorani Chrari sharif, Urs Ashmuquam, Urs Shah-i-Hamdan Khanqah Moulla etc.

Music and Dance

 

Rouf / Wanwun This dance is almost steeped in antiquity. Rouf is always performed in the accompaniment of pleasant pathetic song. Rouf is a traditional dance form usually performed by girls on certain important occasions like Eid, Marriage and other functions. Rouf includes dancing and singing simultaneously. No musical instrument is required in this. Girls arrange themselves in two or three rows, each row has 5-6 girls. Each row of girls then move one step forward and then back in swaying motion while singing the Rouf song or Wanwun.

Hafiz Nagma

Hafiz Nagma is based on the classical music of Kashmir- the Sofiyiana Kalam. The Sufiyana Kalam has its own ragas known as Muquam. The prominent instrument used in Hafiz Nagma is called Santoor-a hundred stringed instrument played with sticks. The danseuse in this tradition is known as 'Hafiza'.

Chakri

Chakri is one of the most popular folk music played in Kashmir. Chakri is played with the musical instruments like Harmonium, Rabab, Sarangi and Nout. Chakri was also used to tell stories like fairy tales or famous love stories "Yousuf-Zulaikha", "Laila-Majnun" etc.

Ladishah

 Ladishah is one of the most important part of Kashmiri music tradition. Ladishah is a sarcastically form of singing. The songs are sung resonating the present social and political conditions and are utterly humorous. The singers move from village to village performing generally during the harvesting period. The songs are composed on the spot on issues relating to that village, be it cultural, social or political. The songs reflect the truth and that sometimes makes the song a bit hard to digest, but they are totally entertaining.

Sufiana Kalam

Sufiana Kalam is the classical music of Kashmir, which uses its own Ragas (known as Maqam), and is accompanied by a hundred-stringed instrument called the Santoor, along with the Kashmiri Saz, Wasool, Tabala and Sitar. Sufiana Kalam has been popular in Classical Music in Kashmir performed by Hindus is mainly influenced by Indian classical music, using instruments such as the Sitar. Henzae is a music form sung by Kashmiri Pandits on religious and cultural festivals.

 

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