Kashmir is undoubtedly one of the beautiful places in the world to explore and a perfect place to unwind yourself. The mesmerising snow clad mountains, gushing waterfalls and unending pasture lands are some of the unique features of this land of saints. People of Kashmir have kept their age-old tradition of hospitality, culture and traditions alive. There are many things which are unique in Kashmir and to keep the memories of your visit fresh for a long time; here are five recommended products which one should buy from this heavenly place as a souvenir.
Shawl: A souvenir of a lifetime
A shawl can be one of the best gifts from the valley of Kashmir. It comes in three different varieties Woollen, Shahtoosh and the most expensive one Pashmina.
Woollen shawls are budget shawls and are popular because of the embroidery works on it. The price of the woollen shawl depends upon the embroidery and the type of wool used. This shawl is usually known as the “Raffle” in Kashmir.
Shahtoosh Shawl is impressively soft, light and warm. It is a legendary shawl which can actually pass the ring test. Shahtoosh is comparatively expensive as compared to the woollen shawls. The price once again would depend upon the art of embroidery on it.
Among all the most expensive and adorable is the Pashmina shawl, made from the wool of Ibex found in the highlands of Ladakh region in Kashmir at an altitude of 14000 feet above the sea level. Pure Pashmina is quite expensive but its variants with the mix of wool or Rabbit fur can be relatively at a lower price. Most exquisite embroidery is worked on pashmina shawl, making it the expensive shawl of all kinds. Sometimes the entire shawl is being covered with the needlework and is called “Jamawar“.
Silk Products: Feel of Kashmir
Kashmir is home to some of the best silk products in the world including Rugs, Kelims, antique tribal Carpets & Crewel furnishings and most of these products are handmade. For memories of a lifetime and feel of being in the beautiful valley every day, buying these silk products should be on your checklist while you are in Kashmir.
Saffron: A Prized Spice
Kashmir is the third largest producers of saffron in the world after Iran and Spain. Saffron produced in Kashmir is considered as the best in the world because of the distinctive, long and silky threads. Saffron is used in medicines, cosmetics and is widely used in various cuisines all over the world and in Kashmiri feast meal “Wazwaan” because of its aroma. While you’re on a visit to Kashmir, grab a few grams of the prized spice of the world as a souvenir.
Walnut Woodcraft: An Indigenous Art
Kashmir is blessed with the abundance of natural resources and one such resource is the walnut trees. Cutting down a walnut tree as per the constitution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is a crime but as the tree gets older government allows to cut it down and artisans get timber through an auction process.
The woodcraft by Kashmiri artisans speaks volumes about the glorious art of the valley. You will be amazed to see intricate designs on various products like Shikara, indigenous animal statues, utility boxes and many other interior decor items. Buying any of these walnut products from Kashmir can be a real memory of your trip. The best part of these souvenir items is the long lasting life.
Papier Mache: Brilliance of craftsmanship
Finally, we have Papier Mache on our list. Papier Mache articles are made up of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles and are beautifully painted. Papier Mache work of Kashmir valley is famous world over. Artists create a variety of products like Keychains, Wall hangings, Jewellery boxes etc. These products are vibrant, durable and at the same time cost-effective. While on your visit you can certainly buy a lot of such products and distribute among your colleagues, friends and family members back home.
This blog post was first published on Silkroute Traveller.0