Jammu and Kashmir is an amazing destination, blessed amply by beauties of nature. Poets and Philosophers have called Kashmir a Paradise on earth. The landscape here astounds you no end. While this is the work of Nature, man-made beauty is reflected in the amazing Handicrafts of Kashmir.
Handicrafts of Kashmir are characterized by elegance, aesthetics, design and diversity. The most famous are the carpets, which are favored world over. Wood carving items, Shawls, Papier mache articles, Silk Sarees, Leather goods are made by Kashmiri craftsmen in exquisite forms and colors.
Revenue for the Indian Government
Kashmir Handicrafts are so famous that they have are displayed as exhibits at famous International museums. They also bring in lots of revenue for the exchequer. This is because the workmanship of Kashmiri Craftsmen rated highly in the International market.
Handicrafts of Kashmir – A Listicle
Let us look at some 10 famous handmade products that Kashmir has to offer :
Kashmir carpets are the most popular handicrafts of Kashmir. This art has a very old history dating to the Mughals period. This art came to Kashmir from Persians in Samarkand. Carpet reached its zenith under the Mughal ruler Jahangir.
Carpets come in various sizes. They are made of pure wool or mixed with silk and used as a decorative piece. A good quality carpet will cost up to few lakhs.
Photo by Tolokyo
Kashmiri shawls are equally famous for their quality and embroidery. A hook instead of the regular needle is used here. Shawls are used made from three fibres – Pashmina, wool and a very expensive Shatoosh.
Pashmina wool is obtained from the Ibex goat. The higher the count of this wool the costlier the shawl is. A mixed Pashmina shawl is relatively cheaper. Shatoosh shawl is the costliest. The fibre collection is now banned because it has to be collected from the Tibetian Antelope’s throat.
Light-weight but strong, Kashmiri sarees are made from the silk of silkworms reared in the valley itself. These sarees are much sought-after by the Indians and International Saree-lovers.
- Kashmiri Embriodery
Photo by Mike Prince
Kashmir embroidery is known for its intricate colorful motifs that are made in tiny concentric chain stitch desins to ive a special look. Hence you can identify a garment with Kashmiri embroidery very easily.
- Namdas and Gabba rugs
Namads are available in most Emporiums of Srinagar. Made combining wool and cotton,they are cheaper than other products. They are smaller than Carpets and are used as floor decorative pieces. Sometimes appliqué work is done to make them more attractive.
Gabba Rugs are made from old wollens which are joined together with a chain stitch. The whole garment – the edges and the enclosed area is filled with embroidery patterns to make than look more appealing.
- Papier Mache
Photo by Mike Prince
Papier Machie of Kashmir holds a GI Tag received in 2011-12. It is made through a laborious and delicate process layering paper pulp on upon another till the desired shape is achieved. Later it is polished and painted to get beautiful Bowls, cups, lamps, letter holders, jewelry boxes and coasters.
- Wood carvings
Walnut trees are found in abundance in this state. Walnut wood while being soft, is strudy. This is the reason the wood withstands intricate carvings of motifs such as chinar and and vine leaves, rose and lotus flowers carved by many skilled craftsmen in this state. All the parts of the tree – viz. trunk, branches and roots are used to make wood items.
Beds, Doors, windows, dining tables, cabinets, chairs, jewellery boxes and caskets are made using walnut wood.
This craft is practiced by many and hence is the most popular cottage industry in Kashmir.
- Basket weaving
Willow rushes are available in abundance in Kashmir. The main basket-weaving centre is Hazratbal in Srinagar. Weavers use this raw material to make Shopping baskets, Tea coasters, Glass holders, chairs, picnic baskets, tables and chairs. The willow is constantly washed in water and chiseled to make it strong and last longer.
- Leather industry
Made-to-order leather articles like shoes and boats can be easily obtained within few days. The specialty here is suede coats with beautiful embroidery designs on them.
- Copper and Silverware
History of Copperware-making in Kashmir dates to the 11 century. It was mined in the Aisuqam Mountains, South of Kashmir. Beautiful floral and geometric designs called Naqashi are made on Copper and silver items to create an embossed look. You can find Copper or silver Samovars, tumblers, picture frames, flower vases, plates, trays, jugs, dishes bowls, Toilet sets, scent chests, etc Price of a product is determined by the amount of ornamentation and weight
So, the next time you go to Jammu and Kashmir, make sure you visit the markets here and take back a piece of beauty and paradise back to your homes!
Cover Photo: Mike Prince