Saffron fields, apple orchards, silk carpets woven around prayers… The images summoned up by one’s imagination of Kashmir are exotic, beautiful, and mind-boggling to say the least. The land is steeped in the history and heritage of its engagements with the ancient Greeks, Mughals, Buddhists, Hindus, and the British. Shaped by these great influences, the Kashmir Valley today is a melting pot of cultures and traditions.
Craft is not an ordinary enterprise in Srinagar; it is symbolic of the history and culture of Kashmir and its people. Lose yourselves in meandering streets and browse through the ancient bazaars on leisurely strolls on your quest for the pulse of its meditative crafting traditions. Discover with delight the exquisite variety and living practices of these crafts, long fabled the world over for their superb artisan quality.
Why you will love it
- This breakaway will encourage you to get up-close and personal with Kashmir, Kashmiriyat (the way of life and traditions of Kashmir), and Kashmir’s rich handicrafts.
- Look forward to enriching one-to-one interactions with artisans, who are custodians of Kashmir’s rapidly vanishing ancestral crafts and textile traditions.
- Meander through old bazaars bedecked with dry fruits, silks, spices, and much more.
- The breakaway will be helmed by a facilitator who has lived and worked with the artisan community in Kashmir across various genres of crafts. It’s a wonderful, nuanced way to experience the local places and people that you visit.
What you will experience
This beautifully curated tour allows you to watch first-hand how master weavers weave impossibly delicate Pashmina, one of the finest woollen fabrics known to man, created from the softest Pashm fibre that is 1/10th the width of human hair. The privilege of witnessing the handful of surviving Kani weavers is an unforgettable experience. Marvel over how several thousand lines later, a two-meter shawl is readied under their skilled hands. Discover too the secret of the Jamavar shawl’s exotic nuances as you watch embroiderers painstakingly work each stitch with silk skeins, which takes months to create the exquisite, finished product.
The papier mâché craftsman reveals many layered narratives of cultural influences at work. Discover how the Kashmiri skill of painting is fused with Central Asian designs and motifs, and applied onto surfaces of papier mâché, a technique of European origin. Woodcraft has long been Kashmir’s fabled artisanal high point. Witness the birth of incredibly intricate poetry in walnut and meticulously carved motifs of grapes and pears, chinar leaves and lotus flowers.
Unravel the mystique of the gorgeous Kashmiri Kaleen. Watch how a special thread from Assam mounted on to the hand loom along with thickened silk from Patna from Bihar and the locally recreated designs from Hamadan come together under the skilled hands of a Kashmiri artisan to create a thing of beauty forever.
Dip deep into Kashmir’s mystical Sufi culture and learn how its meditative qualities raised their sensibilities to such exquisite heights, they found it that it was the perfect channel to surrender themselves to the divine.
Walk through history at Zaina Kadal, and through narrow streets into the Jama Masjid, and Shah-e-Hamdaan.
Along the way, you get to enjoy lunch at a local eatery. Please note this is only an indicative line-up of immersive experiences you can get to enjoy; the final schedule is dependent on the availability of artisans, at the time of your breakaway.