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Kanihama: The craft village of Kashmir

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May 2, 2024
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Srinagar, Apr 30: Kanihama, a quaint village in Budgam district, is becoming a center of attraction for tourists visiting Kashmir.

The craft tourism village which lies on the way to the famous tourist destination Gulmarg has a major section of the population associated with Kani shawl weaving.

The village, which is being promoted by both the tourism as well as handicrafts departments is getting attention from tourists, who aim to explore the handicraft art of Kashmir.

As such every day hundreds of tourists visit the Gulmarg halt at this village to get a first-hand experience of Kani shawl weaving by skulled artisans of Kanihama.

Walking through the narrow lanes of Kanihama, visitors are greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors and the rhythmic sounds of artisans practicing age-old techniques passed down through generations.

From intricate Kani artwork to delicate handwoven Pashmina shawls, each corner of the village tells a story of craftsmanship and dedication.

“This village is phenomenal. We had heard about this village and after due research on the internet, we decided to visit the village. It was such a great experience to learn about the culturally rich artisans of Kashmir. We spent some time with the artisans to know more about their art,” said Kartikey Mehta, a tourist from New Delhi.

Home to 400 families, the village has an important contribution to the revival of the Kani Shawl weaving in Kashmir.

The quest to revive the Kani Shawl began some 50 years ago when this art was becoming extinct.

Locals credit Ghulam Mohammad Kanihama, a former member of the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly, for reviving the craft.

The village as per the official estimates produces almost 700 shawls a year. The price of Kani Shawls ranges from Rs 50,000 to Rs 3.5 lakh.

In 2020, the government declared Kanihama a “Handloom Tourist Village” to promote the art form at the national and international levels.

The village was given a Kani Shawl Weaving factory by the government to train and produce shawls on a mass scale within the village.

Local artisans are cashing in on the popularity of the village as many tourists prefer to shop for handicraft products directly from the artisans.

“Many handicraft shops have come up within the village. Tourists love to interact with the artisans and purchase gifts and souvenirs for their loved ones from the artisans,” said Farooq Ahmad, a local.

(With KNO inputs)


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