Srinagar: From the array of delicacies to interesting customs, and traditions, Kashmir has so much to offer.
And an interesting part of that is the attire of people. Do you know not just the outfits, but even the fabric used is unique to the valley?
Here are four famous Kashmiri fabric imprints that reflect the rich heritage of the valley:-
It is a kind of exquisite cashmere wool that is obtained from the Changthangi goat’s downy undercoat. Pashm in Persian means “wool.” Nowadays, a Pashmina can refer to the material or variation of the Kashmir shawl produced thereon.
Kashmiri and Pashmina generics are from the same animal, but generic Kashmiri has a diameter of 12 to 21 microns, while Pashmina refers solely to fibers of 12 to 16 microns. Pashmina shawls are Kashmir’s unique craft. Other countries have tried to copy this art unsuccessfully. The shawls are weaved by weavers who have been in this trade for centuries and have acquired this art from their forefathers. They make patterns with flower borders, Chinar leaves, and paisley inspired by lakes, dawn, and sunset, mainly from memory. Some types of Hand Embroideries done on Pashmina shawls are sozni, papier-mâché, and aari.
Kashmir has a wide range of verities in silk textile designs. The weaves popularly known as ‘chinon’ and ‘crepe de chine’ are some of the fine qualities produced from the silk yarn. For a long time, the mulberry silk produced in the valley was taken to faraway western countries. Historians say a century ago Kashmir had a “dynamic silk trade.”In the 1940s, the precious silk yarn was even exported to the entire British Empire.
The silk industry was a main revenue earner for the state during the Maharaja rule. Kashmir had its indigenous races of silkworms and would produce the best quality cocoons in the world. There are lots of things made from Kashmiri silk. The products made from Kashmiri silk have a great demand in national and international markets. Mulberry cocoon reared in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is the superior quality in Asia. It yields a very fine fiber that can be compared with the best in the world. Silk is considered to be a symbol of royalty, and, historically, silk was used primarily by the upper classes.
The tweed material woven in Kashmir is well known the world over. It is considered to be one of the best materials in the world. The raw material that is used in producing tweed is obtained from outside Kashmir; however, Kashmiri tweed is woven using imported techniques and is of extremely good quality.
The production of tweed is a job undertaken by a majority of the people of Kashmir. Initially produced in parts of South Kashmir, mostly in the Pulwama district, a number of areas in the Kashmir periphery adopted this art. Now it is also produced in parts of North and Central Kashmir like Bandipora and Budgam.
Also called the Kashida embroidery, it is a unique form of art, staying true to the beauty of the valley. The exquisite needlework and thread work that involves a single long stitch to make the design is indeed one of the most distinguished and beautiful forms of embroidery. Only a few expert artisans and craftsmen were able to pull off the gorgeously intricate handcrafted Kashida embroidery which required an eagle’s eye and extreme patience.
The practice of Kashida embroidery began in the early 11th century at the small cottage level. However, over the years, it grew and expanded with the Mughal nobility taking over the princely states. The aristocracy and royalty further pushed the precious Kashida embroidery to become one of the most elite forms of embroidery. In the wake of growth and development, Kashmiri craftsmen started to experiment in clothing and garments by stitching unique salwar kameez, which is a staple for Kashmiri women.The most interesting feature of this embroidery is that it only requires a maximum of two or three stitches to produce elaborate exclusive designs. It can be of different types like chain stitch, satin stitch, slanted darn stitch, herringbone stitch, and stem stitch.Kashmiri embroidery takes its inspiration from nature and features popular designs like a maple leaf, twigs, branches, trees, lotus blooms, etc. There are different distinctive forms of Kashmiri handmade embroidery like Kashir Jaal, a fine network of embroidery generally woven on the neckline of garments, Jaama, a thickly embroidered pattern intertwining trees, branches, and flowers.Jaal, a fine delicate network of trees and flowering vines motifs.