Besides snow mountains, pristine lakes and heavenly meadows, Kashmir as an exotic tourist destination has a lot to offer to travelers to take back home as cherishing souvenirs and prized possessions. Kashmir offers the best of the best artisans and craftsmen, whom you can find sitting on every nook and corner, selling premium handicraft products, which they often design and create themselves.
You can support these creative and skillful artisans and craftsmen by buying locally made authentic products and souvenirs from them directly, which you could keep yourself to cherish forever, or gift your loved ones as keepsakes to remember you by.
To make the shopping experience of all art and craft lovers more delightful and gratifying, here are the ten things you can buy in Kashmir:
Worn by kings and queens all over the world, Kashmiri Pashmina is world-famous for its distinct quality and popular appeal. Made from pure wool of Changthangi goats, these shawls are a little expensive, but for their sheer elegance, they make a must-buy item for shopping in Kashmir.
Dyers use organic dyes for hand-dyeing their thread, which is first prepared on a spinning wheel. Then that thread is woven on a handloom to create the embroidered Shawl, with intricate patterns and colorful designs crafted with needles of various sizes.
Pashmina Shawls are known for their softness and warmth, and they last decades and centuries, often passed on from one generation to another. Shahtoosh shawl is the most expensive kind of Pashmina, and it is often a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, which makes the buyer feel like royalty for the rest of their life. There is hardly anyone who visits Kashmir and doesn’t buy a Pashmina Shawl.
Kashmiri carpets are equally famous, considered to be one of the best oriental carpets in the world. People from all around the world want a carpet made in Kashmir. Not only are Kashmiri carpets known for their beautiful patterns and designs, but they are also considered to be among the best quality products.
These oriental rugs are hand-knotted, and they make a popular choice for their great patterns and colors. These handmade carpets add a certain charm to the décor of a home, and people buy them with enthusiasm whenever they find themselves in Kashmir.
The art of rug-making came to Kashmir in the 15th century, when artisans from Persia came as proselytizers. Best carpets are weaved either with pure wool or entirely silk and do not contain a mix of wool and silk, unlike the practice prevalent in the low-quality carpets.
Papier mâché Artefacts
Brought in by the Persian artists to Kashmir as well, the craft is a really popular choice to buy and invest in. Papier-Mache is a delicate decorative art, with hand-painted intricate motifs and design. Paper-pulp is moulded into differently shaped and sized objects such as boxes, flower vases, coaster sets, and other decorative items, and then these objects are dried, painted, and varnished to create the most beautiful and attractive artifacts.
The most interesting part is that the colors used for 'Naqashi' or the designing on the Papier-Mache products are organic or of vegetable-base. Greatly appreciated and admired as excellent souvenirs that you can give your family and friends. The vast range of Papier-Mache products is available in every gift shop, from Jamia-Masjid Downtown to the inner shores of Dal Lake.
Kashmiri “Mogra Cream” is considered the world’s finest saffron. The town of Pampore is popular for saffron production and plantation. Saffron is the stigma of the fall-flowering crocus. These stigmas are worth thousands and are therefore one of the costliest spices in the whole world. Saffron, considered the golden crop, renders a unique x-factor to Kashmiri cuisine.
From Wazwan to Kehwa, Saffron goes in everything- good and pure in Kashmir. Though adulteration is a major setback affecting the saffron, you can find authentic saffron with dark red color and long perfect strands around Rs 250 per 1gm in Srinagar and Pampore.
Kashmir offers an extensive range of dry fruits out of which Almond, Walnut, Cashews, Hazelnuts, and Figs are the most popular ones. All those who love dry fruits can visit the local stores and buy the best quality and most delicious walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and figs.
Kashmiri Dry fruits are known for their superiority of taste and are very popular among the consumers, used extensively on many occasions. Almonds and walnuts contain healthy fats, minerals, vitamins, calcium, carbohydrates, proteins, fibers, and other beneficial things which have many health benefits.
All shopping markets in Kashmir have many authentic and moderately priced dry fruits of every kind, which you can take home to enjoy their crispy and crunchy taste.
Kashmir Willow Bats
Kashmir willow bats may enhance your love for playing cricket to another level. Lightweight, lasting, and beautifully crafted, Kashmir willow bats are considered to be the best in the sub-continent. The Kashmir willow bat is part of every major cricketer’s kit, as many players have even played international tournaments with the bats crafted in Kashmir. Top-quality affordable Kashmir willow cricket bats are available everywhere on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
Objects carved in the wood make great home décor items from Kashmir. With the help of indigenous tools, the carving on wood is done by the highly skilled craftsmen, who shape many items such as shikaras, toys, trays, tables, bowls, furniture, photo frames, and key holders.
The detailed patterns on wood make these artifacts quintessentially Kashmiri in nature, and tourists passionately buy them to keep them at home as the old exotic memorabilia from Kashmir. Carved walnut wood products are a must-buy in Kashmir and an interesting and impressive addition to your shopping list. Woodcraft shops at Jamia Masjid, Dal-lake, and Kashmir Haat offer a very wide range of carved beauties.
Similar to objects carved in wood, carved metallic items make a great buy in Kashmir. The Naqashi jewelry, decorating silverware, and brass and copper handicrafts are made by talented locals, who create intricate designs and interesting shapes.
Pooja items, small utensils, and showcase artifacts such as vases, silver tea-sets, and decorative cigarette cases are popular and bought extensively in Kashmir. The traditional jewelry that Kashmiri women wear is popular and it is something that you must buy on your vacation.
Now that you have become familiar with the famous shopping items that you should buy as a token of memory on your trip, at least try to buy some of this unique artistic work from the streets of Kashmir, as it not only adds value to your personal life, but it promotes and supports these skilled local artisans and craftsmen as well. Maharaj Gunj in Srinagar is one of the best places to get metal-carved objects while in Kashmir.
Kashmiri chilies are known around the world for their vibrant red hue and very edible mild heat. Kashmiri chili is a staple for Indian cooking. The Kashmiri chilies lend a good color to the food and at the same are not so biting as the other chilies of the world. The dried Kashmiri chilies are available around the year and can be brought from any town in the valley.
While packing for home, if you are thinking that you may miss the taste of delicious Kehwa that you used to enjoy during your stay in Kashmir, you can add Kehwa mix to your buying list. Since making authentic Kehwa can be difficult, many brands in Kashmir have come up with boxed Kehwa ingredients that you can add to boiling water at home and enjoy the gracious Kehwa. This can be obtained from any shop in all the major places in Kashmir.