Like in many parts of the world, thousands of women in Kashmir celebrate Eid by adorning their hands with beautiful henna or mehendi art with great zeal and enthusiasm.
Over the past few days, markets in Srinagar have come alive with a huge rush of women and girls coming out to get henna designs on their hands. Henna artists are also having their day and receive a huge rush of women who get their hands designed with beautiful and artistic henna art.
Among many henna artists is Tawheeda Bano, a resident of Lawaypora area of Srinagar. She has a small boutique where many girls and women turn up to get henna on their hands.
“I am having a separate space for henna. Yesterday, I received nearly 25 girls to apply mehendi on their hands,” she said.
Bano has been associated with henna art over the past several years. She is not only a mehendi designer but also a trainer and has trained nearly 200 students.
“In Kashmir we have a different culture. Over the years we have witnessed a surge in non-local male henna artists coming here. But we want to compete and shine out. Mehendi design has a good future,” she said.
She recounted that during the 2019 lockdown she was the only mehendi artist at Gunikhan Gali as non-locals were not here due to the restrictions.
Women love to apply designs of henna on their hands on the eve of Eid. They usually celebrate Eid with lavish dishes and buy new clothes to enjoy the joyous occasion, she added.
Apart from marriages, school teachers, college teachers, college and university students turn up to her centre to get mehendi on hands.
Bano said recently she along with some other henna artists met Principal Secretary, Skill Development, Dr Asgar Samoon and proposed a project in mehendi designing.
Due to the Covid-19 lockdown in the past two years, Saima from Budgam could not go out but today after two years she was waiting for her turn at a henna artist in Srinagar.
“I was too busy to go out for mehndi, and I was also upset because on the last Eid, too, we were not able to apply henna. So today I had mehendi designs on my hands,” she said.
In Srinagar from Jamia Market to Gonikhan market, mehendi stalls are ubiquitous. Beauty salons, too, are providing a variety of creative henna designs for women.
There are dozens of non-locals who are working as mehendi artists in the Jamia Masjid and Goni Khan markets. They have been working in the valley for years together.
Children with enthusiasm also love to apply mehendi despite buying clothes and other essentials. A large number of children dyed their hands with mehendi amid laughs.
“I usually come here to shop. But, this year mehendi added happiness to my shopping,” said Maroof-Un-Nisa, a 12-year-old student at Batamaloo.