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Traditional ‘Daan’ still used in many Ganderbal villages

Post by Umar Raina on Monday, November 7, 2022

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Ganderbal, Nov 6: The traditional clay stove locally known as ‘Daan’, which has vanished in the last couple of decades in Kashmir with the emergence of modern cooking gadgets, still continues as an indispensable part of the kitchen in some villages of this central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
The ‘Daan’ system vanished gradually across the valley with the construction of modern houses. The villages like Gund, Kulan, Gagangir, Surfraw and some adjacent villages are still using ‘Daan’ which, according to the people of these areas, is a “blessing”.
The locals said the taste and quality of the food cooked over ‘Daan’ can never be found in the one made from electronic rice cookers.
Women in these areas said the food cooked over ‘Daan’ is liked by everyone. This centuries-old cooking style is otherwise a hectic process. One has to ensure fuel (wood and tree branches) for it which is either bought from the market or collected from forests.
“Daan has its own importance and many benefits,” said Rafiqa Begum from Gund. “It holds a special significance in our lifestyle. We cannot imagine our life without it.” It may be noted that ‘Daan’ is also called ‘Daambur’ in some remote areas.
Another woman Raja Begum told Rising Kashmir that apart from cooking, the ‘Daan’ “keeps our room warm, especially during the chilly winter season”.
The traditional way of cooking on ‘Daan’ involves the use of earthen pots that naturally adds to the flavour of the dish. Locals in Kashmir believe that food cooked in earthen pots is nutrient-rich, as the ‘Daan’ helps maintain the moisture and the aroma of the cooked food.
According to health experts, food cooked on ‘Daan’ is healthy in every possible way. However, they say the only thing that one needs to take care of is to use cow dung cake in place of wood or coal, as the latter two are not good for the respiratory system of the human body.
Interestingly, there is a woman, Tahira, who is an expert in making ‘Daan’. And she does not charge anything for making it. “One fine winter, I learned how to make ‘Daan’. Since then, there is no looking back. I just love to make it for anyone – for free.”

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