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Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
Crewelwork is a kind of hand embroidery that has been practised in Kashmir for centuries. A hook (aari) and mainly woollen yarns in single or multicolour colours are used in this technique. A variety of products, including Namda (felt carpet), clothing material, and curtain fabric, are made with the help of crewelwork. The foundation fabric is the same for all of these products, and it is this which decides what the item would be used for and how it would be decorated.
Kashmiri Crewel Embroidery differs from other parts of the world as it is mainly made of woollen yarns compared to other parts of the world where it is made of synthetic or cotton yarns. Crewel Embroidery is done entirely by hand - no machine can recreate the skill or the impact of the strands of wool on a simple piece of fabric.
Each stage in the embroidery process, from beginning to finish, brings the piece a bit closer to its final flawless appearance.| Mahyah Binti Idris
Each stage in the embroidery process, from beginning to finish, brings the piece a bit closer to its final flawless appearance. The process of stitching starts with a Naqash (designer) and concludes at the washer, and it passes through an intricate procedure along the way.
Choosing a design is the first step in the crewel-making process; designs consisting of trees, maple, and flowers are some of the most popular choices among Kashmiri crewel makers. Personalized designs, whether classic or contemporary, are also available upon request from customers. The designer will start by drawing a preliminary sketch on a transparent piece of paper long enough to accommodate at least one repetition of the pattern. After that, holes are punched in the pattern.
The embroidered stitches are precisely aligned with the imprinted outlines, and each knot in the thread is secured. | Flickr
Once the design is complete, the pattern sheet is put on a previously set out fabric and rubbed all over with an ink-soaked cloth, allowing the ink to seep through the tiny pores in the design sheet, which leaves a beautiful and clean impression on the fabric underneath. Womenfolk now embroider the imprinted fabric with the famous Aari. The embroidered stitches are precisely aligned with the imprinted outlines, and each knot in the thread is secured. After getting stitched, the fabric is washed to remove the ink; it is ironed using a steam roller iron.
Crewel Embroidery is a delicate art form that requires special attention. Within the community, it is claimed that mastering the skill takes 16 years. Your cloth may get filthy with time, necessitating the need for cleaning. The majority of crewel fabrics should be dry cleaned properly to prevent colour leaking from the embroidered yarns.
Keywords: Crewel, embroidery, crewelwork, artform, aari, Kashmir, handicrafts
Namda is believed to have originated around the 11th century, under the reign of Akbar, the great Mughal emperor. According to historical records, Akbar directed to provide an appropriate covering for his horse, who was suffering from severe cold. As a response, an elderly man rose to his feet and stated his thoughts. His name was Nubi; he used to stitch multicolored and exquisite patterns into wool. Therefore, he offered his felting services to the emperor and as a result, wool felting was born and since then has developed into a world-class craft form that continues to astound people to this day. The skill of Namda manufacturing, was introduced to Kashmir by the Sufi saint Shah- e- Hamdan, who came with the noble purpose of providing a source of income for the Kashmiris. Namda making is still a source of income for a large portion of Kashmir's population.
Namda making is still a source of income for a large portion of Kashmir's population. | India Mart
Namda is produced by felting sheep wool rather than weaving it, which is what, makes it unique. On a grassor a jute mat, the wool is spread and then soapy water is sprinkled evenly over it. The mat is then firmly wrapped and secured with a rope, then pressed by rolling back and forth on the floor with the help of hands and feet. For about an hour, this procedure is continued as it allows the fiber of the layers to firmly stick together. After that, the rope is loosened and the mat is unrolled to reveal the beautiful Namda. This simple Namda is then embroidered with the stunning Kashmiri Aari Embroidery to complete the look. The Namda market in Kashmir is mainly concentrated in the downtown regions of Shehr-e-khaas, Anantnag, Rainawari, and Baramulla, as well as other nearby places.
Types of Namda:
- Plain Namda: It is a kind of simple mat that is not decorated with any type of embroidery work.
- Embroidered namda: These are the kinds that are decorated. Ari work is done on a simple namda with various colors to make it appear attractive and appealing.
- Cut work namda: In this technique, trimmed pieces are arranged according to the pattern while layers are created to produce the best namda.
The Namda market in Kashmir is mainly concentrated in the downtown regions of Shehr-e-khaas, Anantnag, Rainawari, and Baramulla, as well as other nearby places. | India Mart
Namda-making has turned into a part-time occupation in recent years. Work is required on a number of fronts in order to bring this art back to life. When it comes to the sales, its exports have seen a steep decrease, dropping by almost 100 percent between 1998 and 2008.
Don't forget to read about the Unique Handicrafts of Kashmir by clicking HERE.
Keywords: handicrafts, kashmir, wool, sheep, felting, namda, rug
Kashmir's carved walnut woodwork is considered to be one of the most prominent crafts in the region. Because of the high concentration of walnut trees in Kashmir, walnut wood carving is unique to Kashmir. In Kashmir, Walnut woodcarving was originally initiated by Sheik Hamza Makhdoom during the Zainul Abdideen rule of the 15th century. The King encouraged the art to grow the economy of the valley.
For carving, the walnut wood logs are sliced into planks with the help of machinery; this machine is locally known as "Band Saw," and the practice is locally known as "Laker Chiren" or simply "Chirin." These wooden boards are then chopped and set to dry, permitting air to travel through. The first phase in this practice is to hold the planks straight so that the sap is lowered in the plank, which takes around 4-6 months.
A timber carver, known locally as Naqash, crafts the bland wooden board into a unique and magnificent art form. | Mahyah Binti Idris
After 4-6 months, these wooden planks are then sent to the carpenter, who creates a box, window, or furniture such as a bed, table, chair, etc. These wooden boards are cut to the desired measurements and then leveled with the application of the planar, which is called "Randh Dunn," to make them thicker evenly in regular measurements. These planks of regular size are now finished using different local tools. The sandpaper is used to smooth the rough edges, while the pullet and varnish are used to smoothen and polish the surface. From the carpenter, who is usually called 'Chaan,' the piece is then sent to a timber carver, known locally as Naqash, who crafts the bland wooden board into a unique and magnificent art form. This is the last step referred to as carving.
STYLES OF WOODCARVING:
- Undercut (Khokerdar):
This type features multi-layers up to seven. The overall outcome tends to represent diverse patterns or sceneries in three dimensions: a jungle with layers of flowers, interwoven, animals jumping from bushes, birds flying, etc.
- Open or Latticework (Jalidahr):
This form of artwork is seen on screens and gives a magnificent look through Jali work. In this, Chinar leaf designs and Mughal jali patterns are carved.
- Deep carving (Vaboraveth):
This technique is also known as raised work, and the carving designs consist of dragons or lotus designs. The depth of the carving piece can go up to 5 inches.
- Semi carving (Padri):
This style of art usually consists of narrow panels with a core theme around the surface rim.
- Shallow carving (Sadikaam):
In this, the scenes are pursued along the pencil lines to give them a little depth.
TOOLS USED FOR WOOD CARVING:
The main tools are: - chisels of different styles (wathlavun), planer (randha), L-angle to obtain parallel and perpendicular lines (Khari hat), tape measuring (phetgaz), and wooden scale (khat chhal).
The themes of these wooden handicrafts are inspired by several natural beauties of Kashmir, Chinar leaves, Vine leaves, Lotus, and Rose blooms. | Mahyah Binti Idris
DIFFERENT THEMES OF WOOD CARVING:
The themes of these wooden handicrafts are inspired by several natural beauties of Kashmir, Chinar leaves, Vine leaves, Lotus, and Rose blooms. Kashmiri's wood carving specialty is the Khatam band with geometrical designs that are magnificently carved on wood. The patterns are chiselled around the edges or cover the full surface. The diversely sculpted flower designs or geometric motifs form stunning works of art. A single item might take between 2 days and six months, depending on the complexity of the design.
The diversely sculpted flower designs or geometric motifs form stunning works of art. | Mahyah Binti Idris
Don't forget to read about the Unique Handicrafts of Kashmir by clicking HERE.
Keywords: walnut, wood carving, wood, carpenter, kashmir, handicraft