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Kashmir: Where the clock of beauty stops

-By SRIJITA PATHAK

KASHMIR

India is blessed with a plethora of beautiful tourist destinations which provide a wide array of culture, heritage, and extravagance. One such destination which is located at the crown of the country is the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri culture is considered to be one of the oldest and richest in terms of its delicacies and traditions.


KASHMIRI DELICACIES

Kashmiri food or the Kashmiri cuisine dispenses an assortment of non-vegetarian dishes, this cuisine has been an all-time favorite for meat lovers across the nation. One of the famous dishes of Kashmir is Tabakhmaz, a dish prepared with meat and turnip, left to simmer overnight. Other such famous dishes include Goshtaba, Aab Gosh, and many more such delectable preparations.


Wazwan

The Kashmir Valley is also known for its bakery tradition, various famous bakery shops adorn the streets of the valley selling various types of bread with golden brown crusts topped with sesame and poppy seeds, one such type of bread is Tsot which is a crisp and flaky small round bread. Kashmiri bakerkhani is an important part of the Kashmiri cuisine of Kashmir food, it is similar to a round naan in appearance but is crisp and layered, it is essentially a breakfast item in Kashmir Culture.

A very important component of the Kashmir Culture and Kashmir food is the Wazwan, it is a multi-course meal and is given high regard in the Kashmir Culture. Guests are grouped into fours for the purpose of the serving, it begins with a ritual washing of the hands, a jug or a basin called the tasht near is passed around for this purpose. Afterward, heaps of rice decorated with meat kebabs and other forms of meat like meatballs and ribs are served. This is followed by the serving of various other meat-based dishes. The accompaniments include yogurt garnished with saffron and Phirni or Halwa is served as desserts.

Saffron is another integral part of both the Kashmiri Cuisine/food and the Kashmiri Culture in totality. Kashmir is also the biggest producer of saffron or as it is locally known, kesar. It is an integral part of most Kashmiri desserts.


KASHMIR'S CLIMATIC ECHO

Kashmir culture is not limited to its delicacies or food, it is also a rich repository of various other aspects of culture and heritage. Jammu and Kashmir, due to its location being near the Himalayas experience cold weather throughout the year and thus the production and wearing of woolen and warm clothes are prevalent.

The Pheran or Phiran is the traditional outfit for both males and females in the Kashmiri Culture, it comprises of one gown worn over another to protect from the harsh weather. The traditional ones extend up to the feet which were popular till the late 19th Century, however with passing time the style has evolved to give it a more modernized version. This clothing item was said to be introduced by the Mughal Emperor Akbar when he conquered the valley in 1586.

Pashmina is also an important part of the Jammu and Kashmir culture and it plays an integral part in feeding the economy of the valley. It refers to a fine variant of spun cashmere, the animal hair fiber forming the downy undercoat of the Changthangi coat. It is one of the most favored and expensive forms of wool throughout the nation.

Despite the prevalent political and military turmoil in the state, it is still considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world which attracts a flock of tourists from round the globe. The delicacies and the scenic views of the mountains can make time cease to exist in its majestic wonder.

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