Shopping in Kashmir
The majestic poplar trees, lush green hills and the melodious sounds of santoor - all bring you immediately to Kashmir of the sixties and seventies. After this, no self-respecting Hindi film could miss shooting a romantic song in Kashmir; Newly married couple longing for a Kashmir honeymoon; And the rich and famous holiday here. But then came the eighties and as a result of political discord, Kashmir slipped from the radar of tourism. One thing of the past, let me tell you! Because all this flying fur has largely calmed down and it is once again overcome by the heat of summer and is planning a trip to Kashmir. There is interesting shopping in Kashmir to add to this. Yes! Kashmir is indeed a popular shopping destination, as unique items are available for the region. Not only you can shop, markets in Kashmir can take advantage of local cuisines which are easily available hence you can shop and dine at the same time.
With regular flights to Srinagar and safe bus travel giving you more Kashmir per eye, the valley once again burns on the most wanted chart of holiday makers. Yes, you need to be careful and yes, you should work the eyes and ears perfectly while you are here, but don't let that stop you from sampling the spoils of one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Visit temples and dargahs, go skiing and trekking, hang out on a houseboat and shop for a day!
Shopping beyond Pashminas
Pashmina shawls and stoles of Kashmir have captured the hearts of thousands of shopkeepers, but you can come back with so much more. There are walnut wood carvings, papier-mach night knocks and red Kashmiri chilli-staple shopping carts of every tourist. Read on to find out that there are not some major items that you should hunt in the city:
- Tea Shor for Tea Addiction - Become Kashmiri; Return green tea leaves as a result of special Kashmiri salted pink tea or afternoon tea. You can get them easily at most grocery stores
- Of course you are going to buy Kashmiri hand woven carpets or Namda, but also relax your wandering eye on Kashmiri crew-work wall hangings and carpets.
- Buy antique copper utensils like samovars and trays (you need to find a strong guide that can take you to the old city; do not venture into this area by yourself)
- Take some willow baskets back; Definitely not your everyday shopping bag
- You have seen him at every handicraft expo that you are in, but this time, get the real thing - Kashmiri lac jewelry. Go wild with necklaces, bracelets and hairpins
- A stunning take-back will feature old photos and some Kashmiri art
- Serve it hot with spices - Apart from Kashmiri red chillies, you should bring back saffron. Kashmir is one of the few places in the world that grows saffron and you have to travel to a saffron farm near Pampore Fields, a short distance from Srinagar (only with the help of certified guides!).
- If you are traveling back home by air, stop at a local bakery or Kandoor Van for some delicious Lavasa, Girdas and Kulchas. You are getting very popular for coming back home!
- The local tweed is cut and sewn into a beautiful long garment called ferrin - rotten to you choice, but in cold winters you should not come back without at least one piece to keep you warm.
- If you are in the mood for separation, bank on a piece of jewelery given with oda doda nymph '- found only in Kashmir
- Visit the floating markets on Dal Lake and watch as locals for everyday items while their boats drift in the water.
- You can visit the Tibetan market in Leh and buy a famous Thangka painting.
- Visit Lal Chowk or Badshah Chowk to purchase walnut wood articles carved to perfection.
- Don't forget to buy a Shato shawl in Kashmir!
Things to Remember
There are interesting handicraft shops and bajra spread across the state where you can have beautiful collections. However, if you are alone then go to tourist-heavy places to shop. However, if you want to venture out of the old city, do it only with the help of a certified guide and a vehicle recommended by the J&K Tourism Department. Visit the Maharaja Bazaar and Kokar Bazaar for spices and the main market area for Kashmiri embroidery items. As you walk around and enjoy the variety the region has to offer. However, one should not leave their hotel without odd times and proper identification. Finally, know that tourists are some of the safest people in Kashmir today - they are the backbone of the region's economy! So enjoy your time and share your experience with us.