Snow has fallen again and winter is back in the valley of Kashmir. There are many things one could enjoy in this place called “Paradise On Earth”. Here I am quoting six activities that should make your holidays memorable and let you experience the customs and culture of the region.
Snow fight Sheen Jung
Being in Kashmir at this marvellous time, when the entire region is covered in a white blanket, your vacation would be incomplete if you don’t indulge in a snow fight with your pals. A snow fight can turn out to be one of the most adventurous and memorable moments of one’s trip. But, while you let your enthusiasm get better of you, do be careful and keep yourself warm once you have had enough of the Sheen Jung.
After you have had enough snow fight than its must to have a fun of snow skating through the slope. One of the best places to enjoy the snow skating is Gulmarg. Gulmarg is some 45 km’s from the capital city Srinagar and it takes about an hour to reach there.
Warmth of a Kanger: A traditional fire pot of Kashmir
Snow envelopes Kashmir with a charm and cheer and also gives one a chance to enjoy some chilly moments. So, don’t forget to find pleasure in the warmth of the Kashmiri earthen pot filled with hot embers. Kanger, a small clay pot, is a portable heater, suspended in a basket for carrying burning charcoal and is placed their underneath overcoats by locals.One full burning charcoal in Kanger will last for almost a day and is enough to keep you warm throughout. Kashmiris often carry it under their long gowns called feran.
Harissa: A Kashmiri delicacy, especially for the winters
Kanger may be enough to keep your body warm externally, but there is something else needed to keep you warm inside. During winters in Kashmir, there is nothing better than relishing harissa. It is a local Kashmiri dish, made from goat’s meat. It is prepared with lots of spices and is slow-cooked overnight to turn the meat into a paste, which is then served with locally-made naan (similar to pita bread). It is a wonder to the taste buds.
High on Kehwa and Sheermal
During the harsh winters, another specialty to look forward to is kehwa, served with locally made crispy and salty bread called sheermal. Kehwa is a Kashmiri word derived from the numeric Kah, which in Kashmiri means eleven and wah are the natural herbs. Kehwa is made from eleven herbs and has a taste that would most likely leave you wanting some more.
Hokh Sune, Dried vegetables – Peace is where food is
Kashmir once used to be entirely cut from the rest of the world for four to six months during the winters. To stock the garrison, people would stack up rice, which would last through the harsh winters in the region. Also, it was not possible in those times to keep vegetables and fruits fresh for long, as the technologies were not so advanced. So, people would dry the vegetables and fruits to store for the season. The tradition of drying the vegetables is called Hokh Sune and remains in use till date. Kashmiris dry almost every vegetable and then use it during wintertime. The dry vegetables are delicious and have altogether a different taste. When in Kashmir, dry vegetables are a must have.
Initially published at MIGÂ with some updates at AMBlog.