Kashmir is a place that everyone would want to visit. Placed at the top of our map, this place has always been a dream destination for many. Everything from Kashmir apples to saffron to walnuts, there’s magic in everything you take back from this place. So writing about things I got back home from Srinagar. You can thank me later 😉
Srinagar is the largest city in Kashmir and is home to some of the oldest markets. Located on the banks of the Jhelum River, Srinagar is 1730 meters above sea level, surrounded by beautiful rivers, lakes, and springs. The area is well-known for its houseboats, natural beauty, gardens, and breathtaking Himalayan scenery. The picturesque scenery in this city of lakes draws tourists all year. Imagine walking along the banks of a tranquil river, surrounded by snow-capped mountains!
Srinagar – The Pristine Natural Beauty
Srinagar has excellent air, rail, and road connections. So don’t be concerned about getting to the location or exploring the city. If you want to experience pristine natural beauty, Srinagar should be your next stop. Srinagar is well-known for hosting the most important and historic silk route, which runs through the city and leads to Tibet.
There’s more to explore in Srinagar than just walking around enjoying the timeless beauty! Srinagar’s old market area is a hub to shop while you stop. Here are a few things I loved from the markets of Srinagar
Things to bring back home from Kashmir:
1. Papier mache art
The first thing to have on your Srinagar shopping list is Papier Mache art. Made from paper pulp and a few other secret ingredients to bind. These are perfect gifts to take back home, especially if you love home decor. You will find beautiful masks, wall hangings, and boxes. Coasters and bags are also some things to add. Muse yourself with unique Papier Mache jewelry too!
Where to buy – If you are looking for one particular store to shop from, check out Suffering Moses on Munshi Bagh road and Sunbeams store on the polo view road.
2. Carpets/ Tapestry
Kashmir tapestry and carpets are one of a kind. These carpets are hand knotted and are called “Kal baffi.” This beautiful art dates back to the 15th century. It is believed that some carpet weavers were brought down from Persia and Central Asia by Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, and the craft has moved on for generations since then.
Where to buy – Asia Arts, Munshi Bagh road and some places in Raj Bagh road. Especially the one that goes towards Little Angels school (I dont remember the name, but you cannot miss noticing this place)
3. Saffron and Walnuts
I have a mixed opinion on suggesting buying saffron. We passed through saffron fields on our way back from Pahalgam. I was astounded to learn that the cultivation of saffron is extremely resource intensive. One flower has only three or four strands, and I couldn’t stop but imagine how many flowers it would take to make a gram of saffron box. But again, the cultivation is indigenous to the place and a part of the land.
I would rather leave it to your food for thought than influence to make you buy. On the other hand, walnuts and dry fruits are also pretty famous here.
Where to buy – You can purchase walnuts and saffron from Nishant dry fruits near Nishant Bagh or Amin Bin Khalik’s store on polo view road.
4. Rose water
If you love self-care and skin care, then rose water is something that you would always stock up on. But did you know that the ones you usually buy from the retail stores are not entirely authentic? When you are working hard on getting natural skin care right, you have to ensure to have the right products. Not just skin care, but many Indian sweets have rose essence from original rose water. Kashmir has been making rose water for over a century now, and make sure you get a bottle or two to experience the natural rose water from these lands.
Where to buy – I wouldn’t miss out on suggesting Aziz Ahmad Kozgar’s Ark-E-Gulab store. He makes fantastic perfumes and rose water. It’s a dilapidated shop with centuries-old empty glass beakers.
Aziz’s ancestors came to Srinagar almost 500 years back from turkey. With them, they bought the art of making magical syrups and herbal medicines that cure ailments. With the availability of modern medicine, the store slowly lost its charm. Aziz still makes distilled rose water from the roses grown in the valley.
Carry a bottle with you if you are planning to buy rose water. He charges 20-30 bucks for one liter.
5. Kahwa chai
Kahwa Chai is a sort of mild green tea that’s made from whole spices and is a part of Kashmiri Cuisine. For its cold climate, this tea is served hot and is made with a blend of saffron, whole spices, and almonds. You will indeed feel refreshed and rejuvenated the moment it touches your lips. It is also said to be rich in vitamin B12. Being a vegan, this has been one of the best teas I’ve tasted!
Where to buy – You will find Kahwa Chai anywhere across Srinagar. I would suggest you do not miss out on this one for sure!
Srinagar has been one of my dream destinations that I added to my bucket list. What I enjoyed the most was visiting these markets, meeting the artists, and knowing the culture behind each of them. It has been an amazing experience walking through the streets of Srinagar.
Want to know something specific about what to do in Srinagar? I would love to guide you!
Drop in the comment box below.