Besides snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes and heavenly meadows, Kashmir, as an exotic tourist destination, has a lot to offer travelers to take home as treasured souvenirs and treasured possessions. Kashmir offers the best of the best artisans and craftspeople, who you can find sitting in every nook and cranny, selling high-end handcrafted goods, which they often design and create themselves.
You can support these creative and skillful artisans and craftspeople by purchasing authentic locally made products and souvenirs directly from them, which you could keep to cherish forever, or gift loved ones with keepsakes you will remember.
To make the shopping experience for all arts and crafts lovers more enjoyable and rewarding, here are the ten things you can buy in Kashmir:
Worn by kings and queens around the world, Kashmir pashmina is world famous for its distinct quality and popular appeal. Made from pure Changthangi goat wool, these shawls are a bit pricey, but for their sheer elegance, they are a must-have item for shopping in Kashmir.
Dyers use organic dyes to hand-dye their yarn, which is first prepared on a spinning wheel. Then this yarn is woven on a loom to create the embroidered shawl, with intricate patterns and colorful designs made with needles of different sizes.
Pashmina shawls are known for their softness and warmth, and they last for decades and centuries, often passed down from generation to generation. The Shahtoosh shawl is the most expensive type of pashmina, and it is often a one-time purchase, which makes the buyer feel like a king for the rest of their life. There is hardly anyone who visits Kashmir and does not buy a Pashmina shawl.
Kashmir rugs are also famous, considered one of the best oriental rugs in the world. People all over the world want a carpet made in Kashmir. Kashmir rugs are not only known for their beautiful patterns and designs, but they are also considered to be some of the best quality products.
These oriental rugs are hand-knotted and are a popular choice for their stunning patterns and colors. These handmade rugs add a certain charm to a home’s decor, and people enthusiastically buy them whenever they are in Kashmir.
The art of carpet making came to Kashmir in the 15th century, when artisans from Persia came to proselytize. The best rugs are woven either with pure wool or entirely of silk and do not contain a blend of wool and silk, as is common practice in poor quality rugs.
Paper mache artifacts
Introduced by Persian artists to Kashmir as well, handicrafts are a very popular choice for buying and investing. Paper mache is a delicate decorative art, with intricate hand-painted patterns and design. The paper pulp is molded into objects of different shapes and sizes, such as boxes, flower vases, sets of coasters, and other decorative items, then these items are dried, painted and varnished to create the most beautiful and attractive artifacts.
The most interesting part is that the colors used for ‘Naqashi’ or the design on the Papier-Mache products are organic or plant-based. Highly appreciated and admired as great keepsakes that you can give to your family and friends. The wide range of papier-mÃ¢chÃ© products are available in all gift shops, from downtown Jamia-Masjid to the inland shores of Dal Lake.
Kashmir’s âMogra Creamâ is considered the best saffron in the world. The city of Pampore is popular for the production and planting of saffron. Saffron is the stigma of the fall-flowering crocus. These stigmas are worth thousands and therefore are one of the most expensive spices in the world. Saffron, considered the harvest of gold, gives a unique X factor to Kashmir cuisine.
From Wazwan to Kehwa, saffron is present in everything, good and pure in Kashmir. Although adulteration is a major setback affecting saffron, you can find genuine saffron with a dark red color and perfect long strands around Rs 250 per 1g in Srinagar and Pampore.
Kashmir offers a wide range of dried fruits of which almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and figs are the most popular. Anyone who enjoys dried fruits can visit local stores and purchase the best and most delicious nuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and figs.
Kashmiri dried fruits are known for their superior taste and are very popular with consumers, widely used on many occasions. Almonds and walnuts contain healthy fats, minerals, vitamins, calcium, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and other beneficial elements that have many health benefits.
All the commercial markets in Kashmir have plenty of authentic and moderately priced dried fruits of all kinds, which you can take home to enjoy their crisp, crunchy taste.
Kashmiri willow bats
Kashmir willow bats can take your love of cricket to another level. Lightweight, durable and beautifully designed, Kashmir willow bats are considered the best on the subcontinent. The Kashmir willow bat is part of the kit of every great cricketer, as many players have even entered international tournaments with the bats made in Kashmir. Affordable premium Kashmir willow cricket bats are available everywhere on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
Carved wooden objects
Objects carved in wood make great Kashmir interior decoration items. Using native tools, wood carving is carried out by highly skilled craftsmen, who fashion many objects such as shikaras, toys, trays, tables, bowls, furniture, photo frames and key rings.
The detailed patterns on wood make these artefacts the epitome of Kashmir nature, and tourists passionately buy them to keep at home as exotic old Kashmiri souvenirs. Carved walnut wood products are a must buy in Kashmir and an interesting and impressive addition to your shopping list. The wood craft shops at Jamia Masjid, Dal-lake and Kashmir Haat offer a very wide range of carved beauties.
Sculpted metal objects
Similar to objects carved from wood, carved metal objects are a great buy in Kashmir. Naqashi jewelry, decorative silverware, and brass and copper crafts are made by talented locals, who create intricate patterns and interesting shapes.
Pooja items, small utensils, and display items such as vases, silver tea sets, and decorative cigarette cases are popular and widely purchased in Kashmir. Traditional jewelry worn by Kashmiri women is popular and it is something you must buy while on vacation.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the famous shopping items that you should buy as a souvenir of your trip, at least try to buy some of this unique piece of art from the streets of Kashmir, as it not only adds value to your life, but it also promotes and supports these skilled local artisans and craftspeople. Maharaj Gunj in Srinagar is one of the best places to get metal carved items in Kashmir.
Kashmiri peppers are known around the world for their bright red hue and very edible sweet heat. Kashmiri chili is a staple in Indian cuisine. Kashmiri peppers give food a good color and at the same time are not as biting as other peppers in the world. Dried Kashmiri peppers are available year round and can be brought in from any town in the valley.
While packing for home, if you think that you might miss the taste of the delicious Kehwa that you used to taste during your stay in Kashmir, you can add Kehwa blend to your shopping list. Since making an authentic Kehwa can be difficult, many brands in Kashmir have come up with canned Kehwa ingredients that you can add to boiling water at home and enjoy the graceful Kehwa. This can be obtained from any store in all major locations in Kashmir.