From the amusing trinket to a collector's item, you'll find it all in Srinagar. Row upon row of shops filled with handicrafts line the streets. The array is awesome. There are objects to suit every pocket, for the variety within each craft is wide.
While top-of-the-line products cater to the discerning, some handicrafts cater to the buyers with a modest budget. To the uninitiated, the difference between two shawls may be negligible and hardly worth the enormous disparity in price. However, the dealer knows exactly what he has in his showroom, knows how much skill, labour and material has gone into its fabrication, and so accordingly structures the price.
Kashmiri handicrafts are prized everywhere for their exquisite craftsmanship. Kashmir carpets, in both wool and silk with their Persian design, are a lifetime investment and the shoppers’ selection range from the simple to the most extraordinarily intricate patterns handed down the generations.
Then there are papier-mâché items ranging from jewellery boxes to mirror frames, a range of intricately carved walnut wood furniture and accessories, stone jewellery boxes, beautiful woollen shawls, crewel embroidery on furnishing material sold by the meter and more.
There are three fibres from which Kashmiri shawls are made-wool, pashmina and shahtoosh.
A carpet may well be the most expensive purchase from your trip to Kashmir but it is a lifelong investment.
Kashmir is the only part of India where the walnut tree grows.
Kashmir has a wide range of varities in silk textile designs. 'Chinon' and 'Crepe de chine' are some of the fine qualities produced from the silk yarn.
Copper & Silverware
The old city abounds with shops where objects of copper line the walls, the floor and even the ceiling, made generally for the local market.
At first glance, all papièr mâchè objects look roughly the same, but there is a price differential which depends on the quality of the product.
Willow rushes that grow plentifully in marshes and lakes in Kashmir are used to make charmingly quaint objects.
Dry fruits like walnuts, almonds and spices like saffron, shah zira and honey are some of the specialties of Srinagar.