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Indian Subcontinent >> India >> Jammu & Kashmir >> Shopping in Jammu & Kashmir

Shopping in Jammu & Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is a treasure house of traditional handicrafts, unlike any found in the rest of the country. Hence shopping in Jammu and Kashmir is all about choosing from hand knotted woollen and silk carpets in the Persian tradition famed for their highly intricate decorations and patterns with strong Islamic overtones. Less expensive but very unusual and attractive are the chain-stitch rugs called “namdas” from Srinagar. Another craft that is perfect as souvenirs is pâpier-mâché items such as boxes, bells, vases, samovars, houseboat models, all beautifully hand painted to evoke memories of Kashmir.

The crafts repertoire of Kashmir also contains soft, woollen shawls that are exquisitely embroidered, cashmere and Pashmina scarves, stoles, and sweaters. Kashmir is the only state in India where walnut trees grow and local craftsmen carve detailed intricate patterns inspired by the rich flora of the region, particularly the state emblem - the chinar or maple leaf onto screens, bowls, chests of drawers, bars, sofas, couches and tables.

Silver jewellery, embroidered fabrics, over-dresses called ‘phirans’, crewelwork furnishings, leather jackets, tweeds and woollen garments – the list on what to buy in Jammu and Kashmir is almost endless. Fortunately, all these goodies are available in plenty across the state in shops that primarily cater to outstation visitors. So do haggle a bit, and you’re sure to pick up some wonderful bargains.

Shops in Leh offer really beautiful turquoise and coral jewellery, silver and copper ware in Tibetan styles, religious artefacts like prayer wheels, statues of figures from Buddhist mythology, antique and contemporary ‘Tangkhas’ or traditional Buddhist cloth paintings and reasonably priced woollen shawls and sweaters.

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