Autumn In Kashmir
Every season is a blessing and tells a different story of it’s land, culture and food, either its Autumn, spring, summer or winter, every season is crucial because it affects people’s lives, their clothing, their diet, everything.
And when we talk about Kashmir, One cannot forget the king of seasons in Kashmir, the golden season of Kashmir that paints the valley in the shades of Chinar’s fallen leaves. The season of autumn, also known as HARUD in Kashmiri language, the season when green turns to Gold and then to russet and red.
Autumn-which sets in from mid-September to mid-November in Kashmir. Autumn covers this paradise on earth into hues of gold, yellow and orange with the shedding of chinar leaves.
The Majestic Chinar
The CHINAR scientifically called-PLATANUS ORIENTALIS is a gigantic sized tree that grows as tall as 25 meters and is largely found in Kashmir.
The shedding of chinar leaves, known as BUEN locally, marks the beginning of autumn and the two marvelous attractions of autumn in Kashmir, that are
1) The flowering of saffron and
2) The reddening of chinar leaves.
While walking down the street, the rustling of fallen chinar leaves creates a magical sound that one cannot forget easily.
The fallen leaves and branches then disintegrate and turn into a part of the soil, which represents the philosophical side of autumn, the beautiful cycle of loss, regeneration and regrowth.
The misty mornings, pleasant and cooler nights, gardens and roads filled with the rustling sound of the fallen leaves of the almighty Chinar, makes this paradise more enchanting and beautiful.
Though spring comes as the blossom of charm, the autumn comes as an essence of charm that no one can ignore.
“NO SPRING NOR SUMMER BEAUTY HATH SUCH GRACE AS I HAVE SEEN IN ONE AUTUMNAL FACE”
With the beginning of autumn, the markets of valley started filling with the HOKH SYUEN (dried foods) that have been sun dried in the summer, the popular ones are RUNWANGAN HACHHE (tomatoes), AL HACHHE (bottle gourd), WANGAN HACHHE (brinjal), GOGJAAR (turnip), HOGAAD (dried fish) and many more dried delicacies.
And the specialty of autumn, pride of Kashmir, the most expensive spice in the world-saffron, In the country side, farmers and their entire family works on the fields and hand picks the small purple saffron flowers, (fun fact alert) surprisingly!! 100 kilograms of saffron flowers yield about 3 kilograms of saffron.
Autumn is also the perfect season to sit together in the evening with family or friends over a hot cup of “Kehwa“, a famous beverage made with the mixture of cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper.
With temperature getting cooler, Autumn brings an alarm also and keeps Kashmiri people busy in preparing for the winter which is not very far. People gear up to stay warm and cozy, and nothing works better than the “PHIRAN“- a long loose cloak worn over the clothes, men and women prefer different styles of phiran, in different fabric. Phiran has withstood the modern times, the traditional attire remains same but with the trending patterns.
During autumn, people collect the fallen leaves of Chinar to burn them in pile to make coal for their (Kangri) traditional firepot. Kangri is the winter’s heating pot that keeps the user warm. Every home in Kashmir has at least 5-8 kangris, each one assigned to each member of the family.
With the end of November/Autumn, people starts preparing for the winter, heavy curtains replace the lighter summer ones, floorings gets an additional layer of woolen carpets and the colorful handmade rugs known as “NAMDAS“
Autumn In Kashmir
During Autumn In Kashmir, tourists love visiting the apple orchards, where they adore helping the farmers with apple picking efforts.
The other mention worthy and beautiful sites to experience the full glory of Autumn in Kashmir include The University campus, uphill drive to Chashma Shahi and the hilly road to the shrine in Brein and some major tourist attractions of Srinagar are Dal lake, Rajbagh and Nehru park. And a visit to Dachigam National Park is recommended to see the peak of environmental beauty with its wildlife, The wildlife Park hosts Black bears and snow leopards.
The Valley of Kashmir, a paradise solely made for humans on earth, the finest example of nature’s aesthetics on its peak, when it wears autumn’s golden crown, one can feel the breeze filled with smell of chinar leaves and the sound of crunch of those dead leaves under their steps, steps taken on roads and gardens covered with the yellow and orange shades of autumn’s golden crown that is shining brightly as sun rays passes through the majestic chinar trees, trees who are gloriously shedding their leaves to illuminate this crown on the head of the paradise on earth.
Fall creates bare and vulnerable branches and nature starts preparing for winter, end of autumn reminds us that every living organism has to fade one day after reaching it’s destination.
And the end of one season, declares the entry of the other one, Autumn‘s end is winter’s beginning, Winter- the season of white, season that paints the valley in white with snow and cold that sends shivering chills down your spine.
And what Autumn does, it prepares both nature and people for the upcoming winters, it gives them those shades of yellow that will motivate them to enjoy and survive the shades of white.
Autumn In Kashmir
Every season has its own importance and what autumn gives to us is these memories of days that are not too hot or cold, that misty weather that keeps you calm after the scorching heat of summer days, weather in autumn gives hope and adorable memories and in Kashmir, it gives memories that are filled with shades of fallen chinar leaves, that paints the canvas of valley into hues of reds and Orange before it turns into snow white.
And as autumn starts progressing towards its end, The brown mountains, before turning completely snow white, enhance the beauty of Kashmir, and Roses that grow throughout the spring to die with the autumn’s end, reminds us of the beautiful cycle of seasons as well as one’s life.
And as the Autumn dies, the season of romance, the most poetic season, the season of philosophy that actually makes us think about the beginnings and endings, it also gives us a hope, a hope that says that it will come again, after the snow and then after the sun, the misty, golden, and the season of almighty Chinar’s glory at it’s peak will surely come again to make you thankful for the memories it gave you in the past and for the memories that you are gonna make with it in the future.
Featured Image Credits : Zaheen Guna
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