By Shamshad Ali
New Delhi, Jan 14: Have you ever imagined carrying red-hot charcoal filled in an earthen pot inside your dress? It sounds dangerous, but Kashmiris do it to kill the chill.
As Kashmir freezes in bone-chilling temperatures, woollen and thermal wear are not enough to cope. ‘Kangri’, commonly called kanger in Kashmir, is a traditional earthen pot in a woven wicker basket and filled with red-hot charcoal.
Kashmiris carry it inside the ‘pheran’, a traditional long flowing tweed over-garment, to keep the freezing winter away.
As most of rural Kashmir is devoid of electricity, locals use the kangri daily as it doesn’t disappoint them like electricity does.
“At present, the majority of people in the Valley use kangris to keep warm. With its potability we can take it anywhere,” Muhammad added.
Everybody cannot make a kangri. It needs skill, dexterity and craftsmanship.
“We collect twigs from deciduous shrubs, scratch and peel them. After peeling, it goes through the process of soaking, drying, and then dyeing”, kangri-maker Abdul Rashid told IANS.
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“Dried and dressed twigs are woven around a bowl-shaped earthen pot decorated with colourful threads to make the kangri beautiful,” he added.