Kangri–The Kashmiri Way to Keep Warm

The beauty of Pakistani culture is its diversity. Baluchistan, Sindh, Punjab, Khyber PakhtoonKhwa and Kashmir; each area boasts of its own traditions that merge together to form the Pakistani culture.

So, let us introduce you to Kangri–the Kashmiri way to keep one self warm. Winters in Kashmir are long and severe. In winter, there is snow every where. The mountainous area has always made it difficult to lay down the gas pipelines, but the Kashmiris have their own centuries old way to cope up with that. Kangri is what they keep themselves warm with.

Kangri or Kangir is a sort of personal heater. It has two parts. The outer part is a sort of a basket made of strong straw or wicker. This basket has a handle to carry it. Along the handle straw chain go downwards.There is a flat long tong like device used to turn over the coals from time to time. This device is hung by the  chains of the Kangri.The inner part is a sort of earthen bowl which is called Kondul. The coal is heated and when turns red is shifted in the kondul of  Kangri. In Kashmir, coal they use for heating is usually made of wood. The average sized kondul contains about half Kg of coal. The decoration of the Kangri tells about the economic status of the bearer. The richer the person is, the more decorative, expensive looking Kangri; sometimes silver chains hang from the handle. However common people carry the wicker Kangri with straw chains dangling from it.

Kashmiri people wear a special very loose shirt over their clothes which is called Phairun. When feeling cold a person puts the Kangri inside phairun or a blanket to keep himself warm. Some people keep kangris in their beds as well, though they have to be extremely careful. In Kashmir,every one has a Kangri of his own. The newly wed brides have special decorated and colorful ones known as the Mahar’ni Kangir, which roughly translates to the princess’ kangri.  The kids have kangris which are comparatively smaller in size and are known as Sur’ Kangir.