Rummaging through the old photo albums at home, where you see grandma and mom dressed in the Kashmiri Pheran sans the Kashmiri attitude and style; you’d be looking at them and laughing your guts out. What were they thinking? Yes, as tourists and not belonging to the place, we aren’t really cut out for the Kashmiri fashion for sure and hence the madness of not looking the part. Today we would
like to share with you the five most quintessential items that only a true blooded Kashmiri can carry with élan and grace. And in no random order, here they are!
The Pheran is the Kashmiri dress worn by most Kashmiri women and is a prominent trousseau worn by a bevy of beauties from the hills and the mountains. The traditional attire encapsulates the spirit and nature of Kashmir in all its colours and embellishments. Made from Zari and Brocade, the Pheran has hem lines embossed with the finest embroidery and designs, and comes with plenty of pockets (hand-embroidered and stitched). Although you would find women in modern western wear these days, but while the autumn months hit the valley, most women ditch the Burgha and suits or western wear and stick to the Pheran for comfort and style.
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Bright and vibrant, the Taranga is a fashionable statement as a headdress and very native to the women of Kashmir, worn throughout the year. Call it a scarf with plenty of colours which has a suspended cap stitched to it and a narrowed down back, all the way to the feet, you’d find women mostly wearing embellished and embroidered Taranga’s at a Hindu wedding.
In addition to the myriad range of bangles, anklets and earrings, the Kashmiri women wear, the Dejharoos (pendants made of gold) also known as the Kashmiri panditanis ‘Mangal-sutra’ adorns the neck of many Hindu married Kashmiri women. The Dejharoos comprises two gold pendants in all its grandeur and decor, and suspends from silk and gold threads/chains. Symbolising a married Hindu Kashmiri woman’s status-quo, the Dejharoo is highly revered amongst the Hindu Kashmiri Panditanis.
Turbans and Headgear
Turbans are for the Muslim Kashmiri men, resembling skull caps that speak high of their status in society, when worn with the beautiful pashmina shawls. The Hindu Kashmiri men or the pundits of the valley too wear turbans, but lesser than the Muslim brethren around. There are hardly any noticeable differences these days, but the skull cap is worn only by the Muslim men and not the Hindus, who wear it on the lines of the well-known ‘Namdhari Sikh styles’
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Free from laces, the Gurgabis are traditionally unisex in style and worn best by the Kashmiris. They are very comfortable and are known to keep the feet warm and toasty when the degrees fall low. Apt for the unforgiving terrain around, every self-respecting Kashmiri has a pair of Gurgabis, with intricate Kashmiri embroidery designs, which when worn with western clothing, defeats its purpose of existence.
With the beautiful snow capped mountains on one side and the quaint call of the valley and the hills on the other, our beautiful Kashmiri friends with a warm and very loving heart know how to dress and impress. Maintaining their age-old traditional fashion and bringing to the world chic-vibrancy through fabrics and clothing, it is only a Kashmiri who can afford to pull off their native style statements, like no other can!