Architectural Traditions of Kashmir: Naranag Group of Temples, Wangath

The temple builders of Kashmir were way ahead of their contemporaries of the plains and peninsular India. The classical development of first millennium representing Buddhist-Hindu period is clearly classified into two stages of architectural movement in the Valley. The first was an early primitive form, which is mainly destroyed. This was followed by an era of building on such a grand scale that it may be defined as the classical period of their building art which was greatly supported and encouraged by King Lalitaditya (724-760A.D). His large resources and even-handed generosity to Hindus and Buddhists alike marked a new era of achievements in temple construction. Some of the monuments of this period are two Buddhist sites at Parihaspora, Panderethan, Martand, and temples at Naranag. This lasted from 700 A.D to the beginning of 14th century, after which the valley came under Islamic rule. This long period of seven centuries is itself resolved into two phases, during the earlier times of which the buildings were mainly Buddhist attributions, while as the latter ones were entirely Brahmanical. Bare foundations represent the first phase or Buddhist period.

Crafts of Kashmir: Willow Weaving

Willow craft of Kashmir has its roots in day-to-day life. Guided by the local requirements, the rural crafts persons moderated the natural raw materials in forms and shapes suited to the local demand. The abundance of profusely branched tree varieties became a source of rich raw material for products used in construction, hawking, carriage and household use. Settled farmers who needed containers to transport agricultural produce used baskets. While basketry has not attained the kind of sophistry as found in other crafts, the willow skills led to making of Kangri, the most ingenious of the products that provided great relief to common people from the harsh winters. The deftness and the attention to detail of the artisans led to stylization and sophistication of willow work creating kangris in varieties and designs suited to rich and poor. As in many other crafts, a wide product range like baskets, storage boxes, and other household items was evolved in which all members of the family are engaged. While men gather, strip and soak willow, the women dye the strips in bright colors. This skill base caught the imagination of European visitors in Kashmir in the early 20th century. They introduced English willow plantation in marshy lands of Kashmir. With a new, more attractive raw material, a new product range suited to European tastes and uses evolved in and around Srinagar. Thus willow wicker furniture, lamps shades, picnic boxes and similar other became part of the willow product range. For all cottage and rural arts to survive, there is an urgent need for appropriate interventions. These include documenting the stages of production which can lead to standardization and product development. The markets are evolving and an information base is critical to the survival of the cottage and rural skills. This monograph is aimed at meeting this requirement. It documents the history of this craft, the raw materials, the skills and the products. We hope and expect that it will open up new vistas for this age-old industry thereby sustaining the craft traditions and securing livelihood of a vast number of artisans.



INTACH Kashmir Chapter 2nd floor, EDI Office building, Press Enclave, Regal chowk,

Srinagar 190001 (J&K) INDIA

© 2017 INTACH J&K CHAPTER. All rights reserved | Design And Developed by Logichub Software Solutions