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Kashmir is very famous tourist place to visit because of its natural beauty. Apart from beauty, there are too many things which make Kashmir so famous. Among them the most important one is the cashmere clothes. The costumes of the people in Kashmir are according to the weather conditions. The weather is mostly very cool and chilly, so the people wear the costumes to counter the cold climate of the region. The fabric used in Kashmiri traditional costumes are mainly cotton, silk and wool and the dresses are designed with intricate embroideries.
Kashmir clothes are famous all over the world. There are different clothes like Ponchos, Kurtis, Taranga, Kasaba, Abaya, Kaftans, Pherans, Salwar Suits, Sarees, Shawls, Scarfs etc for women and Pheran, Pathani Suits, Kurta Pyjamas, headgears, Turban, Hats, Shawls, Scarfs etc. for men. Among them Pheran is the most famous dress for men and women off Kashmir. The designs, embroideries and colors on these items are very eye catchy; mainly the embroideries on shawls are done by hands. This hand embroidery is done very neatly and perfectly that one cannot distinguish the machine embroidery and hand embroidery.
Kashmiri art is very popular all over the world. The cloths, shawls, carpets, wood work, silverware and silk are attractive and elegant with skilled craftsmanship and amazing finery. The clothing of Kashmir is famous for their embroidery and tempting designs, which reflects the hard workmanship of artisans and richness of the culture and their natural environment.
In Kashmir the local word used for embroidery is ‘Kashida’. It is known for their skilled execution. In Kashmir, colorful embroidery is found on all kinds of apparel and fabric. Some of main embroidery types are: Kashmiri Aari work: It is done through the aari or hooked needle. There are two variationd of this technique. In one embroidery is done on thin fabrics such as silk, georgette and fine cotton cloth. In another one embroidery is done on pheran, kurtas and capes.
Kashmiri Crewel embroidery: This is done using a pointed crochet (locally called "Aari"). It is although similar to Aari Work but it uses a thicker aari therefore its stitches are bolder. It is used for embroidery work on cotton, organza, wool, silk, velvet, linen and jute ground fabrics suitable for making drapes and upholsteries. These fabrics also find use in making pillows, throws and bedding. Crewel embroidery uses woolen or art-silk thread for embroidery. On apparels like sarees, kurtis, salwar kameez, jackets, shawls, etc., finer form of crewel embroidery using cotton thread rather than wool is done.
Kashmiri Sozni embroidery or Needle work or satin stitch: This is done using a thin needle (locally called “sozni”) for intricate and accurate art. It is worked on Pashmina shawls, woolen shawls, jackets, salwar kameez and sarees. Work done on pashminas is finer as compared to other fabrics (cotton, silk and wool). This stitch is used when uniformity is desired on both sides of the cloth.
Kashmiri Silver and gold embroidery or Tilla Work: It is done using imitation gold and silver thread which is delicately tied over the fabric to create exquisite designs. This type of embroidery work is found on ladies pherans, salwar kameez and shawls.
Kashmiri Rezkar Embroidery: It is needle embroidery which is similar to sozni. The main difference is its longer stitches which are not reinforced with additional stitches. The fabric used for this ranges from raffal to cotton cloth.
Kashmiri Zalakdozi Embroidery or chain stitch: It is done with a hook, which is found on cloaks and rugs with long, flowing designs.
Other Kashmiri Stitches: Other stitches includes the slanted darn stitch, the stem stitch, the herringbone stitch, the doori (knot) stitches and vata chikan (button hole stitch).
Kashmiri motifs and patterns are inspired from the nature. The motifs mainly used in Kashmiri handicrafts are floral motifs of Pamposh (lotus), Sosan (Iris), Dachh (vine), Sumbal and Yambarzal (hyacinth and narcissus), Dainposh (pomegranate). Abstract forms of birds and animals are also seen in the recent designs. Parrot, canary, Lions, rabbits, wild cats, deers, horses, bulbuls, partridges, herons, ducks etc are most represented. Apart from them trees like chinar tree, chinar leaves and fruits and dry fruits like grapes, mangoes, plums, almonds, are also found in motifs. Even if requested by the clients, then human figures are also appeaed like a motifs, especially in themes like the ‘Shikargah‘ (hunting ground) or the ‘Jangal-tarah‘ (jungle scenes).
Do-rookha, shaaldaar, chinar-kaam, and samovar are a very typical and popular design used in Kashmiri embroidery. Samovar design is the antique Kashimiri tea-pot design where after that it is filled up with intricate flowers and leaves. Apart from clothes, it's found on home furnishings like bed spreads, cushions, sofa covers, and pillow covers. In Do-rookha design, motif appears on both sides of the shawl with each side having a different color.
Other designs include Kashir-jaal, naala-jaal, jaama, neem-jaama and neem-jaal. Kashir-jaal is a fine network of embroidery, mainly on the neckline and sleeves of a dress material. Naala jaal, embroidery is mainly on the neckline and chest. Naala means neck in the Kashmiri language. Jaama is a very dense embroidery covering the whole base fabric with a thick spread of creepers and flowers, badam and heart shapes. Neem-jaama, where neem means demi or half, because the embroidery is less dense, allowing a view of the fabric underneath; and jaal consisting of bel-buti: a fine and sparse net of creepers and flowers. It is a variation of Jaama design. Neem-jaal is a variation of neem-jaama design, where again the work is less dense.
Salwar Kameez occupies a special place in the wardrobe of woman’s of all age group with which she can work as well as flaunt her feminine instincts to look beautiful. Kashmiri salwar kameez should be the most alluring among all. Kashmiri salwar kameez has elegant embroidery on neck and all over its body. Aari embroidery is very prevalent in this salwar kameez types. Kashmiri Salwar Kameez is very much inspired by the nature and has intricately woven handmade embroidered motifs of cashmere chinar trees and leaves. Kashmiri salwar kameez is available on woolen, cotton and silk fabric but some are also in georgette fabric. They are mainly woven in Jamawar designs with floral and creeper patterns. They are very popular and in good demand in north Indian states and Pakistan. These salwar suits may or may not have collars. The woolen salwar suits are suitable for the cold climate that mainly used in Kashmir and north India. Designer suits, party wear suits and festive wear suits are also available in Kashmiri style.
The stunning designs and embroideries Kashmiri dresses are further enhanced by the use of various accessories. Kashmiri Salwar kameez should be styled with silver jewelry that is in typical Kashmiri style. Earrings, anklets and bangles are the common ones. Special pieces of jewellery symbolize the married status of women among the Kashmiri Pandits. In jewellery, the Kamarbands and Pashmina belt are common accessories too for men. Also, wearing high heeled footwear like platform heel makes the look of garment more elegant.
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