In the whole world, there
are only two or three places where saffron grows. Kashmir is one of these
places. There are two locations in Kashmir where saffron grows.
About nine miles from
Srinagar, there is a place called Pampur. Near Pampur on the banks of the
Vitasta (Jehlum) there is a village called Vih. Behind it there are small
mountains. It is here, in Vih, that saffron grows. However, the saffron
trade takes place in Pampur. In addition to Pampur, there is also a place
in Kishtwar where saffron grows.
Saffron plants are about
three inches high. They have very attractive light purple flowers. The
dried stigmas of these flowers become saffron. It is very difficult to
take care of a saffron field.
Saffron flowers look very
attractive in the fields. Laborers sing while working in these fields. On
moonlit nights (in ),
people visit Pampur to enjoy (the beauty of) the saffron fields.
Saffron does not only add
to the ch.mp3 of Kashmir, but is also monetarily profitable. Each year
about sixty maunds of saffron are grown in Pampur. This brings an income
to Kashmir which runs into lakhs of rupees. Perhaps that is why the
Kashmiris call saffron fields 'baskets of gold'.
There are several uses
for saffron inside and outside Kashmir. The Kashmiri Pandits and many
other Hindus put a caste mark of saffron on their foreheads. The
Kashmiri Panditanis also have a saffron caste mark. However, the main use
of saffron is for cooking meat and pilav. Some people also use it for
and halva ().
Saffron adds color and fragrance. That is why people who enjoy good food