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Showing posts from May, 2012

Hey Oh, Kashmir and all that.

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The Kashmir skyline looks too beautiful to be natural. So much, that it’s eerie. It’s like one of those default wallpapers you get with your operating system. The green expansive meadows; clumps of conifers scattered hither and thither; the occasional spring of icy cold water cutting its course through the greenery, and providing the only bit of dynamism to the otherwise ever-static scenery. And of course, the lofty snow capped peaks yonder.
The Kashmir skyline is exactly like that. It’s as if God spent a good couple of hours tweaking this bit of earth with Photoshop before He declared it done. And my, does it show.  One look at those snow capped peaks is much like a Mike Tyson undercut into your belly. It literally takes your breath away.

Living in a subtropical region all my life, I have had very few experiences with snow and snow capped mountains. The earliest was in Darjeeling, back in 1992, when I was but an 18 month old little organism, trying hard to keep my eyes open, and even h…

Saffron land!

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Kashmir is known for several reasons. The "Switzerland of India" as many people call it; the rare Pashmina wool; the Dal lake. Also, the the incessant borderline dispute between India and Pakistan. There are however certain other things about this beautiful state that not many people are aware of. One is its cuisine, and the other is its spice. Overlapping as these two things might seem to be, this post is particularly about the latter.
The main spice that is grown in Kashmir is the saffron. There are several extremely interesting properties about this spice that are worthy of mention. One is its cultivation, the details of which follow :
Saffron is essentially the dried stigma of the flowers of the saffron crocus (scientific name Crocus sativus). The sativus is a small plant that grows to maximum height of 30 cm and bears up to four flowers. The plant flowers for a very short period every autumn - say for a couple of weeks only, when the cultivation is done quickly. That i…