The Return Of Kanger

A kanger also known as kangri or kangid or kangir is an earthen pot woven around with wicker filled with hot embers used by Kashmiris beneath their traditional clothing pheran to keep the chill at bay which is also regarded as a work of art.

It is normally kept inside the Pheran, the Kashmiri cloak, or inside a blanket. It is mostly used in the cold nights of Chillai Kalan. If a person is wearing a jacket, it may be used as a hand warmer. It is about 6 inches (150 mm) in diameter and reaches a temperature of about 150 °F (66 °C). It comes in different variants, small ones for children and large ones for adults.

This year the climatic scenario changed altogether in Kashmir with western disturbances setting in earlier in the month of October which forced people use the Kangri a little earlier than expected.

From the beginning of November, one can see the delectable presence of kangris stacked up for sale in every market across Kashmir. The sale lasts until early spring. Depending on the design, each piece costs between Rs 150 and Rs 1,500. But the kangris, which are commonly used for warming, are mostly sold at an affordable price range of Rs 150 to Rs 250.

Even if there is a regular power supply, Kangri would still not lose its significance given its economic viability as compared to electric and gas heaters. Using kangri for heating doesn’t cost much. One can live without electricity and internet in Kashmir, but not without kangri.

Kangri has become a popular handicraft. Besides being used for heating purposes, it remains a durable article which is eco-friendly and cost-effective. Its colours, innovative designs and artwork attract tourists.

Not just anyone can make a kangri. It needs skill, labour and local craftsmanship. Twigs are collected from deciduous shrubs, scraped and peeled and go through a process of soaking, drying, dying and are finally woven around the bowl-shaped earthenware decorated with colorful thread.

With the increasing winter cold, modern heating equipment sales soar in markets and have started replacing our traditional kangri. The production of Kangris has declined over the years due to increase in availability of alternate heating equipments.

Although Kangris are made across the Kashmir Valley, artisans in some areas specialise in Kangri-making. The Kangris of Chrar Sharif and Bandipora are popular across the state.

News Desk

News Desk staff at The Kashmir Radar. Posting unbiased news as we believe in pure journalism!

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