The most important handicraft in Kashmir is shawl weaving, which dates back to the 14th century, when the renowned Sufi saint Shah-e-Hamadan visited Kashmir. However, in Kashmir, King Zain ul Abidin, often known as Budshah, turned shawl weaving into a cottage business.
Pashm literally means "wool," while the English term "shawl" comes from the Persian word "shal," which means "woven cloth." The basic single color Pashmina and the Kaani shawl, woven on little hardwood polished bobbins with varied threads within the shawl's weave, are the only two forms of this handwoven fabric. The plain ones, known as 'Sozni,' are either coloured or embroidered to make them lovely and exquisite.
These shawls are so well-known that royals prefer to give them as gifts to their friends and relatives. Nonetheless, other artisans recall Nepolean, the French king from the 18th century, as the most ardent supporter of these shawls. He had given his wife Josephine a Kashmiri shawl, which catapulted this art form to international prominence. She was afterwards said to have amassed a collection of 400 Kashmiri shawls. This French first lady was a breath of fresh air for Europe's fashion industry, ushering in a new craze for Pashmina shawls in France and across the continent.
Kashmiri Pashmina and Kaani Shawls in Srinagar are available at:
Government Arts Emporium
Address: Near post office, Lal Chowk.
GM Shah's store
Locals and tourists frequent GM Shah's store located in Polo View for special hand embroidery on wool, cotton, silk, and even prints and net.
Address: Polo View, MA Road, Lal Chowk.
Web : https://www.facebook.com/gmshahpoloview/
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Eidgah, a neighborhood in Srinagar's downtown center, is known for its pashmina artists. Pashmina shawls with intricate embroidery can be found here. Each product is made with great care and attention to detail, as evidenced by the high quality of the work. Wani and his sons are well-known.