Braving winter chill with Kangri
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Srinagar, Dec 11: Frequent power cuts and shortage of LPG in Kashmir has thrown a new lease of life to the 'Kangri', the traditional mobile heater for residents of the valley, as sales have doubled with the onset of this winter.
"We have sold almost double the quantity of Kangris this November compared to corresponding period last year," Ghulam Muhammad, a kangri seller at busy Batamaloo bus stand, said.
He said the business for Kangri sellers was getting back to the time of 1980s. "I think we are selling more kangris this year than we have ever sold," he added.
Besides being a portable means of heating, carried under the Pheran (traditional cloak used by Kashmiris during winter), Kangri used to be one of the cherished gifts given to a bride or groom.
A Kangri can cost anything between Rs 45 for low quality wicker to Rs 20,000 for the ones made of silver. Good quality wicker Kangris, generally made in Chrar-e-Sharief area of Central Kashmir Budgam district, can cost up to Rs 1,500.
Hundreds of people were earning their livelihood by making kangris.
The use of Kangri, a wicker basket fitted with clay pot for holding simmering charcoal, had, however, declined over the past decade with the introduction of gas heaters in the valley.
The power supply had also become dependable over the years and the residents took to using electric heating appliances to keep themselves warm during the winter months – when the temperature can drop as low as minus seven degrees.
Rising costs of electricity and LPG – the prices have increased by 20 to 35 per cent since last winter – have forced people to go back to the cheaper and traditional means of keeping themselves warm.
"I had bought a LPG heater in 2003 but our family has now switched back to using Kangri. We don't even get enough gas for cooking, forget about using it for heating purposes," Khursheed Ahmad, a resident of posh Peerbagh area in the city, said.
A businessman by profession, Ahmad said while he could afford to pay high cost of using electricity for heating purpose, the power supply is so erratic that it cannot be depended upon.
"The load shedding schedule is designed as such that one has to shiver in cold for two to three hours every evening. People want to get back to the warmth of their homes after a hard day out but generally we enter into darkness," he added.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 11 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 11 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 12 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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