Kupwara: Over the past thirty years, Abdul Rashid Ganie from the Handwara hamlet of Dai, Neelipora, has been practising the art of Kangri making, setting a good example for others to follow in maintaining the trade and heritage.
Abdul Rashid described Kangri creation as a rare craft that requires patience as he sat in a separate room in his home and wrapped twigs around an earthen pot (locally known as a Kundal).
“I typically spend more than twelve hours in Kangri making during the winter months when the demand for Kangris grows. In a single day, I produce three to four kangris, which earns me more than enough money to support my family,” Abdul Rashid told Greater Kashmir.
Rashid, who is in his mid-fifties, claimed that the springtime harvesting of twigs from adjacent forests is the first step in the process of manufacturing Kangri.
“The twigs of Parrotiopsis Jacquemontiana (locally known as ‘Poshu Kain’ happens to be the best and most durable. The firepots made of Parrotiopsis Jacquemontiana twigs are known for the best quality and last for years as compared to those prepared from willow twigs.”
“After the collection of twigs, they are cleaned and later dried up in the open sky. The twigs are soaked for a night before artisans use them for Kangri making,” he added.
Rashid makes it sure that the Kangris he makes, should serve the purpose and for that he never compromises with the quality. He said that the price of Kangris varies according to the effort and material used. “Each piece costs between Rs 300 to Rs 1,500”.
Rashid also receives orders from people to make special Kangris. “People come to me with different orders, mostly I receive orders for bridal Kangris which range up to Rs 3000,” he said.
He describes Kangri making as a rare craft that is, unfortunately, losing its artists as a result of the modern lifestyle. “Even the potters who make the pottery required for making Kangris are also getting affected with people adopting new lifestyles and shunning the use of Kangris,” he said.
“Authorities should come up with some financial schemes for the Kangri-making artisans so that they will not be forced to look for other means of livelihood, even the youth can also get motivated to learn the craft,” Rashid added.