Igloo gets a Kashmir touch

Kehwa Somavar, Isband Soz and sheep hides greet visitors
Igloo gets a Kashmir touch

When Syed Waseem Shah, an hotelier from Nishat here, made an igloo at Gulmarg he wanted people to experience something "new and unique".

Igloo is something foreign to this land. So to give it a local tinge, Waseem put Samovar, the traditional Kashmiri kettle inside the igloo.

He also placed chairs covered by sheep hides inside the igloo.

"I wanted people to feel the touch of the tradition while experiencing something new," he says.

Being a frequent traveller abroad, Waseem says his heart is connected with Kashmir and his igloo would have been incomplete without a 'Kashmiri touch'.

Waseem says that it took his team 15 days to build the igloo which they named the 'Igloo Restaurant'.

"Constructing an igloo of such a big size wasn't possible without manpower. I engaged 15 labourers, guided them along with two other members of my team," Waseem says.

Waseem had made an igloo at his home in Srinagar also.

"But the snow in Gulmarg is much drier and it took me two days to come up with a solution of adding water to the snow. It increased the saturation of water in snow and made it more icy and durable," he says.

According to Waseem, his igloo can accommodate 16 persons with butlers serving each of them freely.

"I have put four tables inside it and each of them can host four persons," Waseem says. "The space between them is enough for us to serve the guests."

He says that his igloo would last till the end of February as the prevailing weather conditions were favourable for it.

"We leave the doors open at night. So, in the morning it is in a more frozen and durable state. This way, serving hot meals and drinks won't affect the snow-tables and benches," Waseem says.

These days, he is getting more queries from Kashmiris compared to outsiders.

"There is a good flow of people here, but Kashmiris are more excited and jubilant to enter and experience a 'Kahwe Kuppa' here," he says about the famous Kashmiri saffron tea, Kehwa.

The menu served is also named 'Igloo Menu' and contains mostly dry dishes like Biryani and Chicken Tikka.

"We usually serve Kashmiri drinks, coffee and dry food as it takes less time in preparation. This way, other people who have bookings don't have to wait too long," he says.

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