For many years Kashmiri men and women have worn the same style of dress. The Pheran and ‘Poots’ consist of two gowns, one on top of the other, falling to the feet in the case of a Hindu, worn up to the knees by a Muslim. Muslims wear the sleeves wide and open; Hindus wear them narrow with turned up ends.
Accessories Worn With Attires
The garments are made of cotton, wool or embroidered silk with the necks closed by a gaily-coloured string or jeweled button. A Pashmina belt goes around the waist. A Mughal type turban, sometimes 20 metres long, completes the costume for men. Most Muslims wear skullcaps, especially the farmers. The headdress of a Kashmiri woman is a brightly coloured scarf.
Traditional Ways To Deal With Winter’s Chill
The traditional way of coping with the bitter cold of a Kashmiri winter is with a “Kangri”. A Kangri is an earthenware bowl which filled in a wicker container, is carried in front by one under one’s enveloping ‘Pheran”. Red-hot coals from the potbelly stoves used in houses or houseboats are placed in the Kangri and one has personal, portable central heating! The Pheran channels the heat up to the neck. Kashmiri’s often squat to talk or smoke with the Kangri between their feet and the Pheran spread over it.
An equally vital part of a Kashmiri’s existence is the “Hookah” Pipe – they’re in every shop, in every Shikara. In winter, coals from the Kangri are used to light the pipe.