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Pheran sales soar in Kashmir's chilly winter

Srinagar, Jan.13 : Clothing markets across Kashmir have been abuzz with the surge in sales of the traditional knee-length robe called "Pheran", which is treasured most during the bone chilling winters.


The demand for Pherans has increased with the biting cold tightening its grip across the valley.

Over the years, the Pheran has retained its charm among the locals as it scores over the modern winter costumes due to warmth and comfort to beat the chill.

"This is our tradition and this keeps us warm in winters. We can also keep kangri (is an earthen pot filled with hot embers used by Kashmiris beneath their traditional clothing ) which is a necessity for the Kashmiris. So whatever we are wearing on the top of it we need to wear the Pheran and nowadays we have a lot of varieties of Pheran," said a customer, Huma.

Pheran, is a traditional long robe worn by Kashmiris since ages. According to some historians, it dates back to the Mughal Period (1556-1605) whilst some say it derived its name from a Greek word, Apron and others say it originated from Central Asia,Tajikistan as Peraband.

Prominent Kashmiri poet Zarif had conceived its origin in Iran, a word from the Persian text, Perahan.

Pheran is tailored in different styles. Men wear plain long robes while women wear with embroidery on the border and neck.

The high status women wear a different style called the Quaraab Pheran.

A shop owner, Atta Mohammad, said on Monday (January 13) that pherans made of tweed, pattu and Raymond wool are selling like hot cakes in the market. While the Pheran used in homes is a bit loose to accommodate Kangri (earthen firepot) also. The traditional patterns in embroidery are paving way for newer designs and patterns.

"We keep kangri (earthen firepot) inside the Pheran and during winters mostly everyone is seen wearing a Pheran. This is also our tradition. This is an age-old tradition which is followed by everyone here. Even our forefathers used to wear the same. It is in huge demand and even we get customers from abroad," said Mohammad.

The Pheran has also cast its charm over the tourists visiting Kashmir who carry the dress along as an ideal souvenir.

Initially only wool was used to make Pheran but nowadays a wide range of cloth is used to tailor the ethnic attire, which include tweed, terricot, wool, raffel and velvet. A lining of soft thin cloth made of either cotton or linen called Poech is worn inside the Pheran.

People also carry traditional earthen pots with an encasement of wicker called Kangri and hot water bags in the pherans to keep themselves warm.

Pheran is an integral part of the cultural heritage of Kashmir, which looks decent and charming with its original style, however to make it look more eye-catching, embroidery is done with Tila, which is a silver or golden coated thread.

Pheran is not only loved and used in Kashmir, but is reaching fashion markets across the globe for its unique styles and hand embroideries, which reflect glimpses of Kashmir's cultural ethos.

--ANI (Posted on 13-01-2014)

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