With newer designs, ‘Pheran’, the traditional knee-length robe that is part of the unique identity of Kashmiri culture continues to be in great demand, especially during bone-chilling winters.
Despite the availability of many modern and stylish clothes in the market, these pherans are most in demand during the 40 day period ‘Chillai Kalan’, which is known to be the coldest period of Kashmir winter.
Kashmiris have been using woolen fabric to stitch up pherans but newer designs using Chinese and Korean fabrics are available in local markets especially in Srinagar.
These traditional gowns worn by people across all age groups and gender facilities use of ‘Kangri’, a traditional portable earthen fire pot, for warmth.
Some tailors are famed for their designs and during winters they say they are flooded with orders.
To meet customers demand, shopkeepers maintain a good stock of readymade pherans in a variety of possible designs and colours.
Simple pherans stitched by tailors are not as costly as those styled with the latest designs and using different fabrics.
“Pherans are costly but to protect themselves from severe cold, customers purchase this traditional dress in large numbers. As a result of which shopkeepers and cloth merchants are doing good business. Kashmir is known as ‘paradise on earth’ not merely because of its mesmerising beauty but also due to its thousand-year-old rich culture and traditions. Many traditional things continue to live on in the 21st century and pheran is one of them” Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a historian and cultural expert told ANI.
Typically Kashmiri pherans are worn for five to six months from November to March to stay warm.
“This year Kashmir valley including Srinagar received very heavy snowfall and due to the severe cold, people are using pherans on a large scale. So we are witnessing good sales these days with huge demand for latest designs and varieties”, a shopkeeper said.