Saffron or Kong e Posh


Amongst the many delights of Kashmir, saffron holds a sacred place. In a fast growing world where traditions and cultures are fading into each other, few anchors deeply engraved in our culture, tradition and history grant us an identity of our own. Known as Zafrān in Urdu (der. Persian) and Kongpôsh in Kashmiri, it is the most expensive spice in the world thus named Kashmir’s yellow gold. Myths and folklore surround the establishment of saffron, with tales of Mughal kings introducing it into court and cuisine. Though originated in Greece, it traveled sea and land, becoming commonplace in royal kitchens, slowly spreading to the local populace, from Kehwa to Kulcha, Phirni, Sheermal and a variety of flavoured and scented rice. Pampore, 30 minutes away from Srinagar, is advertised as the Saffron Capital of Kashmir. With a highly labour intensive harvesting method, farming starts from April and ends with picking and collecting of the red strands in October. Enriched with flavor, it is a powerful antioxidant, improves mood, memory and learning ability and protects brain cells against oxidative stress. It reduces inflammation, is anti-cancerous and antidepressant. As is with many places around the world, changing seasons have harshly affected the saffron production for the past few years. With this, we can expect a decline in a tradition we have celebrated for decades. If not attended to, these anchors may not stand firm for long.

Hayan Naim-12th


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