Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Essential Kashmiri Love Talk


SearchKashmir is going into an unchartered territory of Kashmiri language. Intimacy.

Things you can call your Kashmiri lover. Interestingly, a bulk of them come from Persian.




Janaan/Janaano (Joonam of Persian, Jaanam of Hindustani)

Can be used for male as well as female

Dilbaro (Dilbar of Persian, Charmer)

Haer (myna bird of Hindi)

Used for female

Shereen (Sugar. 'sweetie' of English)

Used for female

Zoonie (moon)

Used for female

Tcher (little sparrow)

Golaab Kosum (Rose Bud)

You can just use Kosum also or you can mix it up with Laale' (Tulip)

Badaam gooj (Almond seed)

Myaen Maetch (my madwoman)


For men you can use:

Myani Bulbulo (my Bulbul )

Myani Aftaabo (my Sunlight)

Myani Mehtaabo (my Moonlight)

Myani Hamsaaro (my Lover/Partner/Equal)

Myani Gaasho (Light of my eyes)...never to be confused with Bai Gaasho ( that is something you can call your brother)

Myani Shoga (my Parakeet)

Myani Daene'falo (my Pomegranate seed)

Myaani Mastaano (my mad man/my drunken lover)
Men and women can use words like:

Myani Madaano (my lover, from name of Kamdev...Madan)

Myaani Rindo (my flower)

Myaani Armaano (my only wish)

Mout (madman). Koul'a Mout could be offensive but myon Mout should be fine. Kashmiri apparently love been called mad.

One can use phrases like:

Zoo Wandaey (I give you my life)

Navas Lagaii (my everything in your name)

Lol Naraey (let me love you)

Mai che Tchain Maaye (I love you)

Mukk Naas Khyamay ('I will eat you small flat nose'. Often said to small children, but can be used on a lover) 

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Complete Guide to Nur Jahan's Pathar Masjid in Srinagar





Same pattern inside the pavilion at Shalimar Garden built in 1619 on order of Jahangir





In 1623, Noor Jahan built a Masjid in Srinagar on the left bank of Jhelum near Zaina Kadal opposite Shah Hamdan mosque.

Kashmiri had a belief that Noor Jahan belonged to the valley. Godfrey Thomas Vigne, in 1835, writes:

"Nur Jehan Begum (the light of the world), the Nur Muhul (the light of the palace) of Lallah Rookh, is the most renowned name in the valley, that of her august consort, Jehan Gir, not excepted. In spite of the more authentic story of her birth which is to be found in Ferishta, the Kashmirians would have us believe that she was a native of the valley: a daughter of the Malek of Chodra, a large ruined village in the centre of the centre of the southern side of the valley, and situated on the Dud Gunga (milk river). The only fact that that I heard that I heard of, that could be any possibility be brought forward in support of this assertion is, that near Chodra there are some ruins, said to be those of a house that once belonged to her; but in which there is nothing in any way remarkable. I have already oticed the palaced at Vernag and Shahbad, which were built by here or her husband. The Musjid, or new mosque, in the city, was built by her, and is, in fact, the only edifice of the kind that can vie in general aspect and finish with the splendour of the Moti Musjid, or the pearl mosque, at Agra. A handsome flight of stone steps leads from river to the door of the courtyard, which surrounds it. The interior of the building is about sixty-four yards in length, and of a proportionate width, the roof being supported by two rows of massive square piers, running through the entire length of the building, the circular compartments between them being handsomely ribbed and vaulted. When I was in Kashmir it was used as a granary or storehouse for rice."

Unlike other Masjids in Kashmir that were made of wood, this, this masjid was made of stone or Pathar, and hence came to be known as Pathar Masjid. And unlike the native Kashmiri mosques, it didn't have a pyramidical dome at top.

The story goes that on completion of the Mosque, a Mulla asked Nur Jahan how much did it cost her. It is said that in her response the Shia Empress of India pointed to her shoe or Jooti. Mulla in response is said to have decreed the Masjiid unfit for praying. So goes the story of a building that in Sikh era was used as a granary. It is said the mosque originally had a dome that was demolished by a Sikh era governor.  




A description of the mosque is given by Ram Chandra Kak in his 'Ancient Monuments of Kashmir' (1933):

The half-attached "bedpost" columns in the two outer angles of the jambs of the entrance are noteworthy. The plinth, which is now mostly underground, is surmounted by a lotus-leaf coping.

The frieze between the projecting cornice and the eaves is decorated with a series of large lotus leaves, carved in relief, some of which have been pierced, and thus made to serve the purpose of ventilation apertures. A flight of steps in each jamb of the entrance gives access to the roof, which is, as usual in Kashmir, sloping, except in the centre, where there was originally a dome which was later dismantled by the Sikhs. The roof consists of twenty-seven domes, the central one of which is the largest. The domes are mostly ribbed inside, though there are some which are flat or waggon-vaulted.

The roof is supported internally on eighteen extraordinarily massive square columns having projections on two sides. The lower portion of the columns is built of stone and the upper of brick covered by a thick coat of buff-coloured lime plaster.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Complete Guide to Naseem Bagh


On west bank of Dal Lake, in 1635, on order of Shahjahan work on a new garden was started. It is said that on the same site, sometime after 1586, Akbar had laid out a garden.

In summer of 1635, when Sun entered the Zodiac of Aries, northern vernal equinox, March 20-21, twelve hundred saplings of chinar were planted all at the same time. Laid out in classic 'Char Chinar' pattern, four chinars in four corners of a rectangular piece of land, so that a person in centre would be under shade at all hours of the day. The saplings were fed water and milk. A canal from Zukrah canal (canal now non-existent, near Batpora) was dug and brought in to water velvety green grass. A boundary wall was raised and fountains planted (both disappeared during Afghan time). This Mughal garden was named Nasim Bagh or the Garden of Breeze, for the gently breeze that blew though it.

Persian chronograph for the garden read:

Dar jahan chu ba hukm-i-Shah-i-Jahan,
Dauhae tazah az na'im amad,
Kard gulgasht-i-an chu Shah-i-Jahan
Bulbul az shakha gul kalim amad;
Guft tarikha dauhae shahi
Az bihishte Adan Nasim amad

When in this land by order of Shah Jahan
A fresh garden came into existence out of magnificence.
When Shah Jahan roamed therein
Bulbul spoke from a blossomed branch
Said the date of the royal garden.

Local lore recommended visiting the garden in mornings when gentle Nasim would blow through it. 

The Persian saying about gardens of Kashmir used to be:

Subha dar Bagha Nashat o Sham dar Bagha Nasim,
Shalamar o lala-zar o sair-i-Kashmir ast u bas


Morning at Nashat Bagh and evening at the Nasim Bagh,
Shalamar, and tulip fields, - these are the places of
excursion in Kashmir and none else.

However, Godfrey Thomas Vigne,  who visited Kashmir in 1835, was told by locals to visit the garden in morning. 

I visited the garden in morning. I wonder if people still know when exactly Nasim blows.

In 1950s, during the time of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, this garden was handled over by the Dogra royal family to the civil administration for use as campus of a University. Naseem Bagh is now the beautiful campus of Kashmir University.


  
Autumn, 2014

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Portrait of a Poet. Bimla Raina. 1964.

Bimla Raina with her daughter
June, 1964
Qarfalli Mohalla, Srinagar.
Came across it in an old family album at my Matamal
My Nani's elder brother, D.N. Raina was Bimla Raina's father-in-law.
Mother tells me she married when she was in 9th standard
and then soon discontinued education.
Moved to Jammu much before 1990.
Known to be a fun loving and cheerful person.
And a great singer. 

I fondled the child Divine
in my lap
and was lit up within
by slow degrees;
the little juggler I caressed
gave me the slip,
but I crossed the bar
through the shortest route


~ Bimla Raina, vakh from 'Veth Maa Chhe Shongith' (Is Vitasta Asleep, 2003). Translation by A.N. Dhar (Country of the Soul, 2009).

Last of the tribe continuing to write in the format of Kashmiri poetry made famous by Lal Ded in 14th century.


Monday, August 3, 2015

view from Baramulla Bridge, Then-Now


From around 1880s. [via: ebay]


From 'Pictorial tour round India' (1906) by John Murdoch (1819-1904). 

from 'Our summer in the vale of Kashmir' (1915) by Frederick Ward Denys.

November, 2014


Upstream looking at the hills
Downstream
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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Complete Guide to Buniyar Temple


Buniyar Temple, about two miles above Rampur,  situated along the Baramula-Uri road on the bank of the Vitasta, is often described as the "best preserved" specimen of Kashmiri architecture. Although unlike most Kashmiri temples which are made of limestone, this one (beside the one at Wangat) is made of granite.

This is the story of the temple at Bhaniyar/Buniar/Bhavaniyar/Bunair/Boniar/Boniyar/Buniyar.

On my way back from Uri, I decided to check the ancient temple whose roof is visible from the road. A military man walked me from the main road, past the security gate and into the military camp which now surrounds the temple. On way to the temple, the man, someone from mainlands, claimed the temple was build by 'Pandavas'. When I told him that I am ethnically Kashmiri Pandit, the man happily said that it all belongs to me. 

In 1868, when Henry Hardy Cole arrived at the temple along with photographer John Burke for his 'Archaeological Survey of India report, 'Illustrations of Ancient Buildings in Kashmir' (1869), a local Hindu Fakir who lived in the temple told him that the temple was build by 'Pandus'. 

The temple had recently been excavated on the orders of Maharaja Ranbir Singh. Before that, the temple had been claimed by mountain and the trees, which might explain why it survived vandalisation and remained untouched for a long time.

Burke's Photograph
[via British Museum]
The ruins of this temple had earlier been noticed by Karl Alexander A. Hügel  (1835) and G.T. Vigne (1837). Hügel mistakenly described it as a well preserved Buddhist temple, while Vigne called it a Hindu ruin on the road. 

An attempt to study the temple was first made by Alexander Cunningham in November 1847. He noticed that the Pandits called the place 'Bhawaniyar'. And assumed it to be a 'Bhawani' temple. Cunningham couldn't examine the temple properly as it was half-buried under snow at the time. Using a telescope he tried to see beyond the thick foliage if the inner wall of the temple had a colonnade.

First proper detailed note of the temple came in 1865 when that summer W.G. Cowie visited the temple that had been recently excavated revealing 13 sq.ft. interior), walls supported on a basement of 4 ft.sq, a cloistered quadrangle measuring 145'x120'. The findings were given in 'Notes on Some of the Temples of Kashmir'  (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal > Volume XXXV, Issue II, 1867). Te local Pandits told him that the temple was built by one Bonadutt, hence the name of the place. The brother of this man had built a temple at Venapora beyond Sopor. About the granite used in the temple he wrote:

"The material of which the buildings are constructed, is a pale, coarse granite, of which there seems to be no quarry within reach on the left bank of the Jhelum. This circumstance is remarkable, considering the enormous size and weight of some of the stones employed. Mr. Drew, a geologist in the service of H, H. the Maharajah, thinks that the blocks of granite must have been carried down some of the valleys on the opposite side into the river bed, whence they were brought for the construction of the temple."

He also suggests that the central temple was probably surrounded by water (just like Cunningham had suggested for Martand) as he found two old wells also near the temple. He also noticed that near upper base of the temple, is the spout of a channel which carried off the washings of the image. He wrote it looked like a snake or some similar animal.

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