Kangri, a traditional earthen pot, has been an integral part of the Kashmiri culture for centuries. It is a portable heater that keeps people warm during the harsh winters. The Kangri is made by hand, and the process of its making is an art in itself.
To make a Kangri, the artisans first gather clay from the riverbanks. They mix the clay with water and knead it to remove any impurities. Then, they shape the clay into the desired size and form of the Kangri. The Kangri is left to dry in the sun for a few days.
Once the Kangri is dry, it is baked in a kiln. The kiln is heated by burning dried wood, and the Kangri is placed inside. The Kangri is then covered with ash, which helps to insulate it and prevent it from cracking. The Kangri is baked for several hours until it is hard and durable.
After the Kangri is baked, it is polished with a smooth stone to give it a shiny finish. The Kangri is then ready to be used as a portable heater. However, to make it easier to handle, the Kangri is covered by a hand-woven wicker basket known as a Kandur. The wicker basket not only provides a better grip but also helps to insulate the heat and prevent the Kangri from burning the skin.
The making of Kangri is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. It requires patience, skill, and experience to create a Kangri that is both functional and beautiful. Many Kangri makers have been crafting these traditional earthen pots for generations, passing down the knowledge and skills from one generation to the next.
In addition to its functional use, Kangri is also an art form. The Kangri is often decorated with intricate designs and patterns, making it a beautiful piece of art. The designs are etched onto the surface of the Kangri using a pointed tool, and then filled with colored clay. The Kangri is then baked again to set the designs in place.
In conclusion, the making of Kangri is an art form that requires skill, experience, and patience. The artisans gather clay from the riverbanks, shape it into the desired form, and bake it in a kiln. The Kangri is then polished and decorated with intricate designs. Afterward, it is covered by a hand-woven wicker basket known as a Kandur to make it easier to handle. The process of making a Kangri is a traditional practice that has been passed down from one generation to the next, and it continues to be an important part of the Kashmiri culture.