“We men of the mountains have strong feelings and presentiments. The physique of both men and women was excellent, they were of the medium height and of exceptional strength and could carry enormous loads. Men were no doubt brave and courageous. They were intelligent and excellent cultivators. A villager could weave good woollen cloth, make fine baskets of willow branches, build himself a house, make his own sandals of grass, weave grass mats. They were fond of singing and were quite social and sympathetic.”
S.N.Wakhlu, Habba Khatoon, Gulshan Books 2007
The river Jhelum is in constant motion, changing its course through the rough and tumble of the Valley's landscape. It has carved the Kashmir Valley out of the mountains defining geographic boundaries. The identities of the Kashmiri people in the Valley is a similar process of interaction.
The Kashmiri society, although sometimes illiterate, was characterized by an awareness into the social, cultural, economic and artistic life, mediating between urban centers and rural areas. Writers, painters and composers have been inspired to choose subjects reflecting the cultural legacy of Kashmir.
Already in ancient times Kashmir had been a prominent centre for learning arts. The people are capable of the highest mental training, they are religious, warm and friendly, hospitable, active and energetic. A rich culture speaks about the Kashmiri's patience and craftsmanship to be well adept in making handmade and handknotted silk or woolen carpets, Pashmina shawls or embroidered shawls, crewel embroidery or silver-work, papier maché and woodcarving.
Kashmiri people love to enjoy dance, music, marriages and festivals. There is no function or celebration which is performed without music, full of melody, rythm, delicacy, grace and charm with colorful dresses, traditional Kashmiri jewelry made of silver or sapphire mined in the region, and dining on a special feast called Wazwan. Highly trained chefs prepare more than fifteen gourmet lamb dishes accompanied by a salty tea Noon Chai, pink in color and very popular with local people, or a Kahwah, a tea for festive occasions made with cardamom, cinnamon, sugar and saffran.